A version of this review appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
“Mulan/Mulan II: Disney 2 Movie Collection”
One of my favorite Disney “princess” movies, “Mulan” makes a triumphant Blu-ray debut in honor of its 15th anniversary.
The House of Mouse’s painterly rendering of the Chinese fable also happens to be one of its loveliest animated films, and the 1998 hand-drawn masterwork blossoms beautifully in high definition.
Unfortunately, the “Disney 2 Movie Collection” also includes the 2004 direct-to-DVD sequel “Mulan II,” and no amount of digital tinkering can turn that amateurish sow’s ear into the proverbial silk purse.
Set in ancient China, during the Han Dynasty, the initial folktale centers on Fa Mulan (voiced by Ming-Na Wen and sung by Lea Salonga), a tomboyish daddy’s girl who longs to bring honor of her family. but feels ill-equipped to do so in the only way sanctioned by society: getting gussied up like a porcelain doll and letting her foul-tempered matchmaker (Miriam Margolyes) hook her up with a husband.
When the Huns breach the Great Wall and invade China, the Emperor (Pat Morita) decrees that every family must send one man off to war. Since Mulan has no brothers, her father Fa Zhou (Soon-Tek Oh), an aging war hero crippled in a previous battle, prepares to return to the fray. Fearing for her father’s life, Mulan steals his armor, horse and sword, chops off her hair and rides off to war disguised as a man. named Ping. She is assigned to the company commanded by Captain Li Shang (BD Wong, with Donny Osmond doing the singing), a fierce and attractive warrior who also wants to honor his father, an esteemed general.
Since impersonating a man happens to be a capitol offense, Fa Zhou prays to his ancestors to watch over his daughter, and they plan to dispatch a mystical animal guardian to aid the adolescent. But the tiny dragon Mushu (Eddie Murphy, ably giving the serious story some needed levity) sneaks into the role and accompanies Mulan on her quest. Comic relief also comes in the form of “the Gang of Three” — Yao (Harvey Fierstein), Ling (Gedde Watanabe) and Chien-Po (Jerry Tondo) — a colorful trio of Mulan’s fellow soldiers.
Although it strictly follows the usual hero’s quest formula, “Mulan” boasts a gorgeous look that mimics Chinese watercolor paintings, a likeable and cheer-worthy heroine and a deliciously vicious villain in Hun leader Shan Yu (Miguel Ferrer).
In contrast, “Mulan II” has a plot with potential — the engaged Mulan and Shang are tasked with escorting the Emperor’s daughters to their arranged wedding in a neighboring kingdom — but the cartoonish animation, boring storytelling and shoddy dialogue doom the cut-rate follow-up. Even worse, Murphy’s “Shrek 2” obligations prevented him from returning for the sequel, but the filmmakers actually gave his a-little-goes-a-long-way character (and replacement voice actor Mark Moseley) a bigger part in the story.
Bonus features: Along with the two movies, The Blu-ray includes 11 deleted scenes, 15 making-of featurettes, six music videos and an audio commentary, but none of them are new, which is a shame since Mulan blazed the trail for future self-reliant princesses like Tiana from 2009’s “The Princess and the Frog,” Rapunzel from 2010’s “Tangled” and Merida from last year’s Oscar-winning feature “Brave.” Even more puzzling, the spacious Blu-ray doesn’t feature all the bonus material from the 2004 “Mulan” DVD release, with the fun and informative “DisneyPedia: Mulan’s World” among the extras inexplicably abandoned.
Today’s featured event:
Hear Austin, Texas-based alt-country band Micky and the Motorcars at 9:30 tonight at the Wormy Dog Saloon, 311 E Sheridan. Doors open at 6 p.m.
For more information, go to www.wormydog.com.
For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
See the works of Oklahoma artists at the 22nd Annual Edge Art Now at Individual Artists of Oklahoma Gallery, 706 W Sheridan. The opening reception is 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, with an after-party set for 9 p.m. to midnight.
The exhibition features artists working in mixed and new media. The show was jurored this year by Kristi Wyatt and Heather Ahtone, both of Norman. Wyatt, a museum preparator at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art and an adjunct professor of printmaking at Oklahoma City University and Ahtone, assistant curator of Native American and non-Western art at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art worked together to select the artists for the show and curate the strongest exhibition possible.
“Edge Art Now is a fantastic show because it brings together so many different artists with different points of view and methods for creating,” IAO Executive Director Kendall Brown said in a news release. “The work that Kristi and Heather chose for the 2013 exhibition is particularly strong and we’re so excited to make the exhibition available to the public.”
