Posts Tagged ‘#1’

“Crazy Rich Asians” Sparkles – Fascinating & Irresistible

Once the movie trailer debuted, I wrote, “I think ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ could be the new ‘Pretty Woman’!  Well, without Julia Roberts and turning tricks in Los Angeles!”

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After seeing the movie, I know once it arrives on DVD, it’ll be my go-to love story and my VHS copy of “Pretty Woman” will gather dust!

And, from the overwhelming love shown in American theaters, I’m not alone.

It was the box office champion in its first weekend bringing in $26.5 million ($35.3 million over five days)!

UPDATE:  #1 for the second weekend with $25 million in the US ($76.8 million in the US, so far)!

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As Nick Young (Henry Golding) and his girlfriend, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), enjoy dessert in New York City, he asks her to join him on a trip back home in Singapore where he’s going to be the “best man” in his best friend’s wedding.

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It’ll also give Rachel a chance to meet his family.

Unbeknownst to them, a simple “selfie” makes its way around the world and in just moments, “Crazy Rich Asians” is set into motion.

Once Rachel learns that they’re flying very posh in first class, she asks if his family is rich and he says they’re “comfortable”.  Rachel responds, “that is exactly what a super rich person would say”.

In Singapore, they meet the bride and groom and spend a fantastic evening drinking and eating street food.  The next day, Rachel visits her roommate from college, Goh Peik Lin (Awkwafina).

While her friend’s family is rich, they inform her that Nick’s family are very, very wealthy (well, “crazy rich”).

When Peik Lin drops Rachel off to meet Nick’s family, it’s not an intimate setting, it’s a grand party — one of many in the movie.

The scene when Nick introduces Rachel to his mother, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh), in a hectic kitchen where lavish food is being prepped, the stoves may have been hot and sizzling, but the reception is icy and sets the tone for the movie!

It’s easy to deduce that money is the reason for Eleanor’s coolness to Rachel, but there’s much more.  And, those revelations will educate many about the complexity of Asian culture.

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The movie is gorgeously shot and the cast is phenomenal.

It has romance, drama (not only with Nick’s mother), and humor, mostly supplied by actress/rapper Awkwafina.

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This is one of the funniest scenes in the movie.

The “playing chicken” punchline doesn’t end when we move on to the next scene and the comment about Rachel being an “unrefined banana” is very important to the storyline!

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There’s one character not billed in the credits that’s vital to success of the movie — decadence!

It’s important to the movie’s charm and escapism — that mansion, the food, the parties, the wedding, and Singapore!

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It takes you away and allows you to forget about your problems and the world’s problems and it lets you dream.

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The budget for “Crazy Rich Asians” is very modest at $30 million (which it surpassed in its opening weekend in the U.S. alone), but there’s much more than that riding on it.

It’s time for executives to realize that movies don’t need white faces to make money.  But, then again, it’s hard for that to sink in when most of ones controlling the industry and making the decisions are older, white men!

Sadly, when talks got underway to bring Kevin Kwan’s bestselling book to the big screen, Hollywood tried to “whitewash” it!

If “whitewashing” “Crazy Rich Asians” had come to fruition, look at the stunning beauty we might have missed out on!

In addition to Golding, there’s Pierre Png, Chris Pang, and Harry Shum, Jr.!

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Along with Wu, there were other stunning beauties like Gemma Chan, Victoria Loke, and Jing Lusi.

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And, of course, there’s the ageless and gorgeous Michelle Yeoh!

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Jon M. Chu has directed a classic romantic comedy — a masterpiece of not only love, but culture.

“Crazy Rich Asians” is a must-see!

As the camera zoomed out from the final scene at the Marina Bay Sands, it took my breath away — it’s magical!

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Okay, that wasn’t the only thing that took my breath away.  Thanks Pierre Png!

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Walking out of the theater, I couldn’t decide what to do first, read Kwan’s book or make reservations for a trip to Singapore.

GRADE:  A

Anthony

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Does Josh Groban’s “All That Echoes” Illuminate?

