Reviews For The Easily Distracted:
The Lazarus Effect

Title: The Lazarus Effect

Sum Up The Movie Using Other Movies: Pet Semetary plus Flatliners divided by Paranormal Activity

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: One Nothing Like the Sun albumout of five.

Brief Plot Synopsis: "Did you wreck the car?"
"Did you raise the dead?"
"But the car's okay?"

Tagline: "Evil will rise."

Better Tagline: "Hell is other doctors."

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Once Tells the Story of a Dublin Street Musician's Dreams and the Woman Who Inspires Him

Categories: Stage

Photo by Joan Marcus
They dance, sing and play at the same time in Once

Winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Once tells the story of a Dublin street musician "Guy" who thanks to the help of a beautiful woman "Girl" decides to continue pursuing his career in music.

John Steven Gardner, who plays Eamon, a sound engineer at a recording studio, in the touring production coming to the Hobby Center courtesy of Broadway Across America, also serves as the "Music Captain" for the show.

"It's to help keep what we did in rehearsal in August 2013 intact. Once gives all of the actors an unusual amount of creative freedom. A lot of the parts we came up with in rehearsals."

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Stanton Welch Creates Memorable If Uneven Romeo and Juliet

Categories: Ballet

Photo by Amitava Sarkar
Connor Walsh and Karina Gonzalez.

The Execution:

Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is perhaps the most well-known love story in the West, not because the play is his best work, but because its themes of young passion and ill fortune are as universal as it is adaptable to just about any form of dramatic artistic expression. The tale of star-crossed lovers has been in the ballet repertory since 1940 when it first premiered in the Soviet Union alongside Sergei Prokofiev's now iconic score. Houstonians have cherished Ben Stevenson's take of the ballet since 1987, but now Houston Ballet's artistic director Stanton Welch has created an all-new version with only Prokofiev's music as the unifying thread.

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Creatives 2015: Alecia Lawyer, Founder/Artistic Director of River Oaks Chamber Orchestra

Categories: 100 Creatives

All photos courtesy of Alecia Lawyer
Alecia Lawyer
Alecia Lawyer was inspired to found the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra in much the same way Noah was inspired to build his ark. "Really I think God just put the idea in my head," she tells us. "With Noah and the ark, God said, 'You know it's going to rain a little bit, you might want to build an ark.' Noah didn't know how it was going to turn out, but he built the ark. I didn't know how this was going to turn out, but it seemed the right thing to do."

Lawyer, the group's artistic director as well as principle oboist, wanted ROCO to be different from other chamber groups, which usually have a single leader and plan programs around composers or musical eras. "I had been been part of three other orchestras and I wanted to try it basing everything on the musicians. Over the years, I had worked with some really great people, including people I met at Julliard. I wanted this orchestra to be about the people. And once you focus on the people rather than some esoteric concept, it's a very organic process."

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Houston's 5 Best Weekend Events: Jazz Fest, the I-45 Killing Fields and More

Categories: Top 5

Courtesy of Shelley Carrol
Music took saxophonist Shelley Carrol from the Houston Boys Choir to Carnegie Hall. Along the way, Carrol, who's being featured in the 17th Annual Moores School of Music Jazz Festival on Friday and Saturday, spent some time at Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, with the University of North Texas's One O'Clock Lab Band and as a regular sideman with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and Sheryl Crow. While Carrol has toured the world, performing and recording with some of jazz music's best, he says returning to Houston, which he once called home, is a special treat.

"It means everything to me to come home, where I learned everything I know. My teachers are still here, and through the years, I've thought of all of them constantly. Dr. Bob Morgan, Horace Alexander Young, Marsha Frazier, Horace Grigsby and many others."

It was a Houston jazz legend who inspired Carrol the most -- Arnett Cobb. Cobb's the epitome of the "Texas tenor" sound, a loud, honking, electrifying style that has been given new life through Carrol and his contemporaries. Carrol, a master at phrasing, says he learned from Cobb both on and off the stage. Early in his career, he began performing with his childhood hero. "I was doing a gig and complaining about it a little to Arnett Cobb, and he said, 'Son, if you can make a living with the saxophone in your mouth, be happy because you doing okay!'"

The two-day music festival features Carrol and his band, the UH Jazz Orchestra and the Moores School Jazz Festival All Stars, a collection of veteran players led by director of jazz studies Noe Marmolejo, and two lunchtime music workshops.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. University of Houston, 4800 Calhoun. For information, call 713-743-3313 or visit Free to $17.

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Houston Rodeo Horticulture Competition Shows Off Beauty and Wildlife

Courtesy of HLSR
For many, the word "horticulture" evokes memories of biology class and the geeky side of the plant world: scientific classifications, pH balances and the like. However, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo's Horticulture program is much more interesting than it might sound on the surface. It's a collection of programs with plenty of practical life applications. Just about everyone can benefit from understanding what makes for a good photo or how to set an attractive table for a party.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream: When the Fairies Come Out to Play

Categories: Stage

Photo courtesy of Stark Naked Theatre
During William Shakespeare's lifetime, there was a lot of belief among the populace that fairies and other magical beings could cast spells on you while you were sleeping, says Kim Tobin-Lehl who is co-directing A Midsummer Night's Dream with her husband Philip Lehl at Stark Naked Theatre.

Both are looking for that same willingness to imagine mystical possibilities from audience members ready to once more engage with Puck, Bottom, Titania, Oberon, and the lovers Hermia and Lysander, Helena and Demetrius.

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Archer Sags into Middle Age in Its Sixth, 'Unrebooted' Season

Categories: Film and TV

TV shows aren't too different from people in at least one respect: The longer they've been around, the less interest they tend to garner. But the sixth season of FX's beloved spy spoof Archer is like few others. It's an "unrebooting" of the previous year, in which creator Adam Reed, reportedly bored with his own show, jettisoned virtually everything about it at the height of its popularity. Archer Vice, as the fifth season was called, found the animated cast peddling cocaine and country music after the disbanding of ISIS, the show's espionage agency, by the federal government in the season premiere. Vice was a bold gamble, but unfortunately a flameout of a season; the show's stakes changed too fast and too furiously for viewers to keep up or care.

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Houston Rodeo Guide: Something for Everyone at the Big Show

Categories: Festivals

Photo by Nicholas Zalud
The Big Show is here again.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has been an enduring success since it started as the "Fat Stock Show" way back in 1932. It has grown into an enormous collection of shows, auctions, exhibits and activities that has something for everyone. Whether you're a cattle rancher, horse rider, child, parent, wine enthusiast, live-music fan, foodie, thrill seeker, gardener or dog lover, there's something geared specifically to your interests. Here's just a small sampling of what's going on this year.

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2015 Oscars Recap: Hate Watch Edition

Photo courtesy of ABC
Still pissed about Boyhood.
Nobody likes the Oscars.

Maybe that's too broad an indictment, but if your only sources of feedback on the 87th Academy Awards were social media and blogs, it's easy to get that impression. 36.6 million people watched the ceremony last Sunday (down 18 percent from last year), and apparently every one of them resented the experience.

But even for a TV viewing population as bitchy as ours, the vitriol aimed at this year's ceremony (and its smirking host, Neil Patrick Harris) seemed a little excessive. There were plenty of legitimate reasons to complain: a painfully white group of nominees, another near three-and-a-half hour running time, no streakers; but it's the other stuff I'd like to take a closer look at.

Oh, and in case anyone cares, I went six for nine on my Oscar predictions. Curse you, Big Hero 6!

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