Artists picked for Edge Art Now 2013 come from around the state. Selected artists are Lisa Allswede, Paul Bagley, Tracey Bewley, Bryan Boone, Sarah Capshaw, Mike Centola, Sarah Clough Chambers, Leslie Waugh Dallam, Samantha Dillehay, Deborah Eckroat, Michelle Foster, Taylor Gross, Robert Hoggard, Allin KHG, M. Paul Kirby, Paul Medina, J.P. Odgers, Ben Pendleton, Kim Rice, Aaron Robinson, Katy Seals, William Struby, Sherry Ball Schoenfeldt, Sue Moss Sullivan, and Chad Woolbright.
Friday’s opening reception will feature music by DJ Bryan Boone. The after-party will have local band Power Pyramid playing. Admission to both is free. For more information, call 232-6060 or visit www.iaogallery.org.
About the Individual Artists of Oklahoma
Individual Artists of Oklahoma was founded in 1979 by three poets as a grassroots alternative arts organization. IAO is committed to sustaining and encouraging emerging and established artists in all media who are intellectually and aesthetically provocative or experimental in subject matter or technique.
Organizers for Oklahoma City’s premier celebration of mobile culinary creativity hope to strike a chord with music lovers at the 2013 season opener of H&8th Night Market, from 7 p.m. Friday to 2 a.m. Saturday outside Elemental Coffee, 815 N Hudson Ave. in MidTown.
Presented by Fowler Toyota, H&8th Night Market is a monthly, family- and pet-friendly street festival built around a lineup of the city’s top gourmet food trucks on Hudson Avenue, downtown between NW 7 and NW 8 streets. Events will take place on the last Friday of each month through September. There is no cost to attend.
The long-term goal of the event is to build the MidTown community and inspire increased development and vibrant urban living, according to a news release.
Food trucks at the March event will include Heo’s Kitchen; MotoChef; Off The Hook Seafood & More; Pizza 23; Roxy’s Ice Cream Social; Taste of Soul Egg Roll; Urban Agrarian; and Wild Al’s. COOP Ale Works will offer craft beer.
“We were energized by the success of last year’s events, and have made a few adjustments based on feedback from attendees and vendors about how to make it better,” said Laura Massenat, co-owner of Elemental Coffee and H&8th co-founder, in the release. “We’re extremely excited about the amped-up role music will play this season thanks to the support of Jonathan Fowler and our friends at The Spy. We’ll also close down both lanes of Hudson Avenue this time, to increase safety and improve walkability. It’s going to be epic!”
An outdoor stage will be constructed on the south side of Elemental Coffee for a free concert from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. headlined by indie rock band Horse Thief. Opening acts will include Blake Fischer at 7 p.m., Ripple Green at 8 p.m., and Tallows at 9 p.m.
Expertly curated music will also be found indoors, provided by the hosts of popular shows on Oklahoma City-based indie rock radio station The Spy.
Clayton Bahr, host of “Tasting Notes,” a show that pairs music with wine, will play music inside Elemental Coffee from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Jon Mooneyham, host of “Millions Now Listening Will Never Die,” will bring selections from the postpunk genre to ScissorTale Salon from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Katie Wicks, host of “SpyLab,” which focuses on dance music from the late 1970s through present day, will provide the soundtrack for an after-party at Ludivine from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Event sponsors include Fowler Toyota of Norman, The Spy FM, Elemental Coffee, ScissorTale Salon, Ludivine, Oklahoma Farm and Food Alliance, COOP Ale Works, Thomas Productions and Mood Party Rentals.
For more information about H&8th Night Market, including an event map, visit h8thokc.com.
As previously reported, Oklahoma native Kristin Chenoweth paid homage to “The Dames of Broadway — All of ‘Em!!!” during a special “Live from Lincoln Center” concert televised Sunday on PBS. (To see the broadcast of “The Dames of Broadway — All of ‘Em!!!,” click here.)
The Emmy- and Tony-winning singer/actress also appeared Wednesday night on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” where she talked about the terrible accident she suffered last year on the set of “The Good Wife,” her experiences in the hospital, her love life, her adoration of junk food and her loathing of fish. Leno even conned her into trying sea urchin by bribing her with a donation to her charitable foundation, Maddie’s Corner.
She didn’t actually get around to discussing her new film “Family Weekend,” opening Friday in some theaters, although none in Oklahoma City. She plays a self-absorbed businesswoman taken hostage by her frustrated teenaged daughter (Olesya Rulin) in the outrageous comedy, which is available on video on demand.
