Many adaptations have been made and performed of Shakespeare’s famous play “Romeo and Juliet” throughout the centuries, and while the titular pair are famous in literature, one character who quickly gets put on the back burner is Juliet’s cousin (and Romeo’s ex), Rosaline.
Recently, filmmakers decided to tell Shakespeare’s famous story through Rosaline’s eyes with the romantic comedy “Rosaline.” I’m always a fan of “What if ...” alternate universe stories, and when I heard about “Rosaline,” I thought it would end up being an interesting and amusing take on the story. Ultimately, I ended up being proven mostly right.
To start off, the absolute star of the film is Kaitlyn Dever in the lead role as Rosaline, and she does an amazing job. Her comic timing throughout the movie with her sarcastic barbs made me laugh out loud more than once, and she also gives Rosaline some much-needed softness, particularly near the end of the movie when everything ultimately comes together. She also has great chemistry with everyone else in the cast, particularly with Isabela Merced (who portrays Juliet) and Bradley Whitford (who portrays her father, Adrian). I also particularly enjoyed Minnie Driver as Nurse Janet, who’s also given some pretty good lines that match evenly with Dever’s comic timing, so much so that there were a couple moments where I thought “Are we SURE Janet isn’t actually Rosaline’s mother?!” She’s basically the character in every other movie that has just absolutely HAD IT with everyone’s nonsense, and she doesn’t hesitate to call people on it, which I absolutely love. I also liked Sean Teale as Rosaline’s eventual love interest, Dario, who was perfectly charming but also not afraid to tell Rosaline when she messed up – I actually wish he had been given a little more of a storyline, but he was very enjoyable when he was onscreen.
Shania Twain has been going through rather a renaissance in recent months, including concert performances and residencies, her documentary “Not Just A Girl” on Netflix (which I reviewed back in August), and most recently, the release of her new album “Queen of Me,” which dropped last week.
I was actually unaware Twain was about to release a new album, but then last week, as I was searching for something to listen to while doing some work, I saw a couple suggested videos on YouTube from the album and decided almost immediately to go ahead and listen to it. And I’m VERY glad I did.
To start off, I have to give praise to Twain’s vocals throughout the album. As some might know, she had a rough time getting her voice back to normal after battling Lyme Disease several years ago, and with “Queen of Me,” I could definitely tell she was excited to be back in the studio and singing. Something I also noticed with Twain’s vocals, though, is she seems to have developed more of her deeper register because there are some lower tones she hits that I’m not sure I’ve heard in her earlier songs. She might not sound exactly like she did on her earlier albums, but there’s still a lot of energy radiating off the album and I absolutely enjoyed it. I have a feeling many of the songs will be used for workouts, general mood lifting, jamming out in the car, etc., because that’s how energetic the album is.
London’s Abbey Road studio has been around for nearly a century and has seen many artists come through the doors including Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Adele, and Elton John, among many others. Since I’m a music nerd, when I saw Mary McCartney’s documentary feature debut “If These Walls Could Sing” on Disney+, I knew I would probably enjoy learning about one of the most historic music studios in history.
To start off, McCartney was a good choice for this project’s director, and her care and passion for the studio shows throughout the movie. She begins the movie by talking about how she spent much of her childhood in the studio with her father, Sir Paul McCartney, and with that level of care and experience in the place, she definitely knows what she’s talking about. I also liked some of the creative cinematographic choices she makes throughout the movie, especially with the archive footage she uses throughout, because it almost reminded me of the picture in a picture feature some TVs have. McCartney’s use of certain rooms of the studio as the background/setting for the interviews was very clever and with each subject, I couldn’t help but think, ‘That particular room suits them PERFECTLY!’
Something else I appreciated throughout the movie was the wide variety of artists interviewed, which includes Elton John, Celeste, Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Jimmy Page, among many others. That variety truly helped underscore just how historic the Abbey Road studio is and how instrumental (pun intended) the studio was in helping launch so many different careers and in such a wide variety of musical genres. Most of the artists interviewed used some variation of ‘holy’ or ‘sacred’ to describe the building and how important it was for them, and I feel like when that many people use those types of words in one setting, it’s probably not a coincidence. One story that was featured that particularly amused me came near the end with John Williams’ interview and when he talked about his experiences recording the famous “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” themes and recording some other music at a point where the studio was not doing very well and almost had to get rid of its biggest space. That story amused me because afterward, I couldn’t help but think ‘So yet again, it’s the band/orchestra kids who saved something from ruin.’ Overall, the movie is not only a showcase of the talent that’s passed through the studio but also a bit of an insight into the recording process, particularly in the earlier days, and I was surprised at just how clearly these artists could recall their respective recording sessions.