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News Article

September 05, 2014
Sometimes the simplest way to tell the story is best

"This is not Sunday School!"
That's one of the tag lines Dorsey McPhee had been using to promote his stage play, "Jesus vs. Satan: A One Man Show".
It's also the understatement of the year.
The C-rated, one-night-only presentation played at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts on Saturday, August 30. As part of "Theatre of the Gospel" from McPhee's From The Pond Productions, the production features 11 different scenes -- including "The Baptism of Jesus", "The Beheading of John the Baptist", "Satan Wants All", and "The Boil Grouper Breakfast Galilee Beach" -- examining the period of Jesus' ministry up to and after his resurrection.
It's also said to be a "religion comedy drama". That description alone might result in some head scratching, especially since comedy is rarely used to convey this portion of the "greatest story ever told". If it helps, think of it as a church revival led by the most vibrant and expressive pastor ever.
Indisputably, McPhee delivers one heck of a performance. He is a frenetic ball of energy, bounding incessantly back and forth on the stage, delivering his lines with unfathomable exuberance. One can only imagine his complete exhaustion after the two-and-a-half-hour performance.
Even more mind-blowing though, is how McPhee manages to keep straight in his mind the various parts of the production. In these 11 scenes, he plays seemingly dozens of characters (his own official count puts the number close to 30).
Those characters include Jesus and Satan, of course, but also Mary Magdalene, Peter, John The Baptist, King Herod, and Herodias (the king's brother's wife, whom he takes as his own), and her daughter. He refers to one of those two ladies as the "jungaless" as together they use a seductive dance routine to demand John's head on a platter from Herod.
Speaking of dance routines, McPhee also dances -- and often. He vividly demonstrates that very routine, all while Soca star Alison Hinds' "Roll it Gal" plays loudly!
Clearly, there's a lot going on here. And at many times, there's too much. One of the main challenges is that these many characters are having full-fledged conversations with each other. For example, McPhee, as Jesus, will speak and McPhee, as Satan, will reply. Some characters are also speaking in Bahamian vernacular, and using modern slang and sometimes not-so-modern slang.
With all the voices and the dancing, and with McPhee taking on the persona of the late American recording artist James Brown, and most perplexingly, the late Bahamian painter and architect Jackson Burnside, it's as if we are watching someone in a highly altered state -- what movies have led us to believe happens to someone with multiple personalities. Anyone who's ever watched the late Robin Williams doing stand-up might get the picture.
However, that endless parade of voices, screeches, screams and shrieks makes the salty language and swear words seem like child's play. As such, I can't recall whether McPhee's Jesus actually curses, but his Satan certainly has a potty mouth.
Before the launch of the play last month, McPhee told The Nassau Guardian that he is hoping for those "who would have never ventured into a church, to come and see the story". And truthfully, those unfamiliar with the Bible might be inspired to learn more about the good book.
Unfortunately, the one-night showing attracted quite a number of priests, pastors and church-folk. So, McPhee was essentially "preaching to the choir". (McPhee said based on the response, he may do encore performances.)
While "Jesus vs. Satan" avoids any unusual interpretation or unique perspectives on these Gospel stories, and while the method of presenting these stories can be jarring and abrasive, McPhee must nonetheless be commended and encouraged for his efforts.
But like Sunday School, sometimes the simpler the story, the better.
Dwight Strachan stepped out of the movie theater this week and into the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts for his review.
o Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of " Morning Blend" on Guardian Radio. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email dwight@nasguard.com and follow him on twitter @morningblend969

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News Article

November 10, 2012
Twenty Questions

What's been your most inspirational moment in the last five years?

This is ongoing; I don't think the general public understands how easy it sometimes is to abandon an artwork, not abandon art, that's something else entirely, but to scrap a work that's not going well. My favorite thing teaching at The College of The Bahamas is when students invest themselves in their work and follow through to the end with a project. There has been a lot of that in the past two years and I find that really motivational. These guys don't realize it but the best of them really keep me honest.

What's your least favorite piece of artwork?

It's always the last thing I finished the day after I've finished it.

What's your favorite period of art history?