I saw operatic singer/songwriter Josh Groban  in concert when he played in Moline, Illinois, in May 2011.  Now that he’s back with a brand new album, “All That Echoes”, I hope that when the concert dates to promote the album are announced, he plays here again!

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Groban has sold more than 17 million albums in the United States since his debut just over a decade ago.  While he’s enjoyed much success with his first five albums, his biggest Hot 100 song, “The Prayer”, a duet with Celine Dion, only peaked at #70 in 2008.

However, the soon-to-be 32-year-old crooner (his birthday is two weeks from today, February 27th) has already had 16 Top 40 hits on the U.S. Adult Contemporary charts with 7 of those reaching the Top Ten, and five of them topping the charts:  “To Where You Are” (2002), “O Holy Night” (2002), “You Raise Me Up” (2004), “Believe” (2004), and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (2007).

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When the new Billboard album chart was released this morning, as I expected,  “All That Echoes” became his third #1 album selling 145,000 copies in its first week.  All five of his previous albums debuted in the Top Ten with two of them topping the album chart.

His last album, “Illuminations”, released in 2010, was my sixth favorite album that year.  But, it’s also his only studio album that did not go double platinum (sales of two million or more).  Three of his previous albums sold more than five million copies each in the U.S.  Overall, Groban has sold more than 21 million albums in the U.S. alone.

“Brave”, the first release from “All That Echoes”, is already in the Top 20 on the adult contemporary radio airplay charts.  It’s a very solid song that showcases Groban’s amazing voice.

Recently, Josh performed many of the songs from the new album on the Home Shopping Network and I’ll feature the videos from that concert performance.  So, on some of them, you might have to skip ahead if you don’t want to listen to the banter with the show’s hosts.

Almost all music outlets are selling a 12-song collection, but I bought my CD from Target and it featured four exclusive bonus tracks.  With just the first few listens, my favorite of the exclusive tracks, by far, is “Changing Colours”.

While most of the songs are originals written and composed by Groban, there are a few remakes.  Also, there are two duets including one with Laura Pausini, an Italian singer.  I love Laura Pausini and since many in America still don’t know who she is, I’ll showcase one of my favorite songs of hers at the bottom of this review and blog.

One of the remakes that I absolutely love is “Falling Slowly”, an 2007 Oscar winner for “Best Original Song” from the movie, “Once”.

Another of the remakes that I adore is “I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)”.  This song was originally recorded by Stevie Wonder in 1972.  Since then, it has been recorded by Peter Frampton, Art Garfunkel, Mike+The Mechanics, Michael McDonald, and George Michael.

Since I mentioned that there are 16 songs on the expanded version that I bought, I can’t honestly say that I love all of the album on my first few listens.  Several of the songs will have to grow on me.

However, here are my other three favorites:

“The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress” (I just love that song title!) is a song that has been recorded many times since 1974, but it has never charted as a single.  Some of the artists include Joe Cocker, Glen Campbell, Judy Collins, Linda Ronstadt, Joan Baez, and Michael Feinstein.

“Happy In my Heartache” is also a nice song.

And, my final favorite, after my first few listens, is “Below The Line, one of the few mid-tempo songs on “All That Echoes”.

Since the CD just came out last week, I can’t say how many of the songs will rank up there with such Groban classics as “You Raise Me Up”, “You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up), “February Song”, and many selections from his last album, “Illuminations”.

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On that disc, I loved “Bells of New York City”, “Hidden Away”, “If I Walk Away”, “Love Only Knows”, and “Você Existe em Mim”.  And, even though it was a Christmas album, “Noel” was pure perfection!

Josh Groban sounds amazing on “All That Echoes”.  However, he’s set the bar so high with his previous releases, it’s going to take me a few more listens for a few of the songs that I liked on the album to become loved songs.

GRADE: B

Laura Pausini Bonus!

While she is a huge international star, her only dent on the American chart was “Surrender”, a #1 Billboard Dance Club hit from 2002, from her only English CD, “From The Inside”, which I love.

George Strait, Watch Your Back!

Country music crooner and legend George Strait is the man, but a woman is ready to pounce on and tie a record that he has sole possession since 2006 when “Give It Away” became his 41st country chart topper.

