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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Best of Movies 2009

So here are my picks for the Best of Movies for 2009 (based on either a North American theatrical release date or if I saw it at a festival in 2009 since some have yet to open):

(UPDATED Sep. 19th 2010: This post will constantly updated as I see more films from 2009. *** indicates latest new review)

1. (Tie) A Single Man and Up
A Single Man: Directed by Tom Ford
Written by Tom Ford and David Scearce, based on a novel by Christopher Isherwood
Original Review

Up: Directed by Pete Docter and Bob Peterson
Written by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson and Thomas McCarthy
Original Review



I chose these two very different movies independently but when I did, I realized they were actually far more similar than I thought. Both films follows a grieving man as he loses his love of his life, and the life choices he must make in the aftermath. Both are visually stunning, using colours and tones to tell the story and enhance the emotions.

A Single Man, Tom Ford's brilliant directorial debut imbues all his talent as a fashion designer in a well focused, beautifully shot film that manages to present a glossy stylistic surface that pulsates with a human core yearning to crack the perfect outline. The film's style manages to mirror the central single man's emotional swings as Colin Firth creates an intimate portrait of a man yearning to show his broken soul while living in the glass house society of LA in the 60's.

Up follows an old man finally takes the dream trip he planned with his longtime wife and takes his house, and a boyscout along for the adventurous fantastical ride. But not before we get a quick explanation of the old couple's entire life that is guaranteed to make you tear up in the first 10 minutes of the movie, only to be replaced by tears of laughter during the rest of the trip Pixar has so brazenly imagined.


3. The Class (Entre Des Murs)
Directed by Laurent Cantet
Written by Laurent Cantet, Robin Campillo and François Bégaudeau, inspired by the memoirs of François Bégaudeau
Original Review


The lines blur between real and re-created when Bégaudeau recreates his own life in a dramatic re-telling of his own memoirs based on his life as a teacher in France. The scenes feel so raw and real that it seems like a documentary, which only makes Bégaudeau's unsaintly portrayal all the more moving and all the more honest. (This was technically a 2008 film and nominated already for an Oscar last year, but it didn't get a Canadian release until 2009)


4. (500) Days of Summer
Directed by Marc Webb
Written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Original Review


A wonderful and witty spin on the romantic comedy that pulls you in with the wonders of romance, spits it back on the floor with the truths of relationships, and gives a ray of hope for a happy ending. Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives a manly performance that carries the film in the relationships ups and downs, and we are willing to follow the chopped up tale told backwards and forwards because we've all seen ourselves in Gordon-Levitt's Tom Hansen and we've all yearned to fall in love the way he does.


5. District 9
Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
Original Review


A clever and highly entertaining satire on the segregation in South Africa using space aliens and the sad state of our human hospitality. Sharlto Copley and a father and son extra-terrestrial manage to create a humane look at a government's treatment of a differing race.


6. Inglourious Basterds
Written and Directed by Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino's Nazi revenge film is furiously funny and moving and strangely deliciously entertaining and cathartic, with all round great performances from its multi-lingual cast. The beautiful visuals and the different chapters have a nice stylistic approach that balances between Quentin's usual over-the-top energy and the gravity of the WWII story.


7. The Hurt Locker
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Written by Mark Boal


A dizzying heated look at a bomb diffuser in the Iraq war with Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Garaghty giving harrowing performances in a intensely plain direction (and I mean that as a compliment). Gripping in its almost mundane look at a very dangerous job.


8. A Serious Man
Written and Directed by Ethan and Joel Coen

Speaking of mundane, the mundane life of a Jewish man living in a very American suburb during the 60's manages to be totally fascinating in a nicely restrained new film by the Coen brothers. Michael Stuhlbarg's delivers a seriously great performance as a man trying to do good in his life as things spin beyond his control.


9. Up in the Air
Directed by Jason Reitman
Written by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, based on a novel by Walter Kirn
Original Review


It's about the economy, it's about our life decisions, it's about flying and racking up points. George Clooney, Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga form a perfect triad of semi-lost souls who may still actually have a better grip of their destiny than everyone else around them. Reitman makes a patient film with some nice documentary-like interviews with people being fired which mixes nicely against the story of one man's skyward journeys.


10. The September Issue
Directed by RJ Cutler

It made Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour (rumoured inspiration for The Devil Wears Prada) seem human and understandable and I could see how and why she worked the way she does. That alone makes this fascinating look into the fashion editing world one to admire. But that we get to peer into the creative process of this mythical world (a world that I really don't care for) and we get fascinating characters like Anna's right hand woman Grace Coddington or Anna's daughter's response to the "silly" fashion industry.