I have two answers here. One, is the cave paintings of the Paleolithic. I just think they are the best examples of man's innate urge for visual expression. It is easy to get distracted by the business of contemporary art but the wall paintings from Lascaux, Altimira and others which date back 20,000 years and more come from a very human urge for expression. That need kids have to put pigment on their hands then to put it on a surface ties right back to early man and I think that is wonderful.
Two, is the art being produced now. There is a lot of foolishness in contemporary art but there has never been a point in art history with so much opportunity for interdisciplinary practice and such cross-pollination of ideas and aesthetics. I think that too is wonderful.

What are your top 5 movies of all time?

In no order,

1. The first 21 minutes of "Inglourious Basterds", the whole movie's great, but the first chapter is amazing.
2. "Let The Right One In", the original Swedish version, it's such an odd love story.
3. "Stranger Than Fiction", the protagonist is a watch, amazing!
4. "Barton Fink" I'm still trying to decipher the symbolism behind the slowly peeling wallpaper.
5. "Rebecca". This is Hitchcock's best, I've seen it 20 times.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee in the morning, tea in the evening... I'm very colonial that way.

What book are you reading now?

"The Master of Petersburg" by J. M. Coetzee. This is the third time for me, that book is a masterpiece, Coetzee distills all these epic human experiences into simple human interactions. Also, I just finished Haruki Murakami's "The Wind Up Bird Chronicle", it's very surreal but really good. It's like someone telling you about a really long dream they had and it actually being interesting.

What project are you working on now?

I'm putting the finishing touches on my entry for the NE6 at the National Art Gallery; that entire show I think is going to be very exciting. I'm watching other people install their work as well and most artists are really pushing themselves and their work in interesting ways.

What's the last show that surprised you?

This is a tie. I taught an Intermediate Drawing class at The College of The Bahamas for the first time at the beginning of the year and asked them to put together an exhibition as their final critique, and the show, which was called 360, really blew my mind. This ties in directly with question 1.

Saxons, One Family, Valley Boys or Roots?

I like the scrap groups.

If you had to be stranded on one Family Island which one would it be?

Crooked Island. Mosquitos as big as your head but that is some of the bluest water I've ever seen... sorry Exuma.

What's the most memorable artwork you've ever seen?

About 10 years ago I saw this work, which was simply a world map crumpled into a ball sitting on a black wooden table. I don't remember the artist or the title and it's not even my favorite artwork but it really left an impression on me. It's hard to describe but by simply crushing the world map, it realigned geographical boundaries and created a new planet of sorts and the black wooden table became a new universe. The gesture was as simple as you can imagine and easily dismissed at first glance but when you got it, the work was oddly affecting.

Which artist do you have a secret crush on?

Kiki Smith. Witches are hot!

If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be?

Tom Waits. I listen a lot to him in the studio. His music is so polar, I would just be interested to see if he'd eat meat straight from a bone with his hands or order a spinach salad instead.

Who do you think is the most important Bahamian in the country's history?

A really tough question and I don't have an answer, I think the people who do all the heavy lifting in this country are the ones we'll never hear about.

Who is your favorite living artist?

Kendall Hanna, he's in his mid-seventies, he's wrestled with his share of demons but his work has never suffered as far as I can tell. That's incredible to me. A few weeks ago he was reading an art magazine and I jokingly asked him if he was doing research and he looks down at me and with a straight face says, "It's like Napoleon said 'you can't win a war on a empty stomach'," and goes back to his reading. Who quotes Napoleon first thing in the morning?

Sunrise or Sunset?

Sunrises. I'm not an early bird so I see less of these.

What role does the artist have in society?

To be honest.

What's your most embarrassing moment?

I'm super awkward so I block these out, otherwise I'd get nothing done.

What wouldn't you do without?

I'm really lucky to have three or four really good friends who have become my family. Having people you count on, really count on, is a gift.

What's your definition of beauty?

My wife getting dressed in the morning.

