The Unbreakable Tour: A Night That Will Never Be Forgotten

When the Unbreakable Tour was announced, I jumped on the opportunity to see Parkway Drive. Though I have a long history of shows behind me, I had not once had the pleasure and absolute honor to see them live. That being said, I had high hopes going into this show on October 16th. And, allow me to begin by saying the performances put on by Parkway Drive, We Came as Romans, Counterparts, and San Antonio’s own Covina exceeded my expectations.

Counterparts, coined the “really nice Canadians” by the drunk guy screaming behind me the majority of the time they played, blew me away. I had heard a few of their songs, but had never really gotten “into” them, but after this show, I went home and Googled them immediately. These guys know how to put on an amazing show, even in a short amount of time. When vocalist, Brendan “B” Murphy, guitarists, Adrian Lee and Blake Hardman, and bassist, Brian Kaczmarczyk walked offstage, I was left upset and wished they’d come on for one or two more songs when they completed their set.

However, my sadness didn’t last too long because after their set came the only band on the tour I had seen before: We Came as Romans. Now, if you haven’t seen WCAR perform, I pity you because these guys are nonstop energy and entertainment. There was not a second of their set in which they weren’t moving, jumping, or hyping up the crowd in some way. They played so many of the songs that I know and love, including “To Plant a Seed” and “Hope,” and I did not stop singing along until the lights went out and they walked offstage. Guitarist Joshua Moore, bassist Andy Glass, drummer Eric Choi, guitarist Lou Cotton, and vocalists David Stephens and Kyle Pavone know how to put on one hell of a show.

Now, the main event is what truly took my breath away. Parkway Drive, a metalcore band hailing from Australia, has a fan base like no other. The moment We Came as Romans’ gear was cleared off the stage, the whole room erupted in cheers and chants for the hallowed “PARKWAY DRIVE, PARKWAY DRIVE, PARKWAY DRIVE.” The band did not take long to satiate these cries, as they came out about twenty minutes later playing “Crushed,” and hyping the crowd up even more. As a fan of the band, it was hard for me to take photos and not sing along, and in the end, I was left screaming with the crowd as I shot my final pictures.   Vocalist, Winston McCall, guitarists, Jeff Ling and Luke Kilpatrick, bassist, Jia O’Connor, and drummer, Ben Gordon know how to put on a show nobody will ever forget. Much to the fans’ delight, “especially the dudes in the pit,” as McCall put it, PWD played “Boneyards” and got the whole room shaking. I know for a fact my heart was pounding the whole time I watched the band perform. With their smoke cannons and intricate lighting, Parkway Drive owned the stage and owned the minds and hearts of everyone in the GA crowd, from the people in the pit to the mothers and their daughters, to your little, pig-tailed photographer shooting photos near the stage and in the balcony.

This was truly an unforgettable show for me.

-Rini Christina

For more photos, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/rinicphotography/ 

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Harry Connick Jr. replaces Billy Bush on NBC ‘Today’ show (shared post from counton2.com)

(CNN)- NBC “today” show looks to be setting the stage for life without billy bush. Singer and actor Harry Connick Junior announced Friday that he’ll be co-hosting the third hour o…

Source: Harry Connick Jr. replaces Billy Bush on NBC ‘Today’ show

 

Congratulations Harry!!! We at Reviews of the Arts SA (#Reviewsoftheartssa) are so excited for you!

Movie Review – “Kevin Hart: What Now” #HittingTheatersThisFriday

Kevin Hart, Ride Along Red Carpet Premiere, Sydney Australia

Image from wikimedia.org

I laughed so hard, I thought I was going to have a stroke!  True story – “Kevin Hart: What Now” is hilarious.  I really did feel as if I was going to bust blood vessels from laughing!

I purposely left a set in between me and the first group of people in my row (I would have given the seat up if someone needed it, but it never came to that) because I was worried that the people sitting next to me were going to get mad at me. “Reason why is” I can’t watch Kevin Hart and not crack-up and when I crack-up, it’s LOUD! However, there were two seats on the other side of me.  Two nice young women asked if they were open, so of course I said, “yes.” I struck up a conversation with them about how much I loved Kevin Hart.  Luckily, one of them (the one sitting closest to me) saw him live and was a big fan.  As soon as the movie began, I was so happy she sat next to me because Kevin did what he does best – – make us laugh!

Kevin was firing off one funny “true story” after another; each one funnier than the last and the two of us were screaming with laughter from the very first joke!  It was as if she was my “sista from another mista” because she laughed just as loud as I did, she held her stomach and moaned from the laughter pains, just like me!  She even sat up trying to get air, just like me!  The movie was so funny that so many times I laughed so hard that no sound came out, because I was losing oxygen (she did the same thing!) We weren’t just laughing, we were losing our minds and it was the best feeling ever!!  I can truthfully say, I never laughed so hard and so much at a movie, in my life and having a “laughing partner” felt so liberating!  Of course, the rest of the theater was laughing too, so there was no way they could get mad at me.  Honestly, you’d have to have been in a coma not to laugh.