Everything 2009 Movie I saw, grouped within each grade, is listed below:

A Single Man = A (Review)
Up = A (Review)
The Class (Entre Des Murs) = A (Review)
(500) Days of Summer = A (Review)
District 9 = A (Review)
Inglourious Basterds = A
The Hurt Locker = A
A Serious Man = A
Up in the Air = A (Review)

The September Issue = A-
Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" By Sapphire = A- (Review)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince = A- (Review)
Every Little Step = A- (Review)
One Week = A- (Review)
In the Loop = A-

City Island = B+ ***
Grey Gardens = B+
The Princess and the Frog = B+
Cairo Time = B+
Julie & Julia = B+ (Review)
Amreeka = B+
Avatar = B+
Good Hair = B+
The Blind Side = B+ (Review)
Broken Embraces = B+
Whip It = B+ (Review)
The Last Station = B+
An Education = B+ (Review)
Fantastic Mr. Fox = B+ (Review)
Terminator Salvation = B+ (Review)
Adam = B+ (Review)
Duplicity = B+ (Review)
I Love You, Man = B+ (Review)
Sunshine Cleaning = B+ (Review)
Adventureland = B+ (Review)
Earth = B+ (Review)
Sherlock Holmes = B+
Star Trek = B+ (Review)
The Informant = B+

Me and Orson Welles = B
Where The Wild Things Are = B (Review)
Bandslam = B
Cloudy with the Chance of Meatballs = B
17 Again = B (Review)
The Damned United = B
The Proposal = B
The Invention of Lying = B
Prom Night in Mississippi = B
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus = B
My Sister's Keeper = B
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past = B
Coco Avant Chanel = B
The Boys Are Back = B (Review)
Michael Jackson's This Is It = B (Review)
Angels & Demons = B (Review)
Summer Hours (L'Heure d'été) = B (Review)
Extract = B (Review)

Hannah Montana The Movie = B- (Review)
Easy Virtue = B-
New York, I Love You = B-

It's Complicated = C+ (Review)
Nine = C+ (Review)
He's Just Not That Into You = C+ (Review)
Fifty Dead Men Walking = C+
My Life in Ruins = C+
I Love You Beth Cooper = C+
J'ai Tué Ma Mère (I Killed My Mother) = C+
The Hangover = C+ (Review)
Monsters Vs. Aliens = C+ (Review)

Amelia = C (Review)
Post Grad = C (Review)
Coraline = C
Taken = C (Review)

All About Steve = C -
Youth In Revolt = C - (Review)

The Taking of Pelham 123 = D+
Bruno = D+

Bright Star = D
Gentlemen Broncos = D (Review)

______________________________________

Best of 2009 Lists:
Best of Music 2009
Best of Television 2009
Best of Stage 2009
Best of Movies 2009

Decadeworthy - The Best of 2000-2009 Lists:
SYTYCDworthy (w/ Videos) - List Format
Theatre of the Decade
Best Films of the Decade
Favorite Films of the Decade
Television of the Decade
Television of the Decade - 1 Season Wonders

Previous Best-of Lists:
Best of 2008 Lists:
Best of Music 2008
Best of Television 2008
Best of Stage 2008
Best of Movies 2008
Best of Television Fall '07 - Winter '08 List

Best of 2007 Lists:
Best of Music 2007
Best of Television 2007
Best of Movies 2007
Best of Stage 2007
Best of 2007 (The Final Wrap Up)
Best of Television Fall '06 - Winter '07 List

Best of 2006 Lists:
Best of Music 2006
Best of Television 2006
Best of Movies 2006
Best of 2006
Best of Television Fall '05 - Winter '06 List

Best of 2005 Lists:
Best of Television 2005
Best of Movies 2005
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


More After the Jump...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Best of Television 2009

I know this is a little late AND considering how far behind I've fallen in 2009, not the most accurate or complete list. Plus, if you've already seen my Best Television of Decade list, this won't be all that different. And if it's not there, it might be in the Best One Season Hit Wonders list. So this is not going to be terribly new or exciting.

And due to cable issues, I never got a chance to see the latest season of Mad Men nor several other cable shows (including Damages, Breaking Bad or True Blood).

I know. I might as well not write a TV blog.

