Jury Coordination and Notes

Archive for June, 2018

Uncle Drew – Very Funny Underdog Sports Flick. Great for Families.

Thursday, June 28th, 2018

After draining his life savings to enter a team in the Rucker Classic street ball tournament in Harlem, Dax (Lil Rel Howery) is dealt a series of unfortunate setbacks, including losing his team to his longtime rival (Nick Kroll). Desperate to win the tournament and the cash prize, Dax stumbles upon the man, the myth, the legend Uncle Drew (NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving) and convinces him to return to the court one more time. The two men embark on a road trip to round up Drew’s old basketball squad (Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson and Lisa Leslie) and prove that a group of septuagenarians can still win the big one. After a successful five years as a fan-favorite digital episodic series, originally conceived by Pepsi, Uncle Drew, will hit theaters June 29, 2018. KIDS FIRST! Juror, Juanita L. comments, “Uncle Drew has strong messages about team work, taking risks to reach your goals and playing for the love of the game.” See her full review below.

Uncle Drew
By Juanita Seon Leary, KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

Uncle Drew is a very funny, underdog sports film. While I am unfamiliar with all the NBA and WBA stars, I enjoyed the film because I related to the feelings and thoughts of the senior athletes. The use of make-up and prosthetics makes it even funnier.

Dax (LilRel Howery), a basketball obsessed Foot Locker salesman whose dream to coach a tournament- winning street ball team, is drowned by his longtime rival, Mookie (Nick Kroll). Mookie steals his prize player Casper (Orlando Magic Forward, Aaron Gordon), his team and his materialistic girlfriend Jess (Tiffany Haddish).

Dax spends his life savings on Harlem’s Rucker Classic registration entry fee and is desperate to get another team when he learns from Louis (Mike Epps) and Angelo (J.B. Smoove) about the legendary street player Uncle Drew. Dax finds 70-something Uncle Drew (NBA all Star Kyrie Irving), a street-ball legend who famously played in the same tournament 50 years earlier.  Uncle Drew agrees to play for Dax if he can recruit his own roster of players. The adventure begins as the duo road trips to convince Drew’s old teammates to join the team. We see Preacher (Chris Webber), wheel-chair bound Boots (Nate Robinson), Big Fella (Shaquille O’Neil and legally blind Lights (Reggie Miller).

My favorite scene is when Dax, because of a declined credit card at a gas station, makes a $100 bet with a girls’ high school coach. His team is defeated and his guys pitch in to cover it and fill the van’s tank. Dax learns about their hearts and realizes they are a team.

The film contains some suggestive jokes, a few curse words and a brief scene with nudity. Uncle Drew has strong messages about team work, taking risks to reach your goals and playing for the love of the game. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, as well ad adults. The film opens in theaters nationwide June 29, 2018.  Be sure to check your local theater’s listings.

Jesus Live: A Remarkable Performance That Will Stay in Your Mind Forever

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Recently, I attended Sight & Sound’s production of Jesus Live in Lancaster, PA. For more than 40 years, Sight & Sound Theaters have produced live entertainment with a purpose – bringing stories from the Bible to the stage.

I watched this production with some knowledge of the Bible, as a former practitioner of Christianity and a lay practitioner of Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism for more than 31 years.

We see the streets of Jerusalem and the raging Sea of Galilee, as Jesus befriends outcasts and heals those who are suffering. He presents challenges to “social norms and confronts hypocrisy.” In the two-act production we experience Jesus (Jonathan Blair) who sets sail with fisherman and talks with religious scholars, touching and changing many lives along the way.

I enjoyed watching this bigger than life stage production, partly due to one of the largest LED screens ever used in a theatrical production. It is 113 feet wide, almost 30 feet tall and weighs 12 tons. It is made up of 1,242 individual 500 mm x 500 mm panels with almost 21 million pixels.

One of my favorite scenes is the story of the Prodigal Son. The younger son asks his father for his share of his inheritance, then goes off and is gone for many years. When he returns penniless, hungry and tired, his father rejoices and welcomes him, much to the distain of the older son. It is a reminder that there is always hope for reconciliation. Often our children think they know more than their parents and need to go out to spread their wings. Most parents welcome them back into the fold and help them to go forward.

Jesus Live features 368 costume designs for 882 costumes and 2,400 costume pieces. The seamstresses of Sight & Sound sewed 14,000 snaps by hand and used 7,644 yards of fabric (that’s 4.3 miles). The show features 288 wigs. Jesus Live includes live animals including horses, dogs, pigs, goats, sheep, camels, alpacas and more! All the cast members are excellent singers, dances and actors. The 45 member cast including people from across the country and around the globe. I had the remarkable opportunity to interview many of them which you can see here:

I give Jesus Live 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 as well as adults. This production is playing through January 5, 2019 so check it out. For details, visit https://www.sight-sound.com/ticketing/shows/title

Juanita Seon Leary, KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

 

The Big Apple Circus: Truly Spectacular!

Friday, June 1st, 2018

Acclaimed Ringmaster Ty McFarlan welcomes the crowd and introduces the various acts from the BIG APPLE CIRCUS including 10-time world record-holding high wire artist Nik Wallenda, award-winning contortionist Elayne Kramer, third-generation animal trainer Jenny Vidbel, and acclaimed acrobats The Anastasini Brothers. World renowned for its one-ring, intimate and artistic style, where no seat is more than 50 feet from the performers, BIG APPLE CIRCUS is passionate about revitalizing the circus for modern-day audiences with unique and astounding human feats, and innovative design and technology. The 40th anniversary season program features the famous seven-person pyramid on the high wire with Nik Wallenda and The Fabulous Wallendas and the daring quadruple somersault attempted on the trapeze by The Flying Tunizianis – the first time in circus history that both legendary feats are performed under the same big top. The record-setting acts are joined by Dandino & Luciana, a dynamic duo who combine speed, acrobatics and daredevil grace on roller-skates; award-winning contortionist Elayne Kramer; master juggler Gamal Garcia; Jan Damm on the Rola Bola; acclaimed Risley acrobats The Anastasini Brothers (who broke the World Record for Most Flips on November 9, 2017); Ringmaster Ty McFarlan; hilarious clowns Skip & Mr. Joel; and circus trainer & presenter Jenny Vidbel, who performs in the ring with 16 horses and ponies, as well as six rescue dogs. KIDS FIRST! Juror, Juanita L. comments, “I was very surprised and truly enjoyed every minute of it.” See her full review below.

The Big Apple Circus
Juanita L., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

On Monday, May 28, 2018 I attended The Bi Apple Circus. I was very surprised and truly enjoyed every minute of it.

The Big Apple Circus completely changed my feelings about circuses. My early memories of the circus included smelly dirty elephants, weird people and animals. Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Big Apple Circus, promises an afternoon or evening of thrills and laughs – and a lifetime of memories!

I love the historical background of this circus. After traveling in Europe, Paul Binder and Michael Christensen returned to New York City and founded the Big Apple Circus in 1977. It began as alternative to the glitz and spectacle of the traditional American three ring circus. Big Apple Circus has epitomized the intimacy and artistry associated with the European one ring circus.

As part of this year’s celebration, Big Apple Circus presents 10 time World Record Holder, Nik Wallenda. Hailed as “The King of The High Wire” and the “Greatest Daredevil of Our Generation.” Nik and the Fabulous Wallendas amaze the audience with dare-devil feats never before seen under the Big Apple Circus Big top.

There are so many thrilling and amazing acts and talented performers, I don’t know where to begin. My favorites include Ty McFarlan, the Ring Master and the two clowns that interact and have fun with audience members. The daring seven person pyramid on the high wire by Nik Wallenda and The Fabulous Wallendas is breathtaking.

I recommend The Big Apple Circus for ages 4 to 18 as well as adults and give it 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Juanita S. L.

For more information on the BIG APPLE CIRCUS, its schedule and for tickets, please visit bigapplecircus.com.

 

 

 

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