“What Now” is somewhat of a documentary movie.  It is Kevin’s stand-up comedy routine, which he performed in front of a record-breaking, sold-out crowd of 50,000 at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 30, 2015. It was the first time in history that a comedian sold out a football stadium.  Kevin wants to make history again by breaking box-office records for this opening weekend by showing the film around the world.  If you follow @kevinhart4real, he’s asking everyone to help him make history this weekend. He’s using the hash tag – #ComedicRockStarShit for all posts related to “What Now.”

The movie can also fit into the action, drama, and comedy, movie genres.  It opens with a James Bond-like title sequence.  At first, you will think it’s an action comedy.  For the first ten minutes or so, it’s a comedic parody of a Bond movie, featuring Halle Berry as herself but as Kevin’s “Bond-girl.”  Kevin is agent 0054! This movie within the movie satirizes all of the cliché things that happen in spy movies.  For example, there’s a room labeled, something like “convenient changing room with clothes that fit Kevin Hart!”  There is even a bloody shootout scene, which is rather gross and actually made me and my “sista” cover our eyes.  Therefore, besides for the language, the bloody scene also makes this an adult only movie.

When the “mission” is accomplished, Halle and Kevin make it to the venue, where Kevin shoots up an elevator shaft onto the stage, and the concert begins.  It was so awesome  to see the aerial shots of the sold-out stadium!  Kevin teared-up when he took his final bows.  You can tell how grateful he is to have been able to go back to his hometown and sell out the stadium. It was as if that moment was when he realized he made it as a star!  It’s inspiring to see someone who has worked hard, realize his dream.  I also have a lot of respect for big stars who are not afraid to be humble.  My favorite part, which made me love Kevin even more, was just before he left the stage and thanked the crowd.  He told the audience to “look around,”  he said, “I see every race, ethnicity, and nationality possible.  I see some of everybody. We all came under the same roof and we laughed tonight.  If you can laugh together, you can live together; if you can live together, you can love together.  I live by those rules and I’ll be damned if I didn’t see that s**t here tonight. . . in my city I made history. . .and this has been the best night of my f**’n life. ..” You can actually find video of this moment posted by a fan on YouTube.  I didn’t post the link here because I try to keep my content PG-13.

When the Universal Pictures studio representative asked what I thought of the movie, I told him that I thought I was going to have a stroke and that I was so lucky the girl next to me laughed as loud as I did.  He replied, “everyone was laughing.”  They were; the room was roaring with laughter for the entire run of the film!  The stand-up routine is full of so many funny and animated stories about Kevin’s kids, his “lady,” his dad, and his friends, all prefaced with “true story.”  Kevin says he doesn’t lie, “unless the truth is not believable!” I don’t want to give away and jokes or punch lines, you have to see this movie for yourself.  Please remember it’s rated –R; it’s not for kids and if you get offended by foul language, then it’s not for you.  If you are a Kevin Hart fan, the answer to the question, “What Now?” is go buy your tickets!  “Kevin Hart: What Now” opens Friday! Don’t miss it! – BMT

P.S.  Don’t get up when the credits start rolling, there’s more movie! As always, please let me know what you think. – Beth

“The Girl on the Train” – Movie Review

the_girl_on_the_train_logoIntense! There is really no other word to perfectly describe “The Girl on the Train!” Walking out of the theater I heard a few other comments, such as, “you women are crazy” and “that was crazy,” but my immediate reaction when the studio representative asked, “what did you think?” was – “intense.”

“The Girl on the Train,” directed by Tate Taylor is the theatrical adaptation of the book by the same name written by Paula Hawkins. It is a psychological thriller with a lot of twists and turns. I’m not big on “thriller” movies but I am always intrigued by psychological thrillers that have a good story line. This is one of those movies that captivates you from the first scene.

Someone said the movie was a “train wreck” and it was the worst movie they’d seen in a long time. I disagree; although I do like the use of the expression “train wreck” because in my opinion, the movie is about relationship train wrecks. The movie focuses on one main character Rachel Watson, who is the center of this relationship “Ven diagram.” As expected, Emily Blunt’s performance as Rachel is superb. As the story unfolds you see that every character is related by “six degrees of separation” to Rachel.  I recently read a review and the author said that it was difficult to follow along. I wouldn’t say it was difficult; you just have to pay attention. Isn’t that why we go to movies? – to engross ourselves into the story-line?  I thought the suspenseful plot twists made the movie interesting.