But alas, in keeping with my yearly lists, Here's my picks for the Best of Television for 2009
(With the ranking from the two previous lists (Best of 2008/ Best of TV - Fall 2007/ Winter 2008 Season) in parenthesis.):

1. Friday Night Lights (DirecTV/NBC) - (1, 3)



2. Lost (ABC) - (2, 1)



3. Modern Family (ABC) - (New)



4. Glee (FOX) - (New)



5. Nurse Jackie (Showtime) - (NEW)


6. The United States of Tara (Showtime) - (NEW)


7. Gavin & Stacey - BBCAmerica (4, New)


8. 30 Rock (NBC) - (5, 4)


9. Better Off Ted (ABC) - (NEW)


10. The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - (20, Not Ranked)


11. Ugly Betty (ABC) - (7, 9)

12. Southland (NBC) - (NEW)

13. Bones (FOX) - (15, 15)

14. Top Chef (Bravo) - (14, Not Ranked)

15. Desperate Housewives (ABC) - (13, 18)

16. Chuck (NBC) - (10, 12)

17. Greek - (abcFamily) - (Not Ranked)

18. The Office (NBC) - (16, 14)

19. So You Think You Can Dance/So You Think You Can Dance Canada - (FOX/CTV) - (9, 8/11)

20. Burn Notice (USA) - (17, 7)

Shows I've Totally Fallen Behind On That I Still Love:
Breaking Bad
Damages
Fringe
Mad Men
Supernatural

Old Shows That Got Great Again:
The Real World: Brooklyn

New Shows That Turned Out Better Than Expected (that aren't already listed above, here listed alphabetically):
Cougar Town
Dollhouse
The Good Wife
The Middle
Party Down
Royal Pains
10 Things I Hate About You
The Vampire Diaries
White Collar

New Shows That Had a Slow Start But Have Vastly Improved:
Community
Parks & Recreation

Shows That Are Slipping
Gossip Girl
The New Adventures of Old Christine
Weeds

Shows That Deserved More Life
Kings
Privileged
Pushing Daisies
The Unusuals
Worst Week

Shows I've Dropped Or Considering Dropping
90210
Grey's Anatomy
Melrose Place
Private Practice

______________________________________

Best of 2009 Lists: Coming soon
Best of Music 2009
Best of Television 2009
Best of Stage 2009
Best of Movies 2009

Decadeworthy - The Best of 2000-2009 Lists:
SYTYCDworthy (w/ Videos) - List Format
Theatre of the Decade
Best Films of the Decade
Favorite Films of the Decade
Television of the Decade
Television of the Decade - 1 Season Wonders

Previous Best-of Lists:
Best of 2008 Lists:
Best of Music 2008
Best of Television 2008
Best of Stage 2008
Best of Movies 2008
Best of Television Fall '07 - Winter '08 List

Best of 2007 Lists:
Best of Music 2007
Best of Television 2007
Best of Movies 2007
Best of Stage 2007
Best of 2007 (The Final Wrap Up)
Best of Television Fall '06 - Winter '07 List

Best of 2006 Lists:
Best of Music 2006
Best of Television 2006
Best of Movies 2006
Best of 2006
Best of Television Fall '05 - Winter '06 List

Best of 2005 Lists:
Best of Television 2005
Best of Movies 2005

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


More After the Jump...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Best of Stage 2009

I went to a stage show a total of 112 times in 2009! Beating my 2008 record of 96 times. (For me, stage includes plays, musicals, fringe shows, cabaret, ballet, opera and the SYTYCD tour)

Though those 112 times were actually for 92 different productions, and only 83 of them were brand new to me. (I saw the tour of Spring Awakening a lot, plus repeated a few other shows I saw before).

Meanwhile, as my own rule, only new shows I've seen are eligible to be on the list (shows that are new to me, even if they opened in previous years).

So Hair and Parade are ineligible because I've already seen their earlier incarnations before their 2009 transfers (plus both already landed on previous years Best of Stage lists). I saw Broadway's West Side Story and Next to Normal in their pre-Broadway DC runs and Broadway's 9 to 5 in L.A. all in 2008.

This was also a year of big stars. More and more are going to the stage. Either back to it, or to prove themselves. Amongst those that I saw were James McAvoy, Dame Judi Dench, Rosamund Pike, Graham Norton, Anne Hathaway, Jude Law, Gina Gershon, John Stamos, Nathan Lane, John Goodman, Cate Blanchett, Rachel Weisz, Oliver Platt, Craig Bierko, Lauren Graham, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig. Some were quite amazing. Some were not. Though more often than not, the "famous" actors were actually impressive, though probably because this year, most of that list are film/tv actors that started off from the stage in the first place.

But alas, here's my compilation of my 2009 Stage experiences (with the full list of all productions after the Top 15).


Here's the Best of Stage 2009:

1. Ragtime (Eisenhower Theatre in the Kennedy Centre - Washington, DC and Neil Simon Theatre - Broadway - New York, NY)
Music by Stephen Flaherty, Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, Book by Terrence McNally, Based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, Directed and Choreographed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge
Original Reviews

It may be an epic re-telling of the turning of the last century, but the massive themes of the human spirit remain just as relevant in this first decade of our current century. The musical has always been one of my favorites, but Marcia Milgrom Dodge strips the show down to its iron work bones and heightens the humanity in the piece in a revival no less extravagant thanks to a multi-set stage and some superb performances including Quentin Earl Darrington, Bobby Steggert and Christiane Noll as Coalhouse Walker Jr, Younger Brother and Mother (respectively). The DC presentation also had amazing newcomer Jennlee Shallow as a heartbreaking Sarah and Manoel Felciano as a savvy Tateh who exuded a simmering chemistry with Noll's Mother.