In addition, Chenoweth will appear on “The Talk” at 1 p.m. Friday on CBS. In this preview, she induces the ladies of “The Talk” to remove their hair extensions:
Oklahoma City-bred actress/singer Megan Mullally recently appeared on “The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” where she chatted about social media, Internet meanies and the perceived dirtiness of the word “Sasquatch.”
Mostly, she and Ferguson talked about Nancy and Beth, her band with fellow actress Stephanie Hunt, and their upcoming gig at the Sasquatch! Music Festival, set for Memorial Day weekend in Washington state.
Country music’s biggest stars and fans are helping to make history by joining the “Sixty For Sixty” movement (#60for60), which celebrates George Strait as he approaches the 60th No. 1 single of his career with “Give It All We Got Tonight,” before his 61st birthday on May 18.
“Sixty For Sixty” first started on Valentine’s Day when fans rallied together on Strait’s Twitter and Facebook pages encouraging local country radio to meet the challenge and spin the record. It appears their efforts have paid off as “Give It All We Got Tonight” is the fastest certified gold single of Strait’s career and currently sits in the top 15 on the country radio charts. It is the first single from his forthcoming album, due for release in late spring.
As a tribute to Strait’s incredible career that includes more No. 1 singles than any artist in history, in any genre, fellow country music artists including Oklahoma native Vince Gill, Little Big Town, Luke Bryan, Josh Turner, Darius Rucker, among others, have joined the “Sixty For Sixty” movement, posting tributes to Strait on YouTube.
By visiting www.sixtyforsixty.com, fans can learn how they can help the movement using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The website will continuously update as more artists, celebrities, and fans join this movement for “King George.”
With more than 68 million albums sold, Strait has influenced and inspired country music, fellow artists and fans for more than 32 years. His current two-year final U.S. tour, “The Cowboy Rides Away Tour,” recently debuted in the No. 1 slot of Pollstar’s “Concert Pulse,” topping Justin Bieber, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Dave Matthews Band, and The Who. So far, the Texas troubadour has sold out 16 venues on the 2013 leg of “The Cowboy Rides Away Tour” within minutes, including record-breaking attendance figures in Knoxville, Tenn., Lexington, Ky., and in upcoming San Antonio and Houston markets.
To read my review of Strait’s Oklahoma City stop on the farewell tour, click here. And check out Gill’s “Sixty For Sixty” video:
The 11-piece Western swing outfit The Time Jumpers, which features Norman-born and Oklahoma City-bred singer/songwriter/musician Vince Gill as well as Texas-born and Liberty-bred fiddler/singer Kenny Sears, is playing a spring show at Choctaw Casino in Durant.
The Grammy-nominated band will play at 8 p.m. May 18 at the Durant casino.
For tickets and information, go to www.choctawcasinos.com/Durant/Entertainment/UpcomingEvents.aspx.
Check out the band’s video to “On The Outskirts Of Town,” which garnered The Time Jumpers a Grammy nomination in the Best Country Duo/Group Performance category:
“Reba: All the Women I Am” exhibit opening Aug. 9 at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Powerful, emotive recording artist. Dynamic, charismatic live performer. Acclaimed Broadway star. Successful film and television actress. With an unparalleled resumé that spans more than four decades and several entertainment genres, Oklahoma native Reba McEntire is country music’s ultimate Renaissance woman.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will pay tribute to this inimitable artist with the cameo exhibition “Reba: All the Women I Am,” which opens in the museum’s East Gallery on Aug. 9. The exhibit will remain on view through June 8, 2014, according to a news release.
“Reba is the most successful female country performer of her generation, and a major influence on many of the female recording artists who have followed her,” said Museum Director Kyle Young in a news release.
“Her achievements and accolades are almost too numerous to mention: She has sold more than 40 million records, charted nearly 60 Top Ten singles and 24 No. 1 hits, and been honored with nearly 50 major awards, including two Grammy awards, the Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year award and the Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year award; she is also one of only four entertainers in history to receive the National Artistic Achievement Award from the U.S. Congress. And, of course, she was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011.
“It’s impossible to overstate Reba’s impact on country music, and her contributions go well beyond recording,” Young continued. “She heightened production values for country concerts, adding elaborate stages, video screens and multiple costume changes. Such innovations are now de rigueur on the tours of top country artists. Furthermore, through her work on Broadway, in film, and as the star of two television comedies, Reba has helped to heighten and expand the profile of country music, lifting all boats in her magnificent wake. We are looking forward to telling the rich, inspiring and always entertaining story of one of country music’s brightest lights.”
Reba Nell McEntire was born in McAlester on March 28, 1955, and grew up in Chockie on a cattle ranch, traveling regularly to rodeos with her father, champion calf roper Clark McEntire. Influenced by their mother, Jackie, who was a talented singer, Reba and her siblings Pake and Susie began performing as the Singing McEntires while in high school.
