a kate west recommendation

"Once" is a quiet little independent film that defied expectations and became a hit at the Sundance Film Festival. Starring two movie unknowns, Glen Hansard (lead singer of "The Frames") and Markéta Irglová, it quickly became one of the year's best films and perhaps one of the best music films in decades.

Hansard, while a gifted musician (already on board with the project), is no actor and Director John Carney had to beg him to be in the movie after Cillian Murphy ("Breakfast on Pluto", "Batman Begins") dropped out. With no budget and no leads, things looked dire until somehow everything started magically pulling together. Irglová claims to be no actor either and while both Hansard and Irglová were initially nervous about carrying a film, between their collective vast musical ability and director support, they did an amazingly beautiful and very real job of bringing the characters to life (which just goes to show you how "real" real people can be).

The story concerns two seemingly dissimilar people who slowly come to realize their profound similarities. A Czech immigrant (Irglová) encounters Hansard as a street musician in Dublin and they strike up a friendship. Both are reeling from relationship troubles and find that they also have in common a great love and ear for music. By helping each other explore that, they also change themselves irrevocably.

What stems from that, must be seen and definitely heard to be believed. The music is fantastic and the emotions rich. It is a must-see for anyone loving romance, music, hope and joy. Don't you dare miss it. Update: CONGRATULATIONS on winning the BEST SONG OSCAR! Y'all deserve it.

Directed by John Carney
Produced by Martina Niland
Written by John Carney
Starring Glen Hansard
Markéta Irglová
Music by Glen Hansard
Markéta Irglová
Cinematography Tim Fleming
Editing by Paul Mullen

  1. Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová: "Falling Slowly" (Hansard/Irglová)
  2. Irglová and Hansard: "If You Want Me" (Irglová)
  3. Hansard: "Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy"
  4. Hansard and Irglová: "When Your Mind's Made Up"
  5. Hansard and Irglová: "Lies" – (Hansard/Irglová)
  6. Interference: "Gold" (Fergus O'Farrell)
  7. Irglová: "The Hill" (Irglová)
  8. Hansard: "Fallen from the Sky"
  9. Hansard: "Leave"
  10. Hansard: "Trying to Pull Myself Away"
  11. Hansard: "All the Way Down"
  12. Hansard and Irglová: "Once"
  13. Hansard: "Say It to Me Now"


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Sock Puppet Showgirls

Harvey Finklestein's
Sock Puppet Showgirls
a kate west review
directed by John and Stephanie Shaterian
a West Coast Premiere
at Theatre Asylum
6320 Santa Monica Blvd, LA 90038

contact (800) 838-2006 or www.brownpapertickets.com
Fridays 11 p.m.; tix $15; EXTENDED TO DECEMBER 21
www.harveyfinklestein.com / www.myspace.com/harveyfinklestein

What could possibly be worse than your friend making you watch the dreadfully campy and overdone Paul Verhoven movie "Showgirls"? Secretly realizing that it's actually a good bad and that it has since gained a phenomenal cult following. And that you love it. For those of you delighting in spectacularly failed Hollywood projects, you'll WANT to see it, again - and again and again, too. And what's even better than that kind of bad? A "Showgirls" sock puppet version!

Yes, it's true, sock puppets recreate the horrendous cinematic fiasco, thanks to Harvey Finklestein's outrageous production. Directors John and Stephanie Shaterian (married, with puppets) ensure that the actors aren't the stars here, the sock puppets are. If you don't know the story, here's the synopsis direct from a show program: "An angry girl escapes to Las Vegas to become a dancer. After all the fucking and bad acting she ends up having to leave Las Vegas because she hurts a bitch and opens a can of whoop ass on a celebrity, and because she is a whore, and they don't allow whores in Las Vegas." With that enticement, how can you say no?

Dorien Davies portrays adorable sock puppet Nomi (Elizabeth Berkley in the film), the wide-eyed skank who becomes a successful dancer in Vegas and then gives it all up again. Davies has emotional and improvisational range in voice alone, matched by Lowe Taylor playing Crystal (Gina Gershon in the film), the experienced sock puppet dancer who shows Nomi the ropes, only to have her turn against her at the end. Both Davies and Taylor are in top form, strongly steering the scenes forward and improvising their little hearts out. They are truly the heart and strength of the show. You'll love Davies' plaintive wail, "I am not a whore!"