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News Article

November 12, 2012
The practice of public decency

Dear Editor,

Some years ago, I worked as marketing coordinator for a group of companies that had the opportunity to sponsor the (then) annual speedboat race around Paradise Island. By every definition, this was a family event. If it was a movie, it was expected to have a "G" rating. And yes, children were indeed there to enjoy the roar of the engines and the thrill of the race. But happenings at that event turned it into something else.
First there were the Budweiser girls who advertised much more than beer in itsy bitsy, teeny weeny bikinis. These girls were clearly chosen for their assets, and not their ability to serve beer.
And not to be outdone, a modeling company decided to parade models up and down a 150-foot "runway" in lingerie. Their manager was beside himself with pride, and probably delighted himself in what he thought to be a stellar moment for his company. I distinctly remember one tall lady who passed in a all-in-one piece that was a little too big for her and bore no elastic in places where it should. Those of us who stood on the side (about 10 feet away) got to see what men should only see on their wedding nights.
And to bring a close to a jaw-dropping day, across from me sat the then reigning beauty queen from one of the popular pageants with a very sheer top that enabled all to see the color of her areolas and the shape and braless splendor to which they were attached (and she never covered up).
Some would say that as a man I would have enjoyed the "show", but all inappropriate pleasures have a price and end in shame.
I subsequently wrote a letter to the Ministry of Tourism - the host of the event - and much to its credit, it apologized for what had transpired and (as promised) ensured that nothing like that happened to following year.
Like many Bahamians, I watched the concert for Sir Sidney Poitier with interest and a sense of pride. The event was going well until a young lady, touted to be a sensational, up-and-coming artist, came on stage with her stomach out, singing a song that is most likely not in the genre of songs that Sir Sidney would appreciate while putting on dance moves that, on occasion, bordered on the suggestive.
There are lovely artists, like the lovely and sultry Kim Welcome, who could have rendered Sir Sidney a performance befitting his age, tastes and accomplishments.
There should be a committee of some kind whose members should oversee public events to ensure that there is decency and sensitivity. No one should be allowed to put on a public performance until it is seen and approved. We seem to have a problem sometimes knowing what is appropriate, and we desperately need to get back to the values that made our communities great and good.

- Marcellus Bassett

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News Article

October 24, 2012
Brewery has licence to boost sales

Commonwealth Brewery Limited (CBB) is hoping to boost revenue with a continued focus on its retail offerings and special promotions.
Perhaps the most noteworthy marketing effort has been Heineken's alliance with the James Bond franchise. In recent months, CBB has poured considerable funds and resources into marketing, branding and film screenings at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in anticipation of the latest Bond installment next month.
"The entire organization is pretty geared up and pushing momentum to the new James Bond movie. A lot of money on a global level has been invested and we'll play our role in that," according to Nico Pinotsis, president and managing director at CBB.
Bolstering its brands and retail offerings continues to be a major focus for the BISX-listed company.
According to its second quarter results, revenue improved 5.5 percent compared to the same period last year. Year-on-year revenue was up 7.4 percent.
Pinotsis declined to comment on the company's upcoming third quarter results. However, he told Guardian Business that CBB "is working on all retail aspects", including the closing and reopening of stores to determine the best spots for business.
In fact, Guardian Business can reveal that CBB is hoping to establish a new retail outlet at Lynden Pindling International Airport and take advantage of the $409 million redevelopment.
Also on the agenda are the products in the stores. Pinotsis said CBB is reevaluating its wine portfolio in particular, determining what is selling and what isn't to "get that business going".
"We have some ideas on that and in due course these ideas will be translated to the public," he added. "We need to work on our brands and look at our wine portfolio, and of course the overall retail experience."
The stores are also bringing in new in-store promotions related to the James Bond movie, including the chance to win watches and other prizes.
CBB continues to push its other brands, such as Kalik, by sponsoring a number of local events. Pinotsis noted that the brewery is now a sponsor of nearly every regatta in the country.
That fact has been a point of contention in recent months. Jimmy Sands, the owner of Bahamian Brewery & Beverage Company, told Guardian Business that CBB was using unfair business practices in its quest for market share. A so-called "brewery war" has emerged in terms of gaining client loyalty through sponsorships.
Sands has indeed emerged as a credible competitor through the launch of new products and the opening of new retail outlets in New Providence and beyond.
Meanwhile, managing operating expenses has remained an ongoing challenge for CBB.
In the second quarter, this segment increased 3.2 percent. Raw materials, consumables and services rose 3.5 percent. Personnel costs also went up from salary increases.
"We work continuously on operating expenses," Pinotsis told Guardian Business. "We look at where we can save money, but we are cautious not to cut too far to the bone. It's about finding balance between managing your costs and operating efficiently."
CBB shareholders have enjoyed a dividend yield of 6.53 percent of late, which is higher than the average rate on BISX of 4.10 percent. CBB's strong international backing and distribution rights in the country should make it a good play for Bahamian investors going forward.

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News Article

November 24, 2012
Twenty Questions

1. What's been your most inspirational moment in the last five years?
My first seven-day silent Vipassana retreat, and of course, finding love.

2. What's your least favorite piece of artwork?
I am not such a fan of extremely conceptual work, particularly if it's too cerebral and needing to explain itself.

I would rather be moved than led to think.

3. What's your favorite period of art history?
I love abstract expressionism.

4. What are your top 5 movies of all time?
Gosh this is tough.
The Sound of Music (I've watched it the most in my life),
Trainspotting (It was so fresh and unique),
City of God (Just powerful!),
Rabbit-proof Fence (Really touched me),
Hunger (Such an incredible directing debut).

5. Coffee or tea?
Coffee.

6. What book are you reading now?
Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha.

7. What project are you working on now?
There are two narrative feature films that I have written and want to produce in the next two years - "Epiphany", a Bahamian drama about a Greek Bahamian family and an illegal Cuban immigrant, and "My Life in a Dojo", a NY slice of life dramady.

8. What's the last show that surprised you?
NE6 was amazing (but in truth, I knew it would be)!!!

9. Saxons, One Family, Valley Boys or Roots?
One Family for costumes, and maybe Saxons for music, though I love all Junkanoo!

10. If you had to be stranded on one Family Island which one would it be?
At this moment, Eleuthera.

11. What's the most memorable artwork you've ever seen?
Most recently, "God's Bride" by Roberta Stoddard.

12. Which artist do you have a secret crush on?
Hmmm...either Frida Kahlo or John Beadle...?

13. If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be?
President Obama.

14. Who do you think is the most important Bahamian in the country's history?
Well for me, my mother, Irene Klonaris Govan, who is amazing, but for the country I would have to say, Sir Lynden O Pindling.

15. Who is your favorite living artist?
That's so tough...I love Lavar Munroe's work.

I think he's incredibly talented, as is Robberta Stoddard, a Jamaican artist I've recently come to know.

16. Sunrise or Sunset?

If I had to say which I love the most, it would be sunrise...perhaps because it's more special.

I see far more sunsets these days.

17. What role does the artist have in society?

I believe our work is a reflection. The artist makes connections both in the process and with the work itself - we illuminate, challenge, evoke feeling, inspire, generate empathy and a deeper understanding of our nature, our humanity, all of which can be deeply healing and ultimately unifying.

18. What's your most embarrassing moment?

I peed my pants at Wong's Plaza wearing my St. Andrew's high school uniform. My cousin made me laugh so hard it just happened. It was awful.

19. What wouldn't you do without?

At a high level... my partner, who is one of the best things to happen to me, and my friendship with my mother, who is my rock.
On a practical level - I'm in a long distance relationship and so when the Internet/Skype goes down I really feel it - that and my toothbrush.

20. What's your definition of beauty?

Truth. Vulnerability. Acceptance. Grace -- Especially amidst adversity and struggle.

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News Article

December 15, 2012
Twenty Questions

1. What's been your most inspirational moment in the last five years?
Becoming a self-employed artist, designer and photographer, there's nothing like the freedom of being your own boss.

2. What's your least favorite piece of artwork?
It's already been destroyed.

3. What's your favorite period of art history?
How can I pick just one?

4. What are your top 5 movies of all time?
o Roman Holiday
o To Kill A Mocking Bird
o Silence Like Glass
o Pan's Labyrinth
o Little Miss Sunshine

5. Coffee or tea?
Coffee in the mornings, tea in the afternoons.

6. What book are you reading now?
"Naked" by David Sedaris.

7. What project are you working on now?
Currently editing photographs for three weddings, assembling various adverts for Bahama Hand Prints, developing ideas and starting new paintings for a show Dylan and I are having next March, beginning the flamingo sculpture for the airport and working on one commissioned painting. I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

8. What's the last show that surprised you?
"NE6: Kingdom Come". Everyone really stepped up to the plate on this one and I felt that as a whole the exhibition was truly exceptional. It's encouraging to see so many Bahamian artists producing great work.

9. Saxons, One Family, Valley Boys or Roots?
Junkanoo full stop.

10. If you had to be stranded on one Family Island, which one would it be?
Eleuthera.

11. What's the most memorable artwork you've ever seen?
In truth I didn't see it in person but recently watched a documentary about artist, Marina Abramovic and her performance retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 2010, entitled "The Artist is Present". Such a beautiful film and a very touching performance, wish I could have gone to see her.

12. Which artist do you have a secret crush on?
Dylan Rapillard, but don't tell him.

13. If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be?
My grandparents.

14. Who do you think is the most important Bahamian in the country's history?
Sidney Poitier.

15. Who is your favorite living artist?
Kendal Hanna.

16. Sunrise or Sunset?
Sunset.

17. What role does the artist have in society?
Creating artwork that evokes a genuine emotion or response from the viewer - good, bad or ugly.

18. What's your most embarrassing moment?
When I was four years old, I went to the grocery store with my mother, the elastic in my underwear was shot and I was wearing a dress. Although mummy insisted I just take them off, I insisted on keeping them on. As I walked down every aisle of the store, they kept falling to my ankles, my older sister and friend behind me laughing hysterically all the while.

19. What wouldn't you do without?
Creativity.

20. What's your definition of beauty?
Being yourself.

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News Article

March 28, 2014
There's something for everyone with 'Muppets Most Wanted'

Muppets Most Wanted (Rated B)
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Ty Burrell
Genre: Musical Comedy
Dwight's Rating: 3 stars
Finally! The arrival of "Muppets Most Wanted" in theaters last Friday should mean that what has seemed like the longest and most widespread promotional campaign for a single movie in recent memory is hopefully coming to an end.
Since late last year, through the Super Bowl, and into the film's opening weekend, television viewers have been bombarded with heavy direct promotion for the movie. Various Muppets have been popping up -- literally -- on almost every daytime and late night talk show. Then there's been months of aggressive and often bizarre cross-promotion. We've seen Muppets proclaiming the "no room for boring" nature of a new model of SUV. Even stranger, we've had Muppets selling the virtues of tea, and how tea can make people less "animal-like". Muppets selling tea! For goodness sake!
Usually, this much promotion before a release augurs ill for the actual movie. It would either be just plain awful, or it would simply collapse under the weight of the hype. Thankfully, "Muppets Most Wanted" falls into neither category, and is actually even better than I could have ever expected.
This sequel represents a vast improvement from the previous Muppet outing, 2011's "The Muppets". While that movie was critically acclaimed, for the most part, and was a commercial success -- becoming the highest-grossing movie in the Muppet film franchise to date -- I actually thought it was a bit too sappy and a bit dull. The new release, which had a less than stellar box-office opening weekend performance in the United States, is a lot edgier.
"Muppets Most Wanted" picks up where "The Muppets" leaves off. Through a series of manipulations, the gang is led to embark on a global tour, mainly across Europe. But they unwittingly find themselves entangled in an international crime caper, headed by the evil Russian frog Constantine, who as we're frequently reminded is "the world's number one criminal". He also happens to be a dead ringer for Kermit The Frog.
With that, there is non-stop hilarity. Constantine, who makes the dreaded cane toads terrorizing western New Providence last year seem like a joke, steals the show. His attempts at masking his Russian accent as he impersonates Kermit are classic. The musical numbers are intentionally cheesy, but are fresh and funny, and some even have catchy melodies.
Then there are the human stars. Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey appear to be having a ball, and are a pleasure to watch. Along with Ty Burrell from TV's "Modern Family", there's also a dizzying number of big celebrity cameos, including Celine Dion, Usher and Lady Gaga. It's unbelievable the number of stars apparently willing to play second banana to a Muppet.
That all adds up to fun. And with "Muppets Most Wanted", there's fun in abundance. It is delightfully zany in the tradition of another comedy caper classic, the original "The Pink Panther". While children might be inclined to want to watch it because there are Muppets, it's likely adults will enjoy it even more. In any event, there's something here for everyone.
And about that winding down promotional blitz, enjoy the reprieve while it lasts. You know the drill by now -- it will be just a matter of weeks before the Muppets will once again be invading our lives to promote the movie's release on Blu-ray and DVD.
o Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of " Morning Blend" on Guardian Radio. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email dwight@nasguard.com and follow him on twitter @morningblend969.

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News Article

August 30, 2010
Committed to Deception

By JEFFARAH GIBSON

Tribune Features Writer

A FEW years ago I watched a seemingly romantic love story on Lifetime. My memory of the movie is a bit blurred, however I do recall the movie being centered around lies, deception, and betrayal.

In the movie a woman falls in love with a man who seemed to be the "perfect" gentleman. He was smoother than the sensual timbre of jazz. He was wealthy, he had charisma, he was sensitive, not to mention attractive and skilled at making the woman believe she was the only one that made his eyes twinkle.

After a few years of dating, the woman found out the man who she fell head over heels for was married. Her heart shattered into a million pieces.

...

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News Article

August 11, 2011
The best and worst Pt. 2

Hey, if you hated last week's movie reviews, I'm sorry, 'cause here's more.  Now, you don't have to agree with me and of course, you may think to yourself, "Why on earth does Dr. Strachan watch movies like these?"  The last question is off limits.  I'm a critic.  I'm an artist.  I'm a scholar.  I must observe the world around me.  And I like movies.  All kinds.
 
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2
A series finale is a hard, hard thing to pull off.  I still remember watching the Return of the Jedi (the end of the Star Wars trilogy) with all this anticipation.  I thought then and still think now that the Empire Strikes Back was the better film.  Same with the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  The second installment was the best.  The last went on for too long.  In the case of Harry Potter, "the last one" was actually two movies and close to six hours.  Sounds crazy but I wish it had been one ridiculously long film.  I would have appreciated it more.  As it stands Part 1 kicks Part 2's butt.  Still, I watched the final episode end with a certain sadness; it was like a phase of my life was over. (Melodramatic, I know).  It wasn't bad; it's just I thought Lord Voldemort was defeated too easily in the final show down with Harry.  Very blah, I thought.  Still, fine cinema.
Grade: B+
 
Cowboys and Aliens
Great cast.  Silly story.  And really cheesy aliens.  I liked the re-writing of history, the fantasy alliance between Indians and Pale Skins against the new colonizers, but I just think Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig deserved a better story.  Craig is awesome as the man with no name by the way (Clint Eastwood would be proud).
Grade: C+
 
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
All the Transformers movies are dumb.  And John Turturro is totally useless in all three.  It's a shame because I actually love him as an actor--he can do many things well, but he can't act the fool convincingly.  He's as bad at being comic relief as Patrick Dempsey is at being a villain.  And why, why does Tyrese even bother showing up?  He's just window dressing in this story about white boys.  But then again, the white boys are just window dressing in a story about amazing living machines.  But, having said that, the Transformers movies are awesome cinematic achievements from a special effects stand point.  And Optimus Prime is just one of the all time coolest cartoon characters.  And Dark of the Moon is certainly better than the second installment.  I just felt that the young woman whose backside fills the first frames sold her soul.  But that's not my problem, is it?
Grade: C+
 
Unknown
Sixty year old Liam Neeson is a fine actor.  Sensitivity and power all at once.  I'll never forget the first time I saw him in a film: Darkman, 1990 - a life time ago.  He's made a shift for Oscar-worthy dramas to action flicks.  Interesting.  I enjoyed Taken, which is a real satisfying revenge/daddy-to-the-rescue movie.  This one was a so-so brain teaser that just loses plausibility the longer it goes on.  Nice try but no prize.
Grade: C+
 
Bridesmaids
Awesome, awesome.  The coolest wedding movie I've seen in a long time.  People behaving badly and being totally shameless about it.  What could be funnier?  Quite a meditation on insecurity, petty jealousy, loneliness and self-absorption.  Made me feel so good about myself (wink wink).
Grade: A-
 
The Adjustment Bureau
What the heck was the point of this movie?  It started off promisingly but it got stupider and stupider with every scene.  Regrettable because the film offers us fascinating characters played by very fine actors (Matt Damon and Emily Blunt).  I just wish the characters had a story and the actors had a script.
Grade: D for dumb.
 