In 1974, Reba sang the national anthem at the National Rodeo Finals in Oklahoma City; cowboy singer Red Steagall heard her and financed a recording session, which led to her signing with Mercury Records in 1975. Reba began releasing singles in 1976, and two years later she scored her first Top 20 hit with “Three Sheets in the Wind,” a duet with Jacky Ward. In 1980, she notched her first Top 10 single, “(You Lift Me) Up to Heaven,” and garnered her first No. 1s in 1982–83 with “Can’t Even Get the Blues” and “You’re the First Time I’ve Thought About Leaving.”
After a move to MCA Records in 1983, Reba took more control of her career and material and, over the next decade, produced a slew of now-classic country hits including “How Blue,” “Somebody Should Leave,” “Whoever’s in New England,” “The Last One to Know” and many more. A series of groundbreaking headliner tours to support her hits consolidated Reba’s status as a music superstar. During this time, music videos became an important vehicle for reaching fans; Reba’s clip for “Whoever’s in New England” sparked an interest in acting, and in 1990 she appeared in her first film, Tremors. She went on to appear in 10 more films, to date.
In March 1991, Reba suffered a personal tragedy when seven members of her band, her road manager, and the pilot and co-pilot of a chartered private jet were killed in a plane crash. Reba took an extended break from touring and recorded the album For My Broken Heart. The record, which contained a handful of hits, including the title song, “Is There Life Out There” and “The Greatest Man I Never Knew,” became one of her best sellers.
Throughout the 1990s, Reba continued her chart success: Her many hits during the decade include “The Heart Won’t Lie” (with Vince Gill), “Does He Love You” (with Linda Davis) and “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.”
In January 2001, Reba stepped into the title role of the Broadway musical “Annie Get Your Gun.” Her bravura portrayal garnered universal critical acclaim, with the New York Times hailing the performance as “without qualification the best performance by an actress in a musical comedy this season.” Fans of musical theater agreed, as the show was sold out through most of Reba’s five-month run.
From 2001 to 2007, Reba starred in her own hit comedy series, “Reba.” When the show ended, she refocused her efforts on touring and recording; in 2008, she left MCA Records and signed with Valory Music Group, a subsidiary of Big Machine Records. Her first album for the label, “Keep on Loving You,” was released in August 2009; it debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard country chart and the all-genre Billboard 200 album chart and featured the No. 1 single “Consider Me Gone.”
A savvy businesswoman, in 1988 Reba founded Starstruck Entertainment, a multi-dimensional corporation encompassing booking, management, music publishing, a recording studio and transportation services. In 1989, she married her manager, Narvel Blackstock; he continues to oversee Starstruck’s many enterprises.
Although Reba was awarded country music’s highest honor in 2011 with her election to the Country Music Hall of Fame, her career shows no signs of slowing down: She is currently starring in the ABC comedy “Malibu Country,” and her most recent album, “All the Women I Am,” spawned the No. 1 hit “Turn on the Radio.”
“Reba: All the Women I Am” will be accompanied by an ongoing series of programs throughout the exhibit’s duration.
For more information, go to http://countrymusichalloffame.org.
Oklahoman Blake Shelton and fellow country music superstar Luke Bryan, who are co-hosting the upcoming Academy of Country Music Awards, will make appearances on “The Talk” to count down to the show.
“The Talk,” network television’s fastest-growing daytime talk show, airs from 1 to 2 p.m. weekdays on CBS.
On Wednesday, Shelton will perform live with his band and join the ladies at the table to preview this year’s awards show. The Tishomingo resident is co-hosting the ACM Awards for the third year and is competing against his wife, Miranda Lambert, and co-host for the Entertainer of the Year title. Shelton also is nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year with Lambert for co-writing her emotional hit “Over You.”
As previously reported, Shelton also will receive the off-camera the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award, which acknowledges unprecedented, unique and outstanding individual achievement in country music, for his work on NBC’s hit reality show “The Voice.” He will receive the special award at the seventh annual ACM Honors event on Sept. 10 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
Bryan will visit “The Talk” and preview the ACM Awards next Thursday, April 4. Bryan will co-host the ACM Awards telecast for the first time and is one of the fastest-rising stars in country music. He is nominated for four awards, including Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year.
On both days, “The Talk” will give away a pair of tickets to the Awards show to one lucky audience member.
The 48th Annual ACM Awards, honoring country music’s best and introducing the industry’s hottest emerging talent, will be broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas from 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday, April 7 on CBS.