Celebrate Mother’s Day with a Mamma Mia Sing-Along!!

Posted on May 9, 2018 at 3:10 pm

You know what moms love?  Well, breakfast in bed, of course, and hand-made cards and poems, but after that, they love “Mamma Mia!”  And there are free screenings all across the country this Sunday for Mother’s Day!

Copyright Universal 2018

In anticipation of its upcoming Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Universal Pictures today announced that free sing-along screenings of the blockbuster musical comedy Mamma Mia! will be available on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13, at 25 theater locations across the U.S. and Canada. Each guest who requests a ticket the day of the screening—at a participating location—will be given one free admission to the 10:00 a.m. showing, up to theater capacity.

Free tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and may only be picked up at the theater box office starting at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 13. This offer is valid for the 10:00 a.m. showing of Mamma Mia! The Movie on May 13, at participating locations only.

For more information and a list of theaters offering the special screenings, please visit www.MammasDaySingAlong.com

And get ready for a prequel/sequel, coming July 20, 2018!

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Based on a play Musical

Mamma Mia!

Posted on December 16, 2008 at 8:00 am

mamma mia.jpg

Go ahead, admit it. We won’t judge you. You, in the car, with the Ramones t-shirt, singing along to “Fernando” when it comes on the radio. And you, in the shower, singing “Dancing Queen” into the shampoo bottle. You, over there, pretending you don’t have the Greatest Hits CD on your shelf. Say it loud. You’re a fan. You can’t resist ABBA. Like the Borg, resistance is futile. Those songs are not just stuck in your head; they are a part of your DNA. Yes, ABBA’s platform-shod, glitter and spandex-wearing, unforgettable (even when you want to) music may be ear candy but it is high quality ear candy and I dare you not to sing along and smile about it.

ABBA (the name comes from the first letters in the first names of its four members) was one of the top pop groups in the world from 1972-1982 with sales of almost 400 million records (as we used to call them back then). In April of 1999 the musical “Mamma Mia!” opened in London and like the songs that inspired it, it quickly became an international phenomenon. It had just enough of a story to link the songs together as something more than a revue or what today is called a “jukebox musical.” And now, more than a quarter century since their last hit song, the movie version of the musical has been released or rather unleashed, powerful enough to make the most hard-hearted indie rock absolutist clap along.

ABBA songs are like helium balloons — lighter than air but irresistible fun. This musical featuring the songs of the uber-pop Swedish group who at one point exceeded Volvo as the greatest revenue-producing enterprise in the country is as bubbly as a glass of champagne and almost as intoxicating.

Donna (Meryl Streep, enjoying herself enormously) is a one-time girl-group singer who now runs a ramshackle resort in Greece. Her daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried of HBO’s “Big Love”) is about to get married. And without telling her mother she has invited three men she has never met who could be her father: businessman Sam (Pierce Brosnan), author/sailor Bill (Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd), and decidedly un-spontaneous banker Harry (Colin Firth). They arrive just as the other alumnae from Donna’s group show up, multi-married and very well-preserved Tanya (Christine Baranski) and best-selling cookbook author Rosie (Julie Walters). Various slamming-door near-misses, some combustible confrontations, and many musical numbers later, everyone is ready for the platform-shoes and spangled bell-bottoms encore.

The light-weight story line is just enough to provide momentum between the songs but it gives them some surprising heft as well. At times it seems a little stunt-ish and there were some hoots from the audience for the opening notes of songs that we thought we knew too well. But we end up hearing them differently separated from the crystalline harmonies of Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad and the lyrics fit surprisingly well into the storyline. But what adds real resonance is the way they are performed. Director Phyllida Lloyd cast actors in the roles. Their singing may not be perfect but they deliver the songs with gusto and sincerity. A couple of times there were snorts from the audience at recognizing the opening bars of a song they’d heard a hundred times, thinking it had been cheesily shoehorned into the plot. But within the first eight bars it seemed as though the song had been written for just that moment, especially Streep’s “Winner Takes it All.”

But the highlight of the movie is the dance numbers which make great use of the geographic and narrative settings. Broadway veteran Baranski does a fabulous job with “Does Your Mother Know” and Walters is charming with “Take a Chance on Me.” A literal Greek chorus joins in, at one point with swimming flippers. Take a chance on this one; in no time you’ll be a dancing queen.

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Musical Romance

Quotes of the Week: Dark Knight and Mamma Mia

Posted on July 23, 2008 at 8:00 am

The Dark Knight has inspired some very thoughtful reviews. Anonymous DC critic “J.J.” wrote that the film moved him to tears:
Perhaps it’s because the film has characters I grew to care about, scenes that soaked my heart in adrenaline and sociological themes that range from the unsettling to the horrifying. This movie moves beyond good and evil and enters into our world, which is much more complicated than comic books. This is the first film-with-terrorism-metaphor that our age of terrorism deserves. And it will stop your heart.
His description of Heath Ledger’s performance is one of the most astute I’ve seen:

Everything you hear about Heath Ledger is true. And we should’ve expected it. He was the best actor of his generation, and his ability to mash depravity and hilarity into something compulsively watchable…The Joker has never made more sense than he does here…As played by Ledger and as written by the Nolans, the Joker is walking anarchy, cackling sadism, crime for the sake of crime. He is a terrorist without a god to kill for. His actions are beyond random; they are perpetrated not in the name of something but solely for the consequences. And he is capable of understanding (and exploiting) our suppressed desires for this type of anarchy. Ledger makes you root for him, then, inexplicably, makes you feel utterly depraved for doing so.

The moment I saw Mamma Mia! I knew critics would not be able to resist one of my least favorite contemporary terms: “cougar,” used to describe a sexually active woman over 40, usually portrayed as desperate, predatory, and interested in much younger men.
Tanya in the movie, as portrayed by Christine Baranski, is a sexually active woman over 40, but she is far from desperate or predatory and has an entire musical number about resisting the advances of younger men. And yet, she was called a “cougar” by a number of critics including Bill Gibron of Pop Matters and Mike Russell of the Oregonian (who did not like the movie), James Ward of the Visalia Times-Delta (who did), and Chris Hewitt of the Twin Cities’ Pioneer Press (who liked it a lot, and who includes a nice assessment of ABBA’s tunes and lyrics).
If you must, use ABBA lyrics in your headlines. “Take a chance on this movie.” “This winner doesn’t take it all.” But let’s retire the word “cougar,” all right?

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Commentary Quote of the Week
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