Michelle Williams' Broadway debut in Cabaret opened on Thursday (24Apr14) to mixed reviews from critics who were impressed with the production but disappointed with the Hollywood actress' performance.
Moviemakers Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall are co-directing a revival of the classic musical at the Studio 54 theatre, and following opening night, critics praised the production, with Terry Teachout from The Wall Street Journal branding it "fabulously good" while David Rooney from The Hollywood Reporter hailed the "electrifying revival" and Ben Brantley from the New York Times approved of the "successful formula".
However, Williams' turn as English cabaret performer Sally Bowles, made famous by Liza Minnelli in the 1972 film adaptation, failed to impress some reviewers, with Brantley writing that the actress, "doesn't look all that happy to be there. I'm assuming that's more a matter of character interpretation than of personal discomfort, but it does put sort of a damper on the festivities."
Variety's Marilyn Stasio adds, "It's obvious that this ladylike thesp (thespian) isn't comfortable in the skin of this impulsive, irresponsible and utterly irresistible girl," and Tom Teodorczuk from Britain's The Independent insists her portrayal "lacks desperation and edge" and is "devoid of depth".
However, not all those watching were disappointed with Williams - Rooney called her performance "riveting", Teachout described it as "poignant", and Elysa Gardner from USA Today hailed the actress as a "real revelation". Williams' co-star Alan Cumming, reprising his Tony award-winning role as the Master of Ceremonies, was singled out for praise, with Rooney calling his performance "a knockout" and "fiercely alive".
The opening night was watched by Hollywood couple Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, plus Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon and 30 Rock actress Jane Krakowski
Actress Michelle Williams is suffering sleepless nights as she makes her Broadway debut in a new revival of Cabaret, confessing she accepted the job without "thinking things through". The Brokeback Mountain star admits she has a tendency to act on impulse and jumped at the chance to take on the all-singing, all-dancing role of Sally Bowles, a part made famous by Liza Minnelli in the 1972 film adaptation of the production, but the shy actress failed to consider how nervous she would be performing in front of a live audience night after night.
She tells the New York Times, "I'm still losing sleep. I don't think it's apprehension. I wanted to do this from the minute I heard about it. It's just the unknown."
Williams adds, "I've realised something about myself. When I said I wanted to do this, not a few people in my life said, 'Are you sure? Aren't you going to be terrified?' I'm not good at thinking things through. I get excited about something, and that outweighs everything else. I don't really carry the vision down the line to see the possibilities of how it might turn out.
"I think that for my work, that's actually been an OK trait. For life, not so good."
Cabaret, which also features the return of Alan Cumming in his Tony Award-winning role as the Emcee, is co-directed by Sam Mendes and choreographer Rob Marshall. It began previews on 21 March (14) and opens at New York's Stage 54 later this month (24Apr14).
Movie star Michelle Williams is to make her Broadway debut in iconic musical Cabaret. The Hollywood actress will step into Liza Minnelli's tap shoes to play Sally Bowles in a new stage revival of Cabaret at the Roundabout Theater Company in New York City.
Williams will star alongside Alan Cumming as he reprises his role as the flamboyant Emcee, following on from his Tony Award-winning run in the 1998 version of Cabaret.
Filmmaker Sam Mendes is expected to direct, while Rob Marshall will serve as co-director and choreographer - duties they previously shared for the 1998 revival.
According to reports, performances are scheduled to begin in early 2014.
Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.
The star died on Wednesday (04May11) in Danbury, Connecticut.
Thompson launched her career on the stage in the 1950s, making her Broadway debut in 1959 musical Juno. She went on to portray multiple characters in the play Twigs, which landed her a Tony Award in 1972.
But she was perhaps best known for her role as TV matron Kate Lawrence on U.S. drama series Family, a role which earned her the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 1978. Her performance on the show also garnered her three Golden Globe nominations.
Her other TV credits include appearances on legal drama Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law, Father Dowling Mysteries, hit sitcom Cheers and crime drama Law & Order.
Thompson's last screen role came in 2000 movie Pollack alongside Ed Harris.
She is survived by her husband of 61 years, Donald Stewart, and their daughter Liza Sgueglia, reports the New York Daily News.
Kristen Bell is channeling former Heroes colleague and anti-whaling activist Hayden Panettierre for her latest role in Universal dramedy Whales. Ken Kwapis is directing the adaptation of Tom Rose’s Freeing the Whales: How the Media Created the World's Greatest Non-Event, a non-fictional account of the media frenzy that ensued after three gray whales were trapped under ice in the Arctic Circle in 1988.
Bell, who is best known for her roles in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Veronica Mars, will play an egotistical reporter who “thinks her greatest asset is her looks.” She joins cast members Drew Barrymore, a Greenpeace volunteer, and John Krasinski, a small-town reporter. Kwapis has also released casting calls looking for native Alaskan and Inuit actors for the film. (Eat your heart out, Mr. Shyamalan)
Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Liza Chasin of Working Title are producing the film, along with Anonymous Content's Steve Golin and Michael Sugar.
After she helps save the whales, Bell is appearing in Disney comedy You Again with Sigourney Weaver and Betty White, and musical drama Burlesque with Christina Aguilera and Cher.
Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, Anchorage Daily News
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.