2. Giant (Signature Max Theatre - Arlington, VA)
Music and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa, Book by Sybille Pearson, Based on the novel by Edna Ferber, Directed by Jonathan Butterell. Choreographed by Ernesto Alonzo Palma
Original Review

A quiet intimate epic musical 4 hours long, telling the tale of a Texan rancher Bick as he woos his lady, the family the make, and the interloper Jed, all as it weaves through decades of Texas and the historical changes (and the Mexican integration). Based on the book by Edna Ferber (made more famous by the movie), this new musical is more chamber in style but epic in scope, with luscious yet accessible music by Michael John LaChiusa a stylishly directed by Jonathan Butterell. Ashley Robinson and Lewis Cleale (above with Morgan) are fantastic as Jed and Bick, while Betsy Morgan shines as the woman in the heart of it all.


3. A Streetcar Named Desire (Donmar Warehouse - London, UK)
Written by Tennessee Williams, Directed by Rob Ashford
Original Review
Everyone talked about Cate Blanchett and the Sydney Theatre Company doing this play, but it was the little seen (mainly due to the TINY size of the theatre) Donmar production that blew me away, with a superb Rachel Weisz leading an impeccable ensemble that truly worked great together in perfect balance. Elliot Cowan defined "sexy beast" while Ruth Wilson nailed the uneasy balance of being Stella. Rob Ashford and set designer Christopher Oram made the New Orleans story come alive and you could truly feel the steaming heat and the sweat pouring out of these characters as the friction builds in that tiny apartment.


4. Next Fall (Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Playwrights Horizons - Off-Broadway - New York, NY)
Written by Geoffrey Nauffts, Directed by Sheryl Kaller
Original Review

Two unlikely men fall in love in this small and intimate new play that moves beyond stereotypes (or twists it at least) and into this very funny, very compelling drama that moves to Broadway this coming Spring. A perfect cast of character actors (full of people you've all seen before but have no idea what their names are, including Patrick Breen, Patrick Heusinger, Connie Ray, and Maddie Corman) breathes life into this smart and wonderful new play by Naugffts, cleverly economically directed by Kaller.


5. The Importance of Being Earnest (Avon Theatre- Stratford Festival - Stratford, ON)
Written by Oscar Wilde, Directed by Brian Bedford
Original Review

A smart AND frothy production that pits Brian Bedford in serious drag as Lady Bracknell against Mike Shara and Ben Carlson's Algernon and John (Jack) Worthing (respectively) in the delightful comedy of mistaken identity and class. Director Bedford knows the importance of balancing all the right elements together in perfect harmony to create comic perfection in this absolutely splendid revival at Stratford. (Rumour has it that it may be moved on further in a transfer of some sorts, and hopefully that is true, and if it isn't, maybe this will start that rumour to make it true).


6. National Ballet of Canada's Emergence and Watch Her (Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON)
Emergence - Choreographed by Crystal Pite, Original Score by Owen Belton - Original Review
Watch Her - Choreographed by Aszure Barton, Music by Lera Auerbach - Original Review

Two exciting new commissions in their world premiere presentations solidified two young Canadian choreographers as world-class dance creators. Emergence was a buzz of frantic energy, an explosive look into the microcosmic world of insects and their rhythms and social patterns became beautiful and awkward body movements swelling across the stage. Watch Her set a stoic tone as emotions creep through across a grey Stalin-esque world. Two very different pieces and visions, but one very exciting new direction for Canadian ballet.


7. Cirque Du Soleil - OVO (Le Grande Chapiteau - The Portlands, Toronto, ON)
Written, Choreographed and Directed by Deborah Colker
Original Review

Cirque shows are always dazzling and surreal with their strange "storylines" and mood music but OVO is their first show directed by a dance choreographer and a female and it brings a warm clarity to the Cirque brand. It's probably the most literal show I've seen from Cirque with the story of the insect world and an egg, but Colker also manages to smoothen the entire series of circus acts to flow nicely from one showpiece to another with a dance choreography that unites all the acts and characters together, making OVO feel fully whole from all the Cirque shows I've seen.


8. Ruined (Manhattan Theatre Club at NY City Centre Stage 1 - Off-Broadway, New York, NY)
Written by Lynn Nottage, Directed by Kate Whoriskey
I think I sat through the entire play clutching my seat in fear. It was exhausting and literally breathtaking but Nottage's intense story was gripping and ultimately emotionally cathartic. The horrors of violence and the suffering some must endure to stay alive bring foreign politics into understandable human terms in Whoriskey's enlightening production.


