Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More on snow, theater and...Tom Cruise?

Below are a couple more photos from the snow storm that blew through Las Vegas yesterday. It snowed for quite a long time and covered most of the city, which is unusual for Las Vegas. And as predicted, the evening rush hour traffic was complete chaos. The list of traffic incidents reported by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department was long. But luckily, George and I weren’t tied up in some traffic mess on our way home.

These are not sights usually seen in Las Vegas.

This is Pueblo Park, where George and I usually
walk and jog.

Someone is obviously in denial. This is Vegas, damn it!

"Sahara" Avenue and "snow," a cowboy on a bike,
dreary looking
Las Vegas. Contradictions, anyone?
All the above photos by
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Last Saturday evening we saw the staging of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest” at UNLV’s Nevada Conservatory Theatre. Yes, there’s real theater in Sin City. There are several theaters in fact. See, there’s more to Las Vegas than just white tigers, showgirls and a million Cirque du Soleil shows at every street corner. Okay, okay, we know. It’s not Broadway or the West End, but we take whatever we can.

The performance of the play was just delightful. Although it ran almost three hours and played out in three acts with two intermissions, if was most enjoyable. The parts of the snobbishly high society characters were portrayed with an ever so slightly but delicious exaggeration. Which indeed was perfectly fitting for this kind of setting. Along with the overstated British accents, Victorian outfits and everything that came with it.

One of the highlights however...or shall we say two...were both intermissions. During these normally dull moments of inactivity on stage, the very creative minds of this production came up with very whimsical ways to make these dull moments rather entertaining. Several actors, whom portrayed the butler and servants in the play, were also in charge of changing the sets between the three acts. These actors, still in character and wearing their butler suit and servant uniforms, were moving and carrying props and items in ways as if they were in fact working inside Buckingham Palace. Everything was done in such particular and specific manner, being very proper and “British,” as if it were in fact the era of Victorian England. And all the while, it was never forgotten to bestow the honor to the Queen herself. At the end of every set change, these “servants” would always pay their respects by bowing towards an enlarged cutout of a portrait of Queen Victoria herself. A hilarious ritual which turned these intermissions into little show vignettes within a show. It truly was a highly entertaining evening.

Last Tuesday evening we attended a free screening of Tom Cruise’s new movie “Valkyrie.” Now, before you roll your eyes and make stupid Scientology jokes, we have to say that this film was good and so was Tom Cruise’s performance. We don’t care much for Tom Cruise as a person. Childishly jumping around on Oprah’s couch or mocking people needing medication to relief depression comes to mind when thinking of him. But as an actor he is actually good for the most part.

Since I grew up in Germany, there is a certain interest in films depicting German history. Specifically the more controversial subject like the Nazi reign, its horrendous impact around the world and the aftermath. I won’t go much into the film’s story if you don’t know much about that particular history. Let’s just say it deals with a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

George and I liked the film. There was a feel of authenticity to which I could relate to and appreciated. That some of filming took place in Germany obviously helped too. However, why Cruise cannot even try to attempt to have some kind of an accent is beyond me. Listening to a Nazi officer speaking with an American accent is just odd. Especially when most other actors are either British or German and all speak proper high English.

Yet, Tom Cruise took the time and effort to speak some German sentences in the beginning of the film. And may I say, his pronunciation was astoundingly good. The German language is one of the hardest to learn. In particular for English-speaking people.

But the whole accent thing can be overlooked. The film overall is good and that’s more important. Though there were few flaws and some liberties were taken in historical chronologies. The German press is in general not very forgiving when it comes to Hollywood. Moreover if Hollywood takes on German history. One of today’s reviews in a German newspaper admitted that while it’s not a masterpiece, it’s still a good film.

Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (left)
is played by Tom Cruise in the film "Valkyrie."

It takes a lot for German film critics to say that. About a Hollywood movie, no less. Starring Tom Cruise.

Apparently he’s still a “Top Gun” after all.

No comments: