Friday, June 8, 2012

‘Madagascar’: A real 3D trip

I've never been keen on 3D movies. 

But then, my experiences have been limited to old classics and pie-throwing B-rated comedies.

Now that I've seen "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted," which opens in theaters June 8, I can understand why they're so popular.
The effects were fantastico, as Stefano the Seal (Martin Short) would say.

I caught myself several times gasping, ducking and swerving flying debris, even imagining myself snorkeling in the cool blue waters of Monte Carlo Bay.


It is here that the Zoosters, including Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer) begin their quest to find the penguins and chimps, so they can return to the life they knew at New York's Central Park Zoo. 

The original "Madagascar" (2005) and "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" were not created in 3D, but they could have been. 

"Because of the films' comedic tone, we were often doing things that put stuff out in front of the camera," said writer and co-director Eric Darnell, in a report released to the press. "Once we recognized that our cinematography and our comedy really lent themselves beautifully to the 3D world, we really didn't have to change much of what we were doing. But taking our animals into a circus automatically give us these wonderful opportunities - we're moving not just across the surface of the earth, we're moving up in the air, flipping, rolling and flying - to work in 3D, of course."

In agreement is co-director Tom McGrath (DreamWorks Animation had a trifecta of directorial talent working on this including Conrad Vernon). "3D just gives you so many more tools to work with. It's immersive. You can underscore an emotional scene as much as you can the action."

Special effects alone, however, do not make for a good movie. It is the screenplay (Eric Darnell and Noah Baumbach) and musical score (Hans Zimmer) - that had the guy to my right laughing aloud and the girl to my left dancing in her seat - that make it worth the cost of tickets, glasses and popcorn. I could have done without the Cirque du Soleil and French Canadian witticisms, which fell so flat even an English Canadian couldn't peel them off the floor. 

“Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” rated PG, will be showing in most theaters June 8. 3 stars out of 4.
Summer movies and garage sales, art shows and a visit by the "Dark Knight's" Tumbler and Bat-Pod, check out our listing of family-friendly events going on in the Detroit area, below:

Batman vehicle tour
Fans who have been eagerly awaiting the release of "The Dark Knight Rises: will have an opportunity to see the Tumbler and Bat-Pod, when the coast-to-coast tour makes its stop in Detroit: June 15 (12 p.m.- 6 p.m.), Bloomfield Township Public Library, 4200 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills; June 18 (1:30-7:30 p.m.), Rochester Hills Public Library, 500 Olde Towne Rd., Rochester; June 19 (12 p.m.- 6p.m.), Troy Public Library, 510 West Big Beaver Rd., Troy; June 20 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.), Novi Public Library, 45255 West 10 Mile Road., Novi.

Cruisin' Gratiot festivities
The 14th annual Cruisin' Gratiot returns to the City of Eastpointe, with events going on June 12-16. Visit www.cruisin-gratiot.com for further details.

Historical Society
Chesterfield Historical Society hosts Ste. Claire Voyageurs (1750s-era French fur trade re-enactors) from Lake St. Clair Metropark, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 9, at Chesterfield Historical Village Green, 47275 Sugarbush Road north of 21 Mile Road. Admission $1 adults, $2 family; refreshments available for purchases. Call 586-749-3713.

Antique appraisal
Warren Historical Society presents Antiques Appraisal Fair and bake sale, June 9 at Warren Community Center cafeteria, 5460 Arden. Bake sale begins 9 a.m., appraisals and "Radio Rescue" by Michigan Antique Radio Club, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Only items that can be carried or photos of large items accepted, no stamps, coins or guns. Appraisals and rescues $5 per item.

Garage sale
Giant Garage Sale, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. June 14-15, at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church and Cultural Center and Assumption Nursery School and Toddler Center, 21800 Marter Road, St. Clair Shores. Food and baked goods also available. Call 586-779-6111 ext. 3.

Country breakfast
Jefferson Chapter No. 489 Order of Eastern Star serves an all-you-can eat country breakfast, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Father's Day, June 17, at the Jefferson Masonic Temple, 22000 11 Mile Road, St. Clair Shores. Adult admission $6, ages 6-12 $3, free 5 and younger. Call 586-777-0043.

Bead sale
Eastwood Rebekah Lodge No. 499 selling Beads for Breast Cancer during the Gratiot Cruise, 6-9 p.m. June 15 and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. June 16, at the Oddfellows Hall, 23322 Gratiot, Eastpointe. Proceeds to Karmanos Cancer Institute. Call 586-489-5073.

Bowling benefit
Fundraiser to help the Jeffrey Family in its cancer battle, June 10 at Imperial Lanes in Clinton Township. Doors open 1 p.m., bowling 2 p.m., admission $20 adults, $10 ages 11 and younger, includes three games bowling, shoe rental, pizza and soft drinks, $10 for non-bowlers includes food; call 586-949-2191 or 586-202-4489.

Historical encampment
War in the Wilderness encampment with re-enactors representing British and French military and Woodland Indians of the 1750-60s, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. June 16, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. June 17, at Stony Creek Metropark in Washington Township. Free with park admission, $25 annual, $15 seniors, or $5 daily. Call 586-781-4242.

Pancake breakfast
Utica Lions Club serve annual pancake breakfast, 8 a.m.-noon June 17, at Grant Park, north of M-59 east on Hahn Street.

Jazz luncheon
Oakland University Jazz Ensemble performs June 19 during a 1-3 p.m. luncheon June 19 at the Older Persons' Commission, 650 Letica, Rochester. Admission $10. To register, 248-608-0251.