9. Twelfth Night - (Delacorte Theatre - Central Park, New York, NY)
Written by William Shakespeare, Directed by Daniel Sullivan
Original Review

Anne Hathaway leads a starry cast including Raúl Esparza, Audra MacDonald, Hamish Linklater, Stark Sands, Julie White, Jay O. Sanders and David Pittu under the starry night of the Public in the Park's annual Shakespeare presentation and the joyous cast fought through the rainy summer to present a most delightful Night.


10. Toronto Fringe Festival - As You Puppet (Palmerston Library Theatre - Toronto, ON) and Morro and Jasp Do Puberty (Tarragon Theatre Extraspace and Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs - Toronto, ON)
As You Puppet Written by William Shakespeare, Adapted by Jane McClelland and Mike Petersen, Directed by Ken MacDougall and Tom McHale
Morro and Jasp Do Puberty Created by Heather Marie Annis, Byron Laviolette and Amy Lee, Directed by Byron Laviolette
Original Reviews

Two utterly delightful Fringe shows that while simple in concept, had boundless ideas and hilarity to spare. Morro and Jasp, a clowning pair usually performing to children, have grown up and hit "that stage in life" and learn to deal with puberty in all it's horror and humour. As You Puppet is As You Like It performed by puppets, or actually, stuffed toys brilliantly manipulated and voiced to feel more real and with better Shakespearean performances than some human counterparts. Without dumbing the text down, the puppets manage to tell the wonderful story to both children and adults alike in an entertaining and extremely funny way.


11. Our Town (Barrow Street Theatre - Off-Broadway - New York, NY)
Written by Thornton Wilder, Directed by David Cromer



12. The Norman Conquests Trilogy: Table Manners, Living Together, Round and Round the Garden (Circle in the Square Theatre - Broadway - New York, NY)
>Written by Alan Ayckbourn, Directed by Matthew Warchus
Original Review

While individually the plays are amusing, as a whole, the three plays piece together into a comic tour-du-force that manages to yield heartache and soul searching amongst the hilarity. The sum is definitely more impressive than its part as jokes set up in other plays are rewarded in another, and to watch the energetic cast zoom through the trilogy in a day long marathon is thrilling in its sense of achievement.


13. Fences (Huntington Theatre at Boston University Theatre - Boston, MA)
Written by August Wilson, Directed by Kenny Leon
My first experience with August Wilson's 10 cycle play was deeply moving and rewarding, with Kenny Leon directing a patient and quietly subtle show with a magnificent cast. It may not be A-list star power (as Denzel Washington and Viola Davis will revive this play on Broadway with Leon again directing) but John Beasley (Everwood), Crystal Fox (In the Heat of the Night), Bill Nunn (Spider-Man) and company are powerful enough to give Wilson's work a truly emotional punch.


14. Finian's Rainbow (St. James Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY)
Music by Burton Lane, Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg, Book by E.Y. Harburg & Fred Saidy, Adapted by Arthur Perlman, Directed and Choreographed by Warren Carlyle
Original Review

An utterly ridiculous story with Leprechauns, a pot of gold, a racist Southern Senator, Irish immigrants living in the South, and a dancing mute somehow makes this revival of an old OLD musical utterly entertaining and delightful. A superb cast lead by the glorious Kate Baldwin (She Loves Me), the shagworthy Cheyenne Jackson (Xanadu, 30 Rock), the lovable Christopher Fitzgerald (Minsky's) and the spunky Jim Norton (The Seafarer) sing a luscious set of songs that create a dreamy colourful silly musical.


15. War Horse (National Theatre in the West End - New London Theatre - London, UK)
Based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo, Adapted by Nick Stafford, Directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, In association with the Handspring Puppet Company
Original Review

The story is plain and simple. It's about a horse, in the war (WW1). Yup, the title says it all, but somewhere along the sweeping earnest epic narrative, it won me over and the story about a boy in search of his horse in the war became somehow transcendent. The amazing puppetry and the scope of the show helped!


