JOAN OF ART: THE END OF A CINEMATIC SAGA, MATTHEW BOURNE'S SWAN LAKE, AND THE JELLICLES ARE BACK (MEOW)

Well first I have to say, besides reviewing films, I'm in the Writers Guild so this is the time of year I've seen so many films that they are all starting to blend together except for a few outstanding ones, which I've mentioned in my columns in the past.

To remind you: FORD VS. FERRARI, 1917, THE JOKER, THE IRISHMAN, THE FAREWELL, WILD ROSE, MARRIAGE STORY, AD ASTRA, CAPITAN MARVEL, AVENGERS END GAME, CATS, JO JO RABBIT AND DOLEMITE IS MY NAME are some of the films that I absolutely loved. There are probably many more but that's all I can remember right now.

Okay so this week I have to start off with the film that everybody has been waiting to see...STAR WARS: THE RISE OF THE SKYWALKER directed by J. J. Abrams. To my surprise this film (which I saw yesterday), which is the last one in this beloved epic, has gotten very mixed reviews. In fact some critics have downright hated it. I am not one of those critics. I actually loved it.

The film stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac. Of course, C-3PO, Chewbacca, BB-8 are also back along with a few new characters. Basically it doesn't matter what I or anyone says about this movie. If you're a fan you will see it. If not, then you won't.

Personally I think you will walk out of the theatre satisfied and in my case teary eyed because in the end, it's about friendship and good vs. evil with good winning out. Something that I'm sure, considering what is going on in our country now, you all can relate to.

STAR WARS; THE RISE OF THE SKYWALKER opens in theaters this Friday, December 20th. Love to know what you think.

Next up and on a totally different note is Matthew Bourne's beautiful, mesmerizing, amazing SWAN LAKE playing at The Ahmanson. This is a spectacular production that will make you laugh, dazzle you and make you cry tears of joy.

The choreography is absolutely stunning. Bourne keeps the iconic elements of the original production loved by millions around the world, but he creates an exciting reimagining of this classic. It is thrilling, audacious, and emotional. This SWAN LAKE is perhaps still best known for replacing the female corps-de-ballet with a menacing male ensemble which shattered conventions turned tradition upside down and took the dance world by storm.

It won an Olivier Award in the UK and three Tony's on Broadway. Matthew Bourne's powerful interpretation of Tchaikovsky's masterpiece is a passionate and contemporary SWAN LAKE for our time.

For tickets and more information go to CenterTheatreGroup.org. It plays through January 5th, 2020. The Ahmanson is located at 135 North Grand Avenue, Downtown LA, 90012.

I have seen the show CATS three times...Once on Broadway. Once in Los Angeles at the now closed Schubert Theatre and once in Vancouver. My poor husband hated it the first time he saw it with me in New York, but somehow I convinced him to see it with me two more times. It didn't make any difference. He still hated it.

Now the film CATS is opening and I saw it yesterday. (Yes I did a double feature.) and I thought it was so unique, beautiful, touching with amazing choreography and beautiful acting and singing. All I wanted to do after is go home and hug my cat.

Tobe Hooper directed and it's based on T. S. Eliot's poetry collection 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.' Lee Hall and Tom Hooper wrote the screenplay with music by the great Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The film stars Judi Dench, James Corden, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson and newcomer Francesa Hayward. The story is simple and yet it's not. A tribe of cats must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.

The most famous and one of the most beautiful songs ever written is MEMORY and I have to admit, I kept waiting for Jennifer Hudson to sing this incredible piece of music. Now I am a very big fan of hers, but truly I did not like the way she sang the song. Not sure if it was the director's idea or hers. Having said that, if you are a fan of CATS you will love the film.

CATS opens in theatres this Friday, December 20th.

California natives QUITAPENAS will bring a tropical Latin heat to the holiday season at Union Station’s final Cocoa Concert on Friday, Dec. 20, at 6:30 p.m. on the South Patio, in collaboration with Metro Art Presents.

QUITAPENAS delivers a rhythmic contagion with a unique combination of Afro-Latin music. Inspired by música tropical y bailable, each song echoes a remix of history with a nod to the music of Angola, Peru, Colombia and Brazil. The band, whose name translates “to remove worries,” will have guests dancing their holiday cares away all evening.

Having lived in Peru, Columbia and Brazil for two years I am a very big fan of this genre. You can't help but feel happy while listening and moving to these incredible sounds.

The festive, family-friendly holiday celebration will transform the station into a winter wonderland featuring live music, Cocoa Bars with Elftenders, Santa selfies and a Candy Cane Lane where a custom neon photo-op will make your season bright alongside a soaring Candy Cane Queen and holiday-themed arts, crafts, interactive games and entertainment.

I'll be here Friday, dancing the night away and I suggest you all come down and join me.

For additional information go to UnionStationLA.com.

Whatever you chose to do this weekend and upcoming week, I want to wish you all a very happy, fun, joyous and loving holiday and New Year. Hopefully all the hatred and anger of 2019 will end and 2020 will bring about a new way of doing things...a way that helps mankind, helps the planet and helps all the creatures on Planet Earth.