Shores Library
Upcoming programs at the St. Clair Shores Public Library, 22500 11 Mile Road, include free "Classic Movie Fridays," through June 29; free Tea Party Fashion Show, 2 p.m. June 14, registration required; Selinsky-Green Farmhouse Museum's Annual Garden Tea Party, 2-4 p.m. June 20, at the museum behind the library, $3 adults, 50 cents for children. To register or for program information, 586-771-9020 or www.scslibrary.org. Also, summer reading club begins with open house 6-8 p.m. June 5 for children to pick up reading logs and make a craft; registrations accepted through July 27.

Wheel 'n' Deal
Free outdoor Wheel 'n' Deal flea market, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. June 9, in parking lot of Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lakeshore Road, Grosse Pointe Farms. Event takes place rain or shine; refreshments available.

Warren Library
Upcoming events at Warren Civic Center Library include: "Gaming 2nd Saturdays" for teens, 2-4 p.m. June 9; Make a Kite Night for ages 5-11 and their caregivers, 6:30 p.m. June 11; Teen Summer Reading Club Kick-off, 6-9 p.m. June 16; Children's Summer Reading Club Kick-off, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. June 16. Also, "Sleeping Beauty" puppet show, 6:30 p.m. June 21; mini-makeover night, 6 p.m. June 27 for 12-17 years; Friends from the Farm Night, 6:30 p.m. June 28. All programs at the library in Warren City Hall, two blocks east of Van Dyke, north of 12 Mile Road; registration required for some sessions, call 586-751-0770.

Music Day
Free Music Awareness Day that includes live performances and professional musicians providing workshops on different music styles, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. June 9, at Lake Shore High School. To register, email rameysj@gmail.com. 

Angels' Place
Cocnert to benefit Angels' Place, 8 p.m. June 9, at St. Andrew Church, 1400 Inglewood, Rochester. Entertainment by Mark Tisdel and Phyllis Bengry. Free, donations accepted. Angels' Place provides Christian homes and services for adults with developmental disabilities. For information, 248-350-2203 or www.angelsplace.com.

Leaps & Bounds
Early childhood education training programs for caregivers and parents, 9:15-11 a.m. Wednesdays at Early Childhood Center, 24580 Cunningham, Center Line, and 10:30-11:30 a.m. Thursdays at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, 8129 Packard, Warren, sponsored by non-profit Leaps & Bounds Family Services. For complete schedule, 313-402-0802 or 586-675-0451.

Meadow Brook tours
Summer tours at Meadow Brook Hall on the Oakland University Campus in Rochester are under way at 11:30 a.m., 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. A new architecture tour includes interior and exterior highlights of the design and construction process, 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; Behind-The-Scenes tours  that include the staff wing are noon and 1:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; each tour admission is $15 adults, $10 seniors, free ages 12 and younger. Twilight Tuesdays are 6-9 p.m. June 12, July 13 and Aug. 28, $10 adults, free ages 12 and younger. Call 248-364-6200 or go to www.meadowbrookhall.org.

Summer sounds
Concerts/dancing at Lake St. Clair Metropark take place 6:30-10 p.m. Sundays throughout the summer, June 10 Rhythm Society orchestra; June 17 Rich Eddy's Rockin' Oldies, June 24 Dr. Pocket. Programs free with Metropark vehicle entry permit, $25 season, $15 ages 62 and older, or $5 daily. Visit www.metroparks.com or call 586-463-4581.
Grosse Pointe Village Association's Music on The Plaza free outdoor jazz concert series presented by St. John Hospital & Medical Center, 7 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 2, on Village Festival Plaza at Kercheval and St. Clair in downtown Grosse Pointe. Call 313-886-7474 or www.thevillagegp.com.

On stage
Gospel musical comedy "Smoke on the Mountain" plays 2 and 8 p.m. June 10, at the Box Theatre in downtown Mount Clemens. For tickets $25, a portion of proceeds benefit Cystic Fibrosis Support Network of Michigan, call 586-329-6570 or go to www.centerstagemacomb.com.
Detroit Repertory Theatre premieres "Taking Care of Mimi," Thursday through Sunday, through June 24, at the theater, 13103 Woodrow Wilson, Detroit. For tickets, 313-868-1347 or www.detroitreptheatre.com.
Stagecrafters presents "the Bad Seed," Thursdays through Sundays, through June 17, at the Baldwin Theatre, 415 S. Lafayette, Royal Oak. Advance tickets $16 and $18 at www.stagecrafters.org or 248-541-6430, or at box office one hour before showtime for additional $2 per ticket.
"Robocop: The Musical" 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, through Aug. 3, at Go Comedy! Improv Theater, 261 Nine Mile Road, Ferndale. Tickets $15. Visit www.gocomedy.net.
Joint general auditions for 11 area theaters, including The Box theatre, Ringwald Theatre, Matrix Theatre Co., take place 5:30-10 p.m. June 12-14, at the Two Muses Theatre inside the Barnes & Noble, 6800 Orchard Lake Road, West Bloomfield. For appointments, frannie@magentagiraffe.org. Also, Gay Play Series gets runs June 15-25 at the theater. For schedule information and tickets, go to www.TheRingwald.com.

Art shows
Paint Creek Center for the Arts Student and Faculty Art Show, through June 22 at the Center, 407 Pine St., Rochester. Opening reception 7-9 p.m. June 8; show hours 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Call 248-651-4110.

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