Breakthrough Performances:
Quentin Earl Darrington and Jennlee Shallow in Ragtime
Betsy Morgan in Giant
Elliot Cowan in A Streetcar Named Desire
Patrick Heusinger in Next Fall
Condola Rashad in Ruined
McGee Maddox in the National Ballet of Canada
Aidan deSaliz, Stephen Roberts, Jeigh Madjus in Altar Boyz (Toronto)
Kit Harrington in War Horse
Ben Lewis in Dog Sees God (Toronto)
David Hein and Kyle Orzech in My Mother's Lesbian Jewish-Wiccan Wedding
Jon Michael Hill in Superior Donuts
Demond Green, Matthew Saldivar, Daren A. Herbert and Jamie McKnight in The Toxic Avenger (NYC and Toronto)
Jason Babinsky in The Full Monty

Here is every Stage Show I saw in 2009 in alphabetical order. All reviews are based on a 5 stars system (Cabarets and workshops not given grades):

33 Variations (Play) - Eugene O'Neill Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - (Review ***)

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (Musical Revival) - Avon Theatre - Stratford Festival, ON - (Review ***1/2)

Altar Boyz (Musical) - Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts Studio Theatre - Toronto, ON - (Review ****)

A New Brain (Musical Revival) - Acting Up Stage at the Berkeley Street Theatre - Toronto, ON - (Review ***)

An Evening With Ewalt and Walker: Just A Couple Of Dudes Who Like To Write Songs (Cabaret) - Playwrights Horizon - New York, NY - (Review)

The American Plan (Play Revival) - Manhattan Theatre Club at The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - (Review ***1/2)

A Steady Rain (New Play) - Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre - Broadway - New York, NY - (***)

A Streetcar Named Desire (Play Revival) - Donmar Warehouse - London, UK - (Review ****1/2)

A Streetcar Named Desire (Play Revival) - Sydney Theatre Company at the Eisenhower Theatre in The Kennedy Centre - Washington, D.C. - (Review ***)

As You Puppet (Play Revival) - Toronto Fringe Festival at the Palmerston Library Theatre - Toronto, ON - (Review *****)

Auguts: Osage County (Play) - Canon Theatre - Toronto, ON - (****)

The Bacchae (Play Revival) - Delacorte Theatre - Central Park - New York City, NY - (Review **)

Bare (Musical) - Hart House Theatre - Toronto, ON - (Review **)

Bare’s Big Broadway Bender Cabaret (Cabaret) - Buddies in Bad Times Theatre - Toronto, ON - (Review)

Blithe Spirit (Play Revival) - Shubert Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - (Review ***1/2)

The Boys in the Photograph (Musical) - Royal Alexandra Theatre - Toronto, ON - (Review **)

Bye Bye Birdie (Musical Revival) - Henry Miller's Theatre - Broadway - New York, NY - (Review ***)

Candida (Play Revival) - Burning Passions Theatre in the Toronto Fringe Festival at Innis Town Hall - Toronto, ON - (Review ****)

Cannibal: The Musical (Workshop Musical) - The Walmer Centre - Toronto, ON

Carmen & Skin Divers (Ballet - Mixed Program) - The National Ballet of Canada - The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - (Review *** - averaged from:
Skin Divers - ***1/2
Carmen - ***
)

Cirque Du Soleil's OVO (Circus) - Le Grand Chapiteau - The Port Lands - Toronto, ON - (Review ****1/2)

The Civil War (Musical Revival) - Ford's Theatre - Washington D.C. - (Review **1/2)

The Color Purple (Musical) - Canon Theatre - Toronto, ON - (Review **1/2)

Dido and Aeneas (Opera) - Underground/Opera at the Winchester Street Theatre - Toronto, ON - (Review ****)

Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead (Play) - Six Degrees - Toronto, ON - (Review ****)

Exit the King (Play Revival) - Barrymore Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - (Review ****)

Fences (Play Revival) - Huntington Theatre at Boston University Theatre - Boston, MA - (****)

ff8th/plays (Workshop Plays) - Oakwood Library Theatre - Toronto, ON

The Fiddler on the Roof (Musical Revival) - Canon Theatre - Toronto, ON - (***)

Finian's Rainbow (Musical Revival) - St. James Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - (Review ****)

The Four Temperaments & Watch Her & Glass Pieces (Ballet - Mixed Program) - The National Ballet of Canada - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - (Review **** - averaged from:
The Four Temperaments - ***
Watch Her - ****1/2
Glass Pieces - *****
)

The Full Monty (Musical Revival) - The Paper Mill Playhouse - Milburn, NJ - (Review ***1/2)

Giant (New Musical) - Signature Max Theatre - Arlington, VA (Greater D.C.) - (Review *****)

God of Carnage (New Play) - Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - (Review ***)

Guys and Dolls (Musical Revival) - Nederlander Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - (Review ***)

Hair (Musical Revival) x2 - Al Hirschfeld Theatre - Broadway - New York, NY - (Review *****)

Hamlet (Play Revival) - Donmar in the West End - Wyndham Theatre - London, UK - (Review ****)

The Harder They Come (Musical) - Canon Theatre - Toronto,ON - (**)

Head First (Performance) - Femmes Des Feu in the Toronto Fringe Festival at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainstage - Toronto, ON - (Review ***1/2)

Hipcheck The Musical (New Musical) - toronto Fringe Festival at the Robert Gill Theatre - Toronto, ON - (Review ***1/2)

