Stage

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Out & About - Stephen Romei DS SR

(PG) Jonathan Demme is per­haps best known for The Si­lence of the Lambs, for which he won a best di­rec­tor Os­car. Be­fore that he made Stop Mak­ing Sense, a su­pe­rior rock con­cert movie fea­tur­ing Talk­ing Heads. It’s that last film that comes to mind at the start of Ricki and the Flash as ma­ture rock chick Ricki Ren­dazzo (Meryl Streep) straps on a guitar and struts on stage to join her band. Streep looks and sounds the real deal, all leather and boots, braids, tatts and rings. How­ever, Ricki and the Flash is not a mu­sic movie but a fam­ily drama, one that for a long stretch is tight and cap­ti­vat­ing. The big dis­ap­point­ment is the end­ing, where it falls vic­tim to the per­va­sive trend in films to tie up ev­ery loose end. The toxic cheesi­ness of the fi­nal half hour un­does much of the good work that pre­cedes it.

Me and Earl and the Dy­ing Girl (M) A wise, hu­mor­ous and very ten­der adap­ta­tion of Jesse An­drews’s novel about a shy, in­tro­verted Pittsburgh high­schooler (the ex­cel­lent Thomas Mann) and his friend­ship with Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a girl his own age who has been di­ag­nosed with leukaemia. Di­rec­tor Al­fonso Gomez-Re­jon, a pro­tege of Martin Scors­ese among oth­ers, han­dles this del­i­cate story with tremen­dous skill and fills the movie with cin­e­matic ref­er­ences bound to de­light ev­ery film buff.

We are Your Friends (MA15+) We are Your Friends, the fea­ture film de­but of young Amer­i­can doc­u­men­tary maker and TV host Max Joseph, is En­tourage for the dig­i­tal mu­sic gen­er­a­tion. A posse of lads in Cal­i­for­nia as­pires to great­ness in the elec­tronic dance mu­sic scene. Their chances rest on the shoul­ders of Cole Carter (Zac Efron), who has def­i­nite tal­ent as a DJ. Cole’s for­tunes look up when he is be­friended by su­per­star DJ James Reed (Wes Bent­ley). “A suc­cess­ful artist,’’ James tells him, “must stop be­ing an ad­mirer and find their own sig­na­ture.’’ This is a com­ing-of-age film and the best scenes are be­tween James and Cole.

High So­ci­ety The 1956 movie High So­ci­ety, star­ring Grace Kelly, Frank Si­na­tra and Bing Crosby, with de­li­cious songs by Cole Porter, has been adapted as a stage mu­si­cal. Wealthy so­cialite Tracy Lord is about to get mar­ried, but trou­ble arises in the form of mis­be­hav­ing fam­ily mem­bers and an in­con­ve­nient ex­hus­band. He­len Dal­limore di­rects Hayes Theatre Com­pany’s first in-house pro­duc­tion. Arms and the Man Stuck in a small-town Bul­gar­ian back­wa­ter, Raina Petkoff wants ad­ven­ture, love and es­cape. When a charm­ing Swiss soldier clam­bers into her bed­room, Raina can’t help her­self — she of­fers him sanc­tu­ary, feeds him cho­co­late and falls in love. Ge­orge Bernard Shaw’s clas­sic play takes its ti­tle from the open­ing line of Vir­gil’s Aeneid. Di­rected by Richard Cot­trell, fea­tur­ing An­drea Deme­tri­ades and Mitchell Bu­tel. Wharf Theatre, Pier 4, Hick­son Road, Walsh Bay, Syd­ney. Opens Septem­ber 14. Tick­ets: $58-$100. Book­ings: (02) 9250 1777 or online. Un­til Oc­to­ber 31. Pa­cific, The Phan­tom of the Opera, Carousel, Car­men and La Travi­ata.

The Whit­lams

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