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Film News & Reviews

Kristen Wiig Embraces Black Comedy ‘Welcome to Me’

In the burnt-toast black Sundance comedy, Welcome to Me, SNL alumna and Bridesmaids star Kristen Wiig goes dark and bipolar without losing her shield of likeability. It’s really a superpower to be marveled at, like the ability to carry on a long conversation without looking at one’s ...

Review: ‘Woman in Gold’ Glitters

Helen Mirren has become like Meryl Streep: nearly every time she has a leading role a little alarm goes off that signals “Oscar.” In this deeply emotional drama with a surprisingly light touch from Simon Curtis (My Week with Marilyn), Dame Helen plays Maria Altmann. Who? The Jewish ...

Check into ‘The Second Best Marigold Hotel’ – Film Review

If there is such a thing as a warm-bath movie, The Second Best Marigold Hotel defines it. Even the title is intended to keep expectations low. Directed by John Madden, SBMH is entertainment that pairs perfectly with a meal of Chicken Tikka Masala and Lamb Korma, following in the safe footsteps of ...

Grand Rapids Symphony Brings More Than Great Music to Carnegie

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, April 17, 2018 The Grand Rapids Symphony arrives in New York this week for its first Carnegie Hall appearance in thirteen years with 85 players, a 135-member chorus, the world-renowned pianist Nelson Freire and its dynamic conductor Marcelo Lehninger. But according to ...

Review: Martha Graham Dance Company Continues Its Legacy and Ensures ...

By Bethany Hopta, Contributing Writer, April 17, 2018 The Martha Graham Dance Company, the oldest dance company in America, continued its 92nd season with performances of their Scared/Profane program at New York City Center this past weekend. On Saturday evening Janet Eilber, the artistic director of ...

Review: Basil Twist's Aquatic 'Symphonie Fantastique' Is Visually and Sonically ...

By Sheila Kogan, Contributing Writer, April 17, 2018 Twenty years ago, third-generation puppeteer, Basil Twist, decided to create a totally abstract work based on the music of Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz. This year, HERE, the Off-Broadway theater, has revived the work as part of their 25th ...

Review: The Drama of Mozart's Music (and Life) Fills Geffen ...

By Joanne Sydney Lessner, Contributing Writer, April 16, 2018 The New York Philharmonic’s April 14 screening of Milos Forman’s Oscar-winning movie Amadeus, with the musical score performed live, was bittersweet; Forman died the day before, at eighty-six. Conductor Richard Kaufman dedicated the presentation to Forman, and ...

Jazz Notes: On April 20, Jazz Foundation of America Returns to ...

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, April 16, 2018 Every year, New York’s nonprofit the Jazz Foundation of America—whose motto is “Saving jazz and blues…one musician at a time”—helps to be a key factor for helping musicians who have faced natural disasters and ...

Review: An Expurgated ‘Carousel’ Nonetheless Thrills

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, April 16, 2018 Each year, when I cover Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel in my musical-theater history course at the Boston Conservatory, we have a lengthy discussion about what I call “The Elephant in the Room.” Carousel barker Billy Bigelow hits his ...

Art Break: Freud at the Center for Book Arts, Mixed ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, April 16, 2018 Humans and their place within the community, landscape, and the planet in general, is a topic of fascination to artists throughout the centuries. Art Break is looking at several shows opening this week that examine and discuss how ...

From Rio With Love — Grand Rapids Symphony Returns To Carnegie ...

By Joanne Sydney Lessner, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2018 The Grand Rapids Symphony takes the stage at Carnegie Hall on Friday, April 20 for the second time in the orchestra’s 88-year history. Having celebrated its 75th anniversary there in 2005, the orchestra returns with the 140-member Grand Rapids ...

Ecstatic Music Festival Features Diverse Programming and Collaborative Performances

By Leonard Bopp, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2018 Kaufman Music Center’s Ecstatic Music Festival, now in its eighth year, presents collaborative performances from a broad, diverse range of musical groups. As Kaufman Music Center Executive Director Lydia Kontos notes, “since Kaufman Music Center launched the pioneering ...