Human Anonymous (New Play) - The Next Stage Theatre Festival (Fringe Toronto) - Factory Theatre - Toronto, ON - (Review **** )

The Importance of Being Earnest (Play Revival) - Avon Theatre - Stratford Festival, ON - (Review ****1/2)

Innovation (Ballet - Mixed Program) - The National Ballet of Canada - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - (Review ***1/2 - averaged from:
IN COLOUR - ***
Emergence - *****
DEXTRIS - ***1/2
)

Jersey Boys (Musical) - Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - (Original Review ****)

Just East of Broadway (New Musical) - Toronto Fringe Festival at the George Ignatieff Theatre - Toronto, ON - (Review ****)

La Cage Aux Folles (Musical Revival) - Playhouse Theatre - London, UK - (Review ***1/2)

Let Me Down Easy (New Play) - Second Stage Theatre - Off-Broadway - New York, NY - (***1/2)

Like Father, Like Son? Sorry (New Play) - Toronto Fringe Festival at the Factory Theatre Mainspace - Toronto, ON - (Review ***)

Love Is A Poverty You Can Sell: A Special Cabaret Homage to the Music and Musical Influence of Kurt Weill (Cabaret) - Soup Can Theatre at the Bread & Circus - Toronto, ON - (Review )

Lysistrata (Play Revival) - Eyewitness Theatre UK in the Toronto Fringe Festival at the Theatre Passe Murraille Mainstage - (Review ***)

Madame de Sade (Play Revival) - Donmar in the West End - Wyndham's Theatre - London, UK - *** (Review ***)

Mary Stuart (Play Revival) - Broadhurst Theatre - Broadway - New York,NY - (****)

Medea (Play Revival) - Canon Theatre - Toronto, ON - (Review ***)

Memphis (New Musical) - Shubert Theatre- Broadway - New York, NY - (Review ***1/2)

Minsky's (New Musical) - Ahmanson Theater - Los Angeles, CA - (***1/2)

Morro and Jasp Do Puberty (New Play) x2 - Toronto Fringe Festival at the Tarragon Theatre Extraspace - Toronto, ON - and - Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs - Toronto, ON - (Review *****)

Moving Along (New Play) - Toronto Fringe Festival at the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace - Toronto, ON - (Review ***1/2)

My Mother's Lesbian Jewish-Wiccan Wedding (New Musical) x2 - Toronto Fringe Festival at the Bread & Circus - Toronto, ON - and - Panasonic Theatre - Toronto, ON - (Review ****)

Nebraska The Musical (New Musical) - Toronto Fringe Festival at the Theatre Passe Murraille Mainstage - Toronto, ON - (Review ***)

Next Fall (New Play) - Naked Angels at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre (at Playwrights Horizons) - Off-Broadway, New York, NY - (Review ****1/2)

The Norman Conquests Trilogy (Play Revivals) - Circle in the Square Theatre - Broadway - New York, NY - (Review **** - averaged from:
Table Manners - ***1/2
Living Together - ***
Round and Round the Garden - ****
)

The Nutcracker (Ballet) - The Moscow Ballet at Casino Rama Entertainment Centre - Oshawa, ON - (**1/2)

Our Town (Play Revival) - Barrow Street Theatre - Off-Broadway - New York, NY - (****1/2)

Parade (Musical Revival) - Donmar Warehouse at the Mark Taper Forum - Los Angeles, CA - (Review *****)

Pippin (Musical Revival) - Mark Taper Forum - Los Angeles, CA - (Review ***)

Ragtime - Eisenhower Theater - The Kennedy Center - Washington, D.C. and Ragtime - Neil Simon Theatre - Broadway - New York, NY - (Review *****)

Rock of Ages (New Musical) - Brooks Atkinson Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - (Review **1/2)

Romeo and Juliet (Ballet) - The National Ballet of Canada - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - (Review ***)

The Royal Family (Play Revival) - Manhattan Theatre Club at The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - (Review ***)

Ruined (New Play) - Manhattan Theatre Club at NY City Centre Stage 1 - Off-Broadway - New York, NY - (****1/2)

Scorched (Play) - Tarragon Theatre Mainstage - Toronto, ON - (****)

See What I Wanna See (Musical Revival) - Signature's Ark Theatre - Arlington, VA (Greater D.C.) - (Review ***)

Show Boat (Musical Revival) - Signature Max Theatre - Arlington, VA (Greater D.C.) - (Review ***)

Sleeping Beauty (Ballet) - The National Ballet of Canada - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - (Review ***)

Soulful Messiah (Ballet) - Ballet Creole at the Fleck Dance Theatre - Toronto, ON - (**1/2)

The Sound Of Music (Musical Revival) x2 - The Princess of Wales Theatre - Toronto, ON - (Review ****1/2)