Eddie Beasley, Jonathan Caplan and Andy Wolf (this night's understudy) round out the cast just fine, playing sleazy agents, managers and even the stereotypical gay choreographer (Patrick Bristow in the film). Cardboard car cutouts and metal poles also help direct the imagination to recall the movie. Not for the faint of heart, this show goes all out, uncensored and to the raunchiest extreme: i.e. it's a late night show for a reason, no kids allowed!

It's a little surreal to see the occasional hand pop out and at the same time hilarious to watch the sock puppet dance numbers (of which there all several), although one does get weary of certain repeated humor, such as the stereotypical gay choreographer. It's a fun, short show however, and the funniest bits are hearing actual lines from the movie, written by the over-hyped screenwriter Joe Eszterhas himself. Yes, it's dumb, but really, isn't the movie is to blame for that? At least this way, we can let naked cotton puppets shock us for the evening, a definite improvement over the movie.

Don't miss the Classic Original:
Showgirls (Fully Exposed Edition)
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Tin Man

Tin Man
a Sci-fi Channel Mini Series
a kate west review

The Sci-fi Channel "Tin Man" six hour mini series is an odd and very loose adaptation of L. Frank Baum's "Wizard of Oz" stories. An unfortunate cross between "Mad Max" and "Battlestar Galactica", it fails as both a uniquely interesting adaptation and as an original piece.

The movie concerns a girl named D.G. (named after ancestor Dorothy Gale) who accidentally discovers she is heir to a throne in the alternate dimension, the Outer Zone, or the O.Z. (yes, like the trendy O.C.). Zooey Deschanel plays the waitress-turned-princess alternating between stoicism and wide-eyed surprise, her two main looks apparently. Her childhood dreams of magic turn out to be real memories and her parents turn out to be robots placed by her real mother in order to take care of her and to shield her from her evil older sister, Azkadellia (Kathleen Robertson), whose body is taken over by a witch (Karin Konoval). She's got to get to Central City to find the Mystic Man (Richard Dreyfus). Along the way she meets up with Glitch (Alan Cumming), a former royal aide whose brain has been viciously removed. They in turn rescue a man in an iron prison suit named Cain (Neal McDonough) or the Tin Man, since he used to be an officer of the law. Last but not least, is the fluffy and timid creature named Raw (Raoul Trujillo).

Many adventures ensue, while Azkadellia's Gestapo-like Longcoats pursue the gang relentlessly, especially Zero (Callum Keith Rennie), the main person responsible for torturing the Tin Man's family and forcing him to watch from behind his metal hell. They even run into a shape shifter from DG's past who turns into a dog. She used to call him Toto, when she couldn't say Tutor (Blu Mankuma). The filmmakers make some bizarre choices, including having Azkadelia's flying monkeys literally spring from her tattooed chest. The Mystic Man proves to be a disappointment, as he is addicted to the vapors and a help to no one. The gang ultimately save their universe from destruction and the original royal family is restored. But it simply isn't an engaging enough interpretation and the look itself is drab and apocalyptic depressing.

The problem with the movie is not that it detracts from the Judy Garland film, as that in itself was an adaptation, but that it adds nothing to the original Oz books. There is no real new dimension or illumination and while there is nothing inherently wrong with making alternate endings or variations of beloved characters (Shakespeare did it, after all), this doesn't quite cut it. And it can be done quite well, as demonstrated in both the hit novel and musical "Wicked". But in this case, "Tin Man" makes little impression on the Oz universe. So you can save the room on your TIVO.

Created by
Craig Van Sickle
Steven Long Mitchell
Directed by
Nick Willing

Zooey Deschanel
Neal McDonough
Alan Cumming
Raoul Trujillo
Kathleen Robertson
Richard Dreyfuss
Blu Mankuma
Callum Keith Rennie

Simon Boswell

The Annotated Wizard of Oz (Centennial Edition)

The Wizard of Oz (Three-Disc Collector's Edition)
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