It is difficult to review movies without spoiling it for future viewers, and I can’t stand reviews that actually tell the entire story. So, I won’t do that to you.  I’ll just touch on what you already may have gleaned from the trailer. Rachel is an artist with a vivid imagination, which is fueled by alcohol. She rides the train into the city every day and fantasizes about Megan and Scott Hipwell, a couple that lives in a house she passes daily.  Luke Evans, plays Scott; he’s ruggedly sexy (on and off-screen).  We feel sorry for him and fear him at the same time. Luke was on Harry Connick, Jr.’s talk show – #Harry – this week. I didn’t know that he is also a singer! I mean he’s already a hot actor, but once you hear him sing, you’ll be, as Harry put it, “smitten.” Watch the clip here:

Haley Bennett plays Scott’s wife, Megan, another complex character. Edgar Ramirez, plays her psychiatrist, Dr. Kamal Abdic. Rebecca Ferguson is Anna, Rachel’s ex-husband, Tom’s (Justin Theroux) new wife. Rachel’s daily train ride represents her inability to move forward; she sits rear-facing – looking back. Rachel appears to be a typical “crazy-ex” who is fixated on the past and stalks her ex-husband.

Laura Prepon of “That 70s Show” fame, plays Rachel’s friend, Cathy, who took Rachel in when she had nowhere else to go. Allison Janney is the detective investigating the murder case. She is perfectly cast as she seems to always play the role of an arrogant woman of power, who always gets to the bottom of things and doesn’t care who she takes down in the process. Lisa Kudrow plays Martha, Scott’s ex-boss’s wife.  Though she is not a main character, her role in the movie is crucial to the plot line. Rachel runs into her on the train and suddenly learns unnerving information about her ex-husband.

It is all seems so far-fetched, yet, so real due to the awesome cinematography by Charlotte Bruss Christensen and the artistry of director, Tate Taylor. The story is basically told through the use of flashbacks. We feel Rachel’s confusion and fragile mental state through her eyes and the reflections in the train windows. In one scene her reflection is superimposed with the reflections of the trees as the train passes them. You feel the speed of the train and Rachel’s internal conflict. As in Alfred Hitchock’s classic movie, “Strangers on a Train,” the train ride is used as a means to create suspense and the place where the main character impulsively makes her next move.  Though “Strangers on a Train” is about a criss-cross murder plot; “The Girl on the Train” involves an unplanned murder alliance. That’s all I’m going to say.

I highly recommend you see this movie. Did you see it this weekend?  What did you think?  I’d like to know, so please post your comments below. – BMT

The Final World Tour Broke My Heart and Mended It All In One Night

ryannnnnnnYellowcard has held one of the most special places in my heart for the longest time. Though I was born in 1998, a year after their journey as a band began, I was reached by their music at a very young age. They had a way of making me feel less alone, and somehow made me smile in some of my worst moments. Even now, at 17, after many changes in my life,  they are still a constant reminder that “everything is gonna be alright.”

Often, when talking about the band, I mention that Ocean Avenue was the first CD I ever bought with my own money. This CD became the cornerstone for a collection that is now built by over 100 albums and is still growing. Yellowcard made me want to listen to music and become involved in it, whether I was crying and singing “One Year, Six Months” or smiling at the possibility of forever and belting out “Ocean Avenue,” they were an integral part of my growth in music.

The prospect of them not being a band is something I am still trying to wrap my head around. Though I know that they will all go on to do great things, it is hard to accept that one of the few constants in my life will no longer be constant. However, the Final World Tour brought me quite a bit of closure. For an hour and fifteen minutes or so, I was reminded of Yellowcard’s amazing past but also assured by Ryan Key, the voice behind the lyrics that have meant so much to fans throughout the years, that though this chapter of their lives is closing, there is more to come in the future.

Dryjacket and Like Torches were amazing support. The former opened the show with melodic tunes that left the room craving more music, and the latter, a Swedish band on their first U.S. tour, were so entertaining, I was sad to see them leave the stage. Both openers shared stories of growing up listening to Yellowcard, and I believe this definitely caused an immediate connection between them and the masses of fans in the crowd. People standing around me commented on how impressed they were with both acts, and how great they fit with the tour. I was equally impressed, and hope to hear more from both bands in the near future.

Though I could write lines and lines about how absolutely perfect the Yellowcard set was, I believe the only way you can truly understand it is to attend one of their last shows. As always, they left me speechless, both from their spectacular performance and also from the fact that I sang along with every song.  They are a band that will never be forgotten by anyone who has been touched by their music, and who are unrivaled in love and support from fans. I hope everyone gets a chance to see them on this tour and is able to receive the closure I received from seeing them perform live one last time. There is something so touching about watching a band that has meant so much to you for such a long time say their final goodbye.

If you want to purchase tickets to a date near you, please visit: http://yellowcardrock.com/

You will not regret it, I promise.

All I can say with certainty is, long live Yellowcard. They are legends in my eyes, and legends never truly die.

-Rini Christina

For more photos of this show and others, please visit: http://www.facebook.com/rinicphotography