So You Think You Can Dance Canada Season 2 Tour (Dance) - Air Canada Centre - Toronto, ON - (***)

Spring Awakening (Musical) x13 - National Tour - Canon Theatre - Toronto, ON (x12) - (Review - Matt Doyle and Perry Sherman as Melchior in Toronto, Review - Kyle Riabko as Melchior in Toronto, Review in Toronto ****1/2)

Stuff Happens (Play Revival) - Studio 180 at The Royal Alexandra Theatre - Toronto, ON - (Review ***1/2)

Superior Donuts (New Play) - Music Box Theatre - Broadway - New York City, NY - (Review ***1/2)

The Temperamentals (New Play) - Off-Broadway - New York, NY - (***1/2)

Three Days of Rain (Play Revival) - Apollo Theatre - London, UK - (Review ***)

Tin Pan Alley Rag (Musical) - Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre - Off-Broadway, New York, NY - (Review **1/2)

The Toxic Avenger Musical (New Musical) x3 - New World Stages - Off-Broadway - New York, NY - and - Danforth Music Hall - Toronto,ON - (NY Review ***)

True Love Lies (New Play) - Factory Theatre Mainstage - Toronto, ON - (***1/2)

Twelfth Night (Play Revival) - Delacorte Theatre - Central Park, New York, NY - (Review ****)

The Understudy (New Play) - Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre - Off-Broadway, New York, NY - (Review ***1/2)

Waiting For Godot (Play Revival) - Studio 54 - Broadway, New York, NY - (Review **1/2)

War Horse (Play) - National Theatre in the West End - New London Theatre - London, UK - (Review ****)

West Side Story (Musical Revival) - Festival Theatre - Stratford Festival, ON - (Review ***)

We Will Rock You (Musical) - Panasonic Theatre - Toronto, ON - (Original Review *1/2)

The Wiz (Musical Revival) - Encores Summer Stars at New York City Center Mainstage - Off-Broadway, New York, NY - (Review **1/2)

Zisele (Play) - Tel Aviv's Beit Lessin Theatre at the Jane Mallett Theatre - St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts - Toronto, ON - (Review ***1/2)

______________________________________

Best of 2009 Lists: Coming soon
Best of Music 2009
Best of Television 2009
Best of Stage 2009
Best of Movies 2009

Decadeworthy - The Best of 2000-2009 Lists:
SYTYCDworthy (w/ Videos) - List Format
Theatre of the Decade
Best Films of the Decade
Favorite Films of the Decade
Television of the Decade
Television of the Decade - 1 Season Wonders

Previous Best-of Lists:
Best of 2008 Lists:
Best of Music 2008
Best of Television 2008
Best of Stage 2008
Best of Movies 2008
Best of Television Fall '07 - Winter '08 List

Best of 2007 Lists:
Best of Music 2007
Best of Television 2007
Best of Movies 2007
Best of Stage 2007
Best of 2007 (The Final Wrap Up)
Best of Television Fall '06 - Winter '07 List

Best of 2006 Lists:
Best of Music 2006
Best of Television 2006
Best of Movies 2006
Best of 2006
Best of Television Fall '05 - Winter '06 List

Best of 2005 Lists:
Best of Television 2005
Best of Movies 2005

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


More After the Jump...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Get Your Own Secret Call Girl

Secret Diary of a Call Girl Season 3 premieres Monday, January 25th at 10PM ET/PT on SHOWTIME!!! The seductive show is back for more and I'm still amazed at how charming and smart the show is. It's funny and like Sex and the City, brings humour to the still taboo subject of sex, though this British show is probably even a bit more risque! I'm still impressed by leading lady Billie Piper in her role as Belle du Jour, especially after knowing her as the British pop star and from her days on Doctor Who.

The show will be followed with the 3rd season premiere of Tracey Ullman's State of the Union at 10:30pm and new show La La Land

And in anticipation for the new Season Premiere, Showtime is giving away a Secret Diary of a Call Girl prize pack to catch up with!

It includes:
Season 1 DVD
Season 2 DVD
Secret Diary of a Call Girl book written by the real Belle du Jour
Secret Diary "diary"

To win:

All you have to do is email me with your name, address and answer this question:

Name what the show Secret Diary of a Call Girl is based on. (There are 2 answer I will accept. Either one will do. (Actual title required)).

Email your answer and info to tapeworthycontest at gmail dot com.

Deadline for entries is Monday, Jan. 25th 2010 at 12:00pm Noon E.S.T.

Here's the Season 3 Trailer:


Prize pack is subject to change. If there are more than 1 correct entries, a random draw from correct entries will be made to determine the winner. Contest only open to U.S. residents.
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


More After the Jump...
International Jock Crocs, Inc. Bare Necessities>