Rango
I saw this film Stateside in one of those AMC palaces with arena seating.  Magnifical!  What animation was meant to be.  The texture.  The detail.  The zest.  The grandeur.  The fun!  And then the Western patron saint of Cowboy flicks makes an appearance, Clint Eastwood: Cue the angelic choir.
Grade: A
 
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
I don't know about you but I'm tired.  Tired of Jack Sparrow.  I can't understand how Jack Sparrow isn't tired of Jack Sparrow.  Please, no more.  And yet, despite myself, despite my best efforts, I was pulled in.  I was rooting for this lousy hero once again.  Arrrrrrrrgh!
Grade: B-
 
Hanna
This is a satisfying film experience on many levels, not the least of which was watching Cate Blanchet rock the house, again.  Great cast.  Epic coming of age story.  Once again the creepy spies of Walmartland are up to no good.  Such a beautiful, confused, innocent, deadly avenging angel is Miss Ronan.  Bourne Identity for teen girls.  Love the climactic battle in the belly of the big bad wolf.
Grade: A-
 
That's it, see ya at Da Show.  Don't be late, you'll miss the trailers.
 
IAN STRACHAN is Associate Professor of English at The College of The Bahamas.

You can write him at strachantalk@gmail.com or visit www.ianstrachan.wordpress.com.

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News Article

May 16, 2013
Sands joins with Freeport casino

The Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company has signed on to be the poster child for the first casino in The Bahamas owned by local investors.
Preliminary design plans show Sands beer, brewed in Grand Bahama, serving as a key corporate brand for the Freeport attraction.
Jimmy Sands, the owner of Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company, would join forces with Lucaya Amusement Limited, a group representing three key investors. The brewery has often promoted itself as the only truly Bahamian brewery in the country.
According to the initial plans, visitors entering the $15 million facility would walk into a Sands logo shop before heading off to their desired destination.
"At this point of entry the glass elevator (reminiscent of a Sands beer bottle) and open stairways to upper levels would be visible," the document stated. "The food court would be to the left on entry from Sea Horse Road and the Bingo parlor would be to the right."
Guardian Business understands that Sands beer could even find its way into the actual name of the attraction.
As exclusively revealed by Guardian Business, Lucaya Amusement Limited has received approval in principle for a casino and entertainment complex in Freeport. Ian Rolle, the president of Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), said that he is "elated" to receive the proposal. A number of conditions have been attached to the attraction's final approval.
The new casino would be around 63,000 square feet and comprise three floors. Executives are aiming to have it open by the time Reef Village comes online in 10 months.
That reopening of more than 500 rooms is expected to provide a much-needed shot in the arm for the Grand Bahama economy. Sunwing, a major Canadian company, is planning regular flights to funnel tourists to the renovated resort.
The proposed facility would indeed provide a new amenity for the island, although it will not include table games such as blackjack, poker and roulette.
A spokesperson for the group told Guardian Business that table games require a much higher capitalization. For example, if you have $10 million worth of chips on the floor, the owners must ensure all of that cash is on-site.
A proposed bingo parlor would consist of traditional bingo cards with bingo blotters. The seating arrangement includes 25 rectangular tables which can each accommodate eight people.
Smaller tables, booth seating and electronic and hand-held machines will also be available, with the entire experience comprising the ground floor and upper mezzanine level.
The spokesperson said that the facility does not want to compete with Atlantis or Baha Mar. Instead, it hopes to provide a more casual alternative with a variety of entertainment options.
Among the amenities is an "international" food court, movie and restaurant attraction, beer garden and night club.
"The third level of the entertainment facility will consist of a night club, dinner and a movie and an open beer garden. There will be an opportunity to eat and watch a movie at the same time and the same room will feature a small stage that can be used for comedy shows, poetry performances and small music performances," the document stated. "The beer garden would be covered in some areas and open in some. There will also be a cocktail lounge with a dance floor."

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