(George Strait in Chicago with Reba in March 2011)

Strait currently has 44 #1 songs on the Billboard country singles chart.  His first was in 1982 with “Fool Hearted Memory” and his last “River of Love” topped the chart in 2008.  Here’s one of my favorite of George’s chart toppers from 1997, “Carrying Your Love With Me”.

I love you, George, but this isn’t just about you.  It’s mainly about M-A-D-O-N-N-A, who kicks off her North American “MDNA Tour” in Philadelphia Tuesday night with the #1 Billboard Dance song in America, “Turn Up The Radio”!

And, Top 40 radio stations, take note.  Interscope Records will be releasing “Turn Up The Radio” as the third single from “MDNA” September 25, 2012!  I’ll be listening for it.

With “Radio” topping the Billboard dance charts this week, it marks her third straight chart-topper from “MDNA” and her 43rd #1 Billboard Dance hit.  Her closest competition of most #1s on that chart is Janet Jackson with 19, followed by Beyonce and Rihanna with 18, Kristine W with 16, and Mariah Carey with 15.

Before I show you Madonna’s incredible #1 dance chart run from her first chart topper for five weeks on September 24, 1983,”Holiday/Lucky Star” to “Turn Up The Radio”, Madonna is also the artist with the most #1 hits total on all Billboard charts.  She’s been at number one a total of 156 times!!!!!!!!  This includes multi-format singles and albums.

Here is one of the official remixes of “Turn Up The Radio”, the Offer Nissim remix.  Let’s hit the clubs and the dance floor!

While Madonna’s first single, “Everybody”, peaked at #3, here is a list of her #1 hits on the Billboard Dance/Club Play chart.  If a song stayed  at the top more than one week, the number of weeks at No. 1 is noted by parentheses.

1983, “Holiday/Lucky Star” (five weeks; double-sided chart single)
1984, “Like a Virgin” (three weeks)
1985, “Material Girl”
1985, “Angel/Into the Groove” (double-sided chart single)
1987, “Open Your Heart”

1987, “Causing a Commotion (Remix)”
1988, “You Can Dance (LP Cuts)”
1989, “Like a Prayer” (two weeks)
1989, “Express Yourself” (three weeks)
1990, “Keep It Together”

1990, “Vogue” (two weeks)
1991, “Justify My Love” (two weeks)
1992, “Erotica”
1993, “Deeper and Deeper”
1993, “Fever”

1994, “Secret” (two weeks)
1995, “Bedtime Story”
1997, “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”
1998, “Frozen” (two weeks)
1998, “Ray of Light” (four weeks)

1999, “Nothing Really Matters” (two weeks)
1999, “Beautiful Stranger” (two weeks)
2000, “American Pie”
2000, “Music” (five weeks)
2001, “Don’t Tell Me”

2001, “What It Feels Like for a Girl”
2001, “Impressive Instant” (two weeks)
2002, “Die Another Day” (two weeks)
2003, “American Life”
2003, “Hollywood”

2003, “Me Against the Music,” Britney Spears featuring Madonna (two weeks)
2004, “Nothing Fails”
2004, “Love Profusion”
2005, “Hung Up” (four weeks)
2006, “Sorry” (two weeks)

2006, “Get Together”
2006, “Jump” (two weeks)
2008, “4 Minutes,” Madonna featuring Justin Timberlake & Timbaland (two weeks)
2008, “Give It 2 Me”
2009, “Celebration”

2012, “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” Madonna featuring Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.

2012   “Girl Gone Wild”

2012   “Turn Up The Radio”

While Madonna had more mainstream, Hot 100 chart success in the 1980s and the 1990s, on the Dance/Club Play Songs chart, she scored more number ones (18) in the 2000s!  As of now, “Holiday/Lucky Star” and “Music” are Madonna’s longest running #1 dance hits at five weeks each, followed by four weeks for “Ray of Light” and “Hung Up”.

And, finally, here is the remix of “Turn Up the Radio” that I hope Madonna releases to Top 40 radio in late September.  It features Far East Movement, who scored at #1 hit at radio in 2010, with “Like A G6”.

Anthony