Wednesday, January 07, 2015



Story By: G. H. HARDING
Benjamin McKenzie

MORE MARVEL --- Every time I see one of these Marvel-movies come to life on the big screen, I'm immediately brought back to my errant youth when I seemingly read and collected them all. In many ways, I remember it like it was yesterday: standing in line, waiting to buy the newest one and, being dazzled by everything. Such a visceral memory.

And, then my parents threw them all away.

Forgetting for a moment the possible worth of the originals now, I knew they were good even back then; filled with terrific images and stories that immediately intrigued.

I finally caught Guardians Of The Galaxy last month and though I didn't immediately embrace it (and, it was the biggest grossing movie of last year) I marveled (!!!) at the story, Chris Pratt and the brilliant way they wove certain characters in and out; especially the ones whose movies were not even yet made!

For me, as much as I loved The Fantastic Four, Iron Man and The Avengers, one character, Hank Pym aka Ant-Man, always held a true fascination for me. To this day, I still don't know what it was, but the trailer for the forthcoming movie (directed by Peyton Reed and starring Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd) was just released … and, it’s rather good.

Pym was always an interesting Marvel-character: brilliant, but he never felt worthy enough to be a super hero; thus, a never-ending series of character changes for him. First, Ant-Man, then Giant Man, Goliath and then Yellowjacket. Amazingly, whatever form the character took, he dazzled. He was good, then bad … then good again.

Pym was actually the first Ant-Man, and Rudd in the movie portrays Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man.

Writer Sean T. Collins in made a great point the other day on the so-called Batman-prequel TV show Gotham (which has been just terrific btw since its start last September) “The Bat-Signal has cast the Dark Knight's shadow on such an enormous portion of the pop-culture landscape that it's now possible for a generation of Bat-fans to never once crack the cover of a single comic book. And now that Gotham exists, they really don't need to.”

Great point: those rare, collectible comic books are no longer really needed – the entire comic-con universe is right up there on the screen.

But, the money … btw: Here's the Ant Man trailer.

STING’S SHIP CLOSES --- The Last Ship will close on January 24th, when Sting makes his last performance. Valiant efforts were made to keep the show alive (he admirably did every single press op he could), but it was just not to be. Even though the box office increased over the last two weeks, it just wasn't enough.

Hopefully, various voting groups like the Tony Awards, Outer Critics, and Drama Desk will consider the play for Best Score and Fred Applegate as Best Supporting Actor in a Musical.

Sources say producers Jeffrey Seller and Kathy Schenker (Sting’s manager) made the announcement at the end of Tuesday’s show to cast and crew. If you can, go see The Last Ship before it sails. It was a strong show with a vivid score and an extremely talented cast.

The Last Ship is one many casualties so far this Broadway season. January and February are brutal months. The revival of Sideshow folded too. In short order, a lot of others, including the hit revival of Pippin and the Tony-winner Once will be gone.

Broadway is not for the faint of heart, or shallow of pockets. Sting was completely committed to the show, and invested all of his time and energy. He even waived his songwriting royalty. He was present at the show every night from rehearsals to previews and through the opening.

When the box office didn't take off, Sting joined the show to promote ticket sales. This worked, to some extent. But not being able to hit the million dollar mark in any week was a death knell.

Motown: the Musical is closing after almost 18 months. The show is doing very well, but not well enough. Producers will take it to London’s West End, scale it back so it costs much less to produce, then bring a cheaper version to Broadway.

CLOSING NOTES --- Monday’s night’s Gotham on Fox was sensational. For a show about Batman, before Batman, the writing and acting has been just great. Kudos to showrunner Bruno Heller and actors Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue. A true, guilty pleasure …

All this chatter about the Paul McCartney/Kanye West duet … specifically, who is this guy Paul McCartney are terribly funny; but, face it, without Macca, there'd be no Kanye. My take: It’s a great little ditty, auto-tuned and all, but I wish Paul was singing too. A sweet distraction for sure …

From Dan Taylor at CBS-FM, “It boggles the mind how Tommy James and the Shondells consistently get overlooked by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 23 gold singles, 9 gold and platinum albums, over 100 million records sold worldwide. One called “Hanky Panky,” was the biggest summer hit of 1966.”

“Tommy’s had over a half century of recording, producing and writing. He’s always stayed ahead of the curve trying new techniques in the studio. Like being among the first to realize the possibilities of the Moog synthesizer.”

“His music still maintains a strong presence on radio today, and many of Tommy’s songs have been successfully covered by stars such as this year’s inductee Joan Jett, teen queen Tiffany, and Billy Idol. All having their own versions become hits.”

“I could say so much more about the great Tommy James, but sadly with decisions in the handful of just a few in the club, we'll just have to wait for them to wake up to reality and the inevitable ...”

Reports say that Kevin Costner put up 9 million dollars of his own money to help make his new movie Black Or White. He's always pout his money where his mouth is (and, that’s pretty rare these days) … can't wait to see this one. Early reports are stellar …

Saw Cake on Monday ... and, my review will come next week. Jennifer Aniston ... just sensational.

SIGHTINGS --- PR-pasha David Salidor at Lucky Strike in Soho; WOR's Tom Cuddy hustling down West Broadway; Randy Alexander at Primo Subs in Medford, N. J.

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