Review: 'Children of a Lesser God' Continues To Provoke Discussion ...

By Diana Mott, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2018 The much anticipated revival of Children of a Lesser God is a testament to the timelessness of a story about the human struggle to connect and to communicate. Mark Medoff’s Tony, Drama Desk and Olivier Award-winning play made ...

Review: ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ is Bloody Good Fun

With all this snow, I need to laugh. I’ve been reading John Waters’ Role Models, which is screamingly funny when it’s not seriously scary discussing Charles Manson, or to quote Mr. Waters: “the ultimate hippie bogeyman.” And, keeping to the theme of things that are ...

‘Fifty Shades’ of Tame – Film Review

I recently watched the feminist fantasy Outlander on STARZ. The explicit nature of the sex surprised me. In one particular scene, the 18th century Scottish kilt-wearing brute Jamie spanks his time-travelling 20th century wife Claire with a stout belt on her bare bottom. Jamie Fraser has the nerve ...

‘Mommy’ Dearest Emotional Horror Movie of the Season – Film Review

Like the bastard child of John Cassavetes and Ingmar Bergman, prolific French Canadian film director Xavier Dolan has made an exhilarating, intimate family drama that digs deep and plays dirty. Mommy is a character study of a warm-blooded widowed single mother, Diane (Anne Dorval) and her virile ...

Review: Michael Mann Can’t Crack the Code in Chris Hemsworth Technothriller ‘Blackhat’

I love me some Michael Mann. You may, too: the manly men that enthrall him and the strong emotional bonds between partners and rivals; the intense close-ups; the balletic action and the driving anger; the saturated color and the exotic locales. Heat. TV’s Miami Vice and the ahead-of-its-time ...

Office Politics Gone Wild — Must-see Movie ‘Two Days, One Night’ with Marion Cotillard – Film Review

Naturalistic and probing, in Two Days, One Night, Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (The Kid with a Bike) tell an apparently simple, linear story with astonishing depth. Recovering from depression, wife and mother Sandra (Oscar winner Marion Cotillard) returns to work at a solar panel ...

Stephen Sondheim’s Musical ‘Into the Woods’ is as Bewitching as Meryl Streep – Film Review

Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore. Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, as directed by Rob Marshall, from James Lapine’s screenplay, is movie musical bliss – better than Marshall’s Oscar-winning Chicago and so much better than his miscast, misbegotten Nine. From the prologue ...

Chris Rock Pushes ‘Top Five’ onto my Top Ten – Film Review

Some things just don’t compute. The bullying racist exposed in Scott Rudin’s vile Sony-leaks emails to chucklehead CEO Amy Pascal (pick up the phone!) doesn’t align with Rudin’s name as Producer on the credits of Chris Rock’s movie Top Five, a project written, directed ...

Benedict Cumberbatch Bristles with Brilliance in Authentic ‘The Imitation Game’ – Film Review

Taking its place among those handsome biopics the British do so well, The Imitation Game tells the fascinating (and ultimately tragic) story of mathematician Alan Turing. A day after the UK enters the Second World War, the Cambridge-educated Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) arrives at Bletchley Park, ...

Mr. Turner: Timothy Spall’s Must-see Portrait of the Landscape Artist as a Wheezy Lout – Film Review

Timothy Spall grunts, gurgles and sputters playing J. M. W. Turner — the English painter whose stunning landscapes helped define the Romantic era — in Mike Leigh’s magnificent Mr. Turner. His is the eccentric performance that seems to resonate with Oscar voters. The round-faced British ...

Miles Teller Clashes with J.K. Simmons in the Manhattan-set Jazz Drama ‘Whiplash’ – Film Review

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When ambitious young musician Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) strives to be a Buddy Rich class drummer, he nearly dies trying in a charged battle of wills with his thorny professor Terence Fletcher (J. K. Simmons). The buzzy Sundance hit that won both the Audience and Grand Jury Prize vibrates with ...

Jennifer Lