Memorial Day weekend formally is the start of the summer film season. We’re talking movie theater flicks, titles you watch in a bona fide theater, not streaming stuff on TV.

Some thoughts:

* Sequels prevail. Studios know one hit deserves another.

* Animated films will find their niche. Turns out adults like cartoons as much as kids.

* Action-adventure titles soar. Add a famous name, you’re likely to get a blockbuster, especially if Marvel is in the mix.

The bottom-line wonderment: With a lot of potential movie faves on the screens, will the seats in the theaters finally get filled like those pre-pandemic days, to break the inevitable COVID-era habit of staying home and watching streamed titles on TV, and resume the practice of buying tickets at the box office, pay absurd snack bar prices, and actually return to the habit of watching movies where they were made to be seen, on those large screen and mega-loud sound system?

Here are 10 summer films I won’t miss, and you shouldn’t either.

Tom Cruise as Maverick in “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Here’s what I’m eager to see, with my soda and kaki mochi combined with popcorn:

1 –‘Top Gun: Maverick’

It’s been more than 30 years, when a young actor named Tom Cruise, portrayed a cocky, ace pilot named Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, in “Top Gun,” and became a Hollywood hottie and hotshot. This flick was supposed to premiere two years ago, but has been delayed – yeah, COVID – till this summer, so Maverick may rule the year…if lightning strikes again. MilesTeller, Jennifer Connelly, and John Hamm co-star. Opens today (May 27).

Dinosaurs will roam the world in “Jurassic World Dominion.”

2 –‘Jurassic World Dominion’

Dino-mite. Can’t deny it; The roaring historic dinosaurs always scare up the audiences, and this time dinos are everywhere, not just in the forests. No fretting, familiar actors are back – Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, Lauren Dern, Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt. Colin Trevorrow directs the Steven Spielberg franchise… The dinos steal the show, lurching, sneering, roaring, and. boy, speed-racing all over the place, with humans trying to find the perfect balance on Earth. Opens June 10.

Buzz Lightyear in “Lightyear.”

3 –‘Lightyear’

Pixar-Disney’s most famous space traveler, Buzz Lightyear, jumps into sci-fi heavens, and has a kinda a leap in time-traveling, in this prequel that supposedly leads into his “Toy Story” turf. Could be the summer’s biggest family-aimed animation adventure. Voices matter, so for the record, Chris Evans has replaced Tim Allen. Also voicing: Taika Waititi, James Brolin, and Keke Palmer. Opens June 17.


4 –‘Elvis’

A newcomer, Austin Butler, portrays America’s favorite “Hound Dog,” Elvis Presley, and yes, he has moments where there’s a whole lotta shakin’ going on. Butler’s not a proven box office figure, and the trailers show he can do the Presley gyrations and lip-curling in those beaded and sequined jumpsuits. The heavyweights who can make this a hit are huge entertainment names: Oscar-winner Tom Hanks plays a chubby Col. Tom Parker, whose viewpoint on the Elvis phenom is the thrust of the movie, directed by Baz Luhrmann, of “Moulin Rouge” and “The Great Gatsby” fame. Opens June 24.

5 –‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’

Who doesn’t like the Minions, those quirky yellow figures oozing with individual charm? This project, from 2020, also was a victim of the pandemic, finally seeing screen life. This sequel marks the return of voicer Steve Carell, as the young Gru from “Despicable Me,” who gets help from his Minion to learn to become the franchise’s top villain. Other voices: Taraji P. Hansen and Michelle Yeoh. Opens July 1.

6 –‘Thor: Love and Thunder’

Chris Hemsworth in “Thor: Love and Thunder”

Because of its success from 2017’s “Thor: Ragnarok,” the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings back the giddy and funny superhero (Chris Hemsworth) in “Thor: Love and Thunder.” When he was in 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame,” Hemsworth was overweight. He’s trim again…and cannot peacefully retire. Taika Waititi directs, with Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, and Natalie Portman aboard. Opens July 8.

7 –‘Where the Crawdads Sing’

This drama might be a sleeper, based on the best-selling novel of the same name, set in the marshlands of North Carolina.  Daisy Edgar-Jones stars as Kya, a self-raised girl who becomes a prime suspect in a murder case. Directed by Olivia Newman. Opens July 15.

8 – ‘Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris’

Lesley Manville is a widowed cleaning woman in 1950s London, who falls for the haute couture of Paree – notably a particular Dior dress she sorely wants – and makes an impact on the House of Dior. Isabelle Huppert, Jason Isaacs, and Rose Williams co-star. Opens July 15.

Brad Pitt in “Bullet Train.”

9 — ‘Bullet Train’

One of the stars of this action comedy, based on a Japanese novel, is the titular Bullet Train of Japan, the immaculate and dependable people-mover, including Brad Pitt, playing a likeable hit man on his pre-retirement assignment, who boards this train, only to discover four other assassins are aboard with their own assignments. Awkward. This looks to be an entertaining action comedy. Director David Leitch’s earlier credits include “Deadpool 2” and “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.” Opens Aug. 5.

10 – ‘Samaritan’

 Described as a superhero thriller adventure, “Samaritan” stars Sylvester Stallone as Stanley Kominski. The film is based on Mythos Comics characters, about a youth, portrayed by Javon Walton, who understands that a famous superhero who went missing 20 years ago, following an epic battle, who supposedly now leads a different life and living next door to him. Opens Aug. 26.

Surely, many other summer movies are awaiting crowds; I don’t particularly enjoy horror pics or mushy rom-coms, so obviously, these titles weren’t considered here. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


Nothing is simple or sane, and nowhere does it say it has to be.

So “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is a stew of incredibility and imagination, perhaps everything and anything you might not expect in a film.

It’s maniacal, but magical; it’s whimsical, yet wonderful; it’s delightful yet disastrous;  and it seemingly doesn’t end, so it offers twin endings. Like, “The End” twice.

Basically, it’s an original oddity, starring an agile and admirable Michelle Yeoh, as an operator of a laundromat who doesn’t quite know how to pay her bills so has ills with the IRS. She is the essence of a wreck-a-holic on steroids, in a grand way.

As directed by a pair of Daniels, who like to be known as the Daniels (last names, Kwan and Sheinert), this is an action film disguised as a comedy yet plays like a superheroine adventure complete with matters of the universe. It’s like a video game run amok, a family sit-com with kicks and kinks leading to a cosmic explosion of emotions and antics, a vision or version of apocalyptic end-of-the-world with more domestic ripples anchored to getting along with grandpa and a gay daughter, etc.


Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan

It’s a longish journey (running time, 2:20, but seems endlessly longer) that dodges the finish line with extended gags, which results in lags, and it certainly is overwhelming and overpowering in the constant conflicts of relationships between leading and secondary characters.

Yeoh is remarkably athletic in stamina as Evelyn Wang, who ditched the family while she was young, who now owns a laundromat with her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan, the once-young lad in “Indiana Jones and the  Temple of Doom,” now converted into a modern-day comedic Jackie Chan), who unite with patriarch Gong Gong  (James Hong), the aging but able great-grandfather of the Chinese elderly dude), to celebrate Chinese New Year. But life is complex; the washing machines are below the parental residence, Waymond is seeking a divorce from Evelyn, who has to face the music and madness of an IRS audit; the couple’s daughter (Stephanie Hsu), has admitted she’s gay and brings home “good friend” partner Becky (Tallie Medel) for the family shebang.

Jamie Lee Curtis

Evelyn’s nemesis here includes Deirdre (Jamie Lee Curtis), the irrepressible IRS investigator who threatens the demise of the laundromat unless its owner can settle its questionable tax debt. Curtis is recognizable in face, but is padded with body prosthetics, and turns in a wacky, wicked performance as an IRS-er you don’t want to mess with.

The themes of filial love and respect, parental patience, spousal connections, and a heavy dose of metaverse threats and invasions where nothing is as it seems, everything and everywhere is blended into a toxic brew as if thrown into a food processor. Time is bent, twisted, flashing backward and forward, blurring reality.

And there are some icky, sticky, even sickly mess of elements, like a discomforting anal moment with a trophy substituting for a sexual device. And silly, recurring instances of googly eyes; you know, the kind of stick-on fake eyes.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are frequent unexpected sci-fi gems: hotdogs posing as fingers, toes playing the piano, for starters.

Because of its original, fresh storytelling, unfolded in bursts of clever visual and aural trickery, the Daniels have created a logical Gen Z product with word-of-mouth assist in making this a buzzed-about hit.

However, “Everything” is not for everyone, since mostly everything is unconventional and stuff keeps popping up everywhere without expectation. But you will be awed and astonished at everything you understand and even astonished by everything you didn’t quite get.

However, everything considered, you’ll have a roar of a great time.

And that’s Show Biz…


Diamond Head Theatre ‘s revival of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” opening April 1, boasts a cast that should bring vigor and vitality in the lead roles.

Aleks Pevec will portray Jesus of Nazareth and Bailey Barnes will enact Mary Magdalene. The powerful  rock opera includes break-out titles such as “Superstar,” “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” “Gethsemane” and “What’s the Buzz.”

Aleks Pevec

The score by Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice should resonate with a new generation of spectators encountering the rock opera with its biblical template.

Directed and choreographed by John Rampage, “Superstar” will run April 1 through 20; but already, two extension matinees have been added for 3 p.m. April 23 and 4 p.m. April 24. Tickets will be scarce, so order prior to opening.

Bailey Barnes

Pevecs previously co-starred in DHT’s “Something Rotten” and Barnes will be remembered for her breakout role as Dorothy in the I’m a Bright Kid Foundation’s “The Wiz.”

Others in the cast include Taj Guttierez as Judas Iscariot, Aiko Schick as King Herod, Corin Medeiros as Caiaphas, Jay Flores as Annas, Jody Bill as Simon Zealots, Michael Abdo as Peter, and Laurence Paxton as Pontius Pilate.

The origin of the 1970s musical includes island singer-actress Yvonne Elliman, who created the Magdalene role and performed a pair of signature tunes, “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and “Everything’s Alright,” in the concept album, stage vehicle and the resulting film. She earned a Golden Globe nomination in 1974 for her movie performance.

For tickets, visit or call (808) 733-0274…

 Manoa whodunnit

Manoa Valley Theatre’s “The 39 Steps” opens tonight (March 17). It’s a mixture of farce blending Hitchcockian mystery with Monty Python mirth. The playwrights are Patrick Barlow and John Buchan, whose spy novel whodunnit includes a murder and a mysterious group called “The 39 Steps” which tracks a manhunt to a hilarious finale.

Rob Duval directed the cast that includes Garrett Hols as Richard Hannay, Rachel League as Annabella/Pamela, Matthew Miller as Clown 1 and Andrew Baker as Clown 2.

Performances are Thursdays through Sundays, through March 27.

Visit or call 988-6131. …

A football superstar weds here

Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chief’s all-star quarterback, and his sweetheart Brittany Matthews, tied the knot at the Four Seasons resort on Maui on March 13.

Both groom and bride are 26 and they’ve been a couple for a decade.

TMZ noted that Mahomes was attired in a gray suit, with Matthews in a traditional white bridal gown.

The couple’s daughter Sterling, 1, was flower girl and the quarterback’s younger brother, Jackson, was best man. Travis Kelce, a teammate, was groomsman and Kayla Nicole, his girlfriend, was one of several bridesmaids. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


The Golden Globes – remember them? –  were bestowed Sunday, without fanfare, without the usual televised version of the ceremonies, without the customary buzz.

Hollywood – remember them, too? – snubbed the rituals this year because of the lack of diversity in 2021 not just among contenders but because of scarcity of people of color  (like, no blacks, and wonder if there were Asians) among the voters.

So if the sponsoring Hollywood Foreign Press Association repaired or reviewed its playbook, no one knows. If the Globes are precursors of the upcoming Academy Awards ceremonies, we shall all have to wait and see.

The Golden Globe

The two “big” winners each earned three awards: “The Power of the Dog” and “West Side Story.” The former is a difficult drama to endure (dark and dreary, but directed by an industry fave, Jane Campion) and the latter was a major remake of a landmark film (visceral and vibrant, directed by the respected Steven Spielberg)  that was a the box office flop .

So who won what? A recap, if you’re wondering:

Best motion picture, drama

The Power of the Dog

Best actress in a motion picture, drama

Nicole Kidman, “Being the Ricardos

Best actor in a motion picture, drama

Will Smith, “King Richard

Best motion picture, comedy or musical

West Side Story

Best actress in a motion picture, comedy or musical

Rachel Zegler, “West Side Story”

Best actor in a motion picture, comedy or musical

Andrew Garfield, “Tick, Tick… Boom!”

Best director, motion picture

Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog”

Best supporting actress in a motion picture

Ariana DeBose, “West Side Story”

Best supporting actor in a motion picture

Kodi Smit-McPhee, “The Power of the Dog”

Best TV series, drama

Succession” (HBO)

Best actress in a TV series, drama

Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, “Pose”

Best actor in a TV series, drama

Jeremy Strong, “Succession

Best TV series, comedy or musical

“Hacks” (HBO Max)

Best actress in a TV series, comedy or musical

Jean Smart, “Hacks”

Best actor in a TV series, comedy or musical

Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso

Best limited series or TV movie

The Underground Railroad” (Amazon)

