Tuesday, March 26, 2013

No, it's not really live


Ever wonder if the National Theatre Live series at Cineplex’s Devonshire Mall is, well, actually live from London, England? That’s how the series, which brings some remarkable world class plays to the local theatre including This House by James Graham May 16 - about the backbiting world of Britain’s Parliament – is billed. But, says Cineplex communications director Mike Langdon, the plays, as you might realistically imagine, are in fact “live to tape.” There is a five hour time difference between Windsor and London, after all, which would mean the “live” aspect would actually have to be performed on staged at 12 midnight London time. That’s not to mention all the other time zones in the world that would also have to be accommodated because the productions are shown in other countries. So, no, Langdon says. “This allows us to account for the time difference between the U.K. and different markets in Canada.” On June 13 Cineplex also shows Peter Morgan’s The Audience, starring Helen Mirren, reprising her Academy Award winning role as Queen Elizabeth II, about the elite audiences that the queen has always held with British prime ministers, the contents of which are never made public. The play will have three encore presentations in late June and early July.
One of the best DVD rental deals going is Redbox, available only in the U.S. Redbox is a vending machine and one amazingly easy to use. For $1.27 incl tax you can rent a video overnight by simply inserting your credit card in the machine’s slot. The machines are located conveniently in places like grocery stores. The machine’s on screen ordering directions are easy. And when returning your DVD you just slip it back into the return slot. Quick as can be! The one drawback is the inventory isn’t all that large. But for the last two weekends I was about to rent David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis (2012) and David Frankel’s Hope Springs (2012) starring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. Sometimes a lot of the movies are grayed-out depending on their popularity and the time you order. But it’s a cheap home date. Pick up a bottle of (inexpensive) American-priced wine, order from the Redbox, and you have an evening's entertainment for under $5!
Speaking of Hope Springs, this is a great acting piece for Streep and Jones. They play a Midwestern couple who long ago lost the spark from their marriage. Streep (Kay) wants to reignite it. Jones (Arnold) is as tight-assed and defensive as you can imagine a 58-year-old stuck-in-his-ways accountant can be. The two have their roles down pat as a mature middle class couple who seem only too typical. And Steve Carell (Dr. Bernie Feld) is convincing as the marriage counsellor. The movie is supposedly set in a picturesque Maine fishing village – where the couple flies for a therapeutic retreat - but is actually filmed in Connecticut. This movie could easily be adapted for the stage.  

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