Best actress in a limited series or TV movie

Kate Winslet, “Mare of Easttown

Best actor in a limited series or TV movie

Michael Keaton, “Dopesick”

Best supporting actress in a TV series

Sarah Snook, “Succession”

Best supporting actor in a TV series

O Yeong-su, “Squid Game

Best original score, motion picture

Hans Zimmer, “Dune

Best screenplay, motion picture

Kenneth Branagh, “Belfast”

Best animated feature film


Best foreign language film

Drive My Car” (Japan)

Best original song, motion picture

“No Time to Die,” from “No Time to Die

And that’s Show Biz. …


Camila Cabello, front, with Idina Menzel, Billy Porter, Nicholas Galitzine, Pierce Brosnan and Minnie Driver.

“Cinderella,” currently screening on Amazon Prime, is a pulsating rendering clearly for the 21st century generation, with a familiar tale retold for the Me-Gen crowd.

It opens with a thumping redo of Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation,” with a dancing hip-hop crowd, quickly providing a wow factor that might surprise traditionalists. No bibbidi-bobbidi-boo here; clearly, this is not your grandma’s Ella.

Camila Cabello, the Cuban-American pop singer, swiftly introduces herself as the titular character, delivering Des’ree’s“You Gotta Be,” setting her personal tone, tempo and theme to come.

As a film musical, it’s a mixed bag of new and old melodies, with the familiar likely to be more popular than the newbies.

As written and directed by Kay Cannon, from an idea by James Corden (he doubles as  an exec-producer, and appears as one of mice-turned-coachmen when Ella heads to the ball), the update embraces  a woman’s viewpoint of making her own life choices.

Familiar voices and names  abound, punctuating values and versatility; it might be hodge-podge, but in the end, it all works because Cabello brings innocence and hope to the party. Yes, she’s the reluctant princess with a penchant for designing gowns, and she’s not interested in becoming a trophy bride. Perhaps not till the finale, anyway.

The ingredients are all here: the stepmother, Vivian, not so wicked in Idina Menzel’s interpretation. And yes, hers is a wholly wonderful vocal instrument, a la her Broadway creds in “Wicked,” but Pierce Brosnan as King Rowan is no better or worse than his “Mamma Mia” stint, but he fits the mold as the rigid royal who lacks ambition. Minnie Driver is Queen Beatrice, who isn’t given much to do, but comes out with the most relevant posture of credibility late in the party.

Galitzine as Prince Robert and Cabello as Cinderella.

Clearly the jewel of the project is Billy Porter as the Fairy Godmother, visually and vocally a piece of skillful work in his gilded finery of a gown.

Since this is a princess tale, not a prince’s story,  Nicholas Galitzine as Prince Robert has  the dubious task of dimming his headlights, not overshadowing Ella. He’s not a bad singer, however, but the rigidity of the Cinderella plot disallows romantic legitimacy. He goes searching for the midnight maiden, but the quest  is reduced to door-knocking, minus damsels trying to get foot into the shoe.

So we mentioned familiar ditties, borrowed hits rebooted with gusto, and  retrofitted  to fit into the tapestry of the kingdom:

  • Madonna’s “Material Girl,” the stepmom’s marry-for-money declaration.
  • Queen’s “Somebody to Love,” Prince Robert’s proclamation that he’d marry for love, not merely an arranged bride.
  • Earth Wind and Fire’s “Shining Star,” the  Fab Godmother’s vehicle to preen, as he/she turns the cinder girl into a saleable sizzler.
  • Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect,” the romantic anthem shared by Ella and the Prince, before the clock strikes 12;
  • Salt-N- Pepa with En Vogue’s “Whatta Man,” a crowd women rallying to earn the prince’s hand and wealth.
  • Jennifer Lopez’s “Let’s Get Loud,” a show-ending livewire to punctuate the happily-ever- after conclusion.
  • And yes, there are several new tunes in the soundtrack and the one to get on is Cabello’s composition, “Million to One.” It’s likely to be the film’s hit track; it is a made-for-radio, groomed-for-video gem.

Meanwhile, a Cinderella on the London stage

A footnote:  there’s another “Cinderella” – a new musical – earning applause  in the West End, London.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, with collaboration with Emerald Fennell and David Zippel, was shut down at the Gillian Lynne Theatre during the panemic, but returned to action in mid-August.

 The cast includes Carrie Hope Fletcher as Cinderella, Ivano Turco as Prince Sebastian, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as the Stepmother, Caleb Roberts as Prince Charming, and Rebecca Trehearn as the Queen.
In time, this one likely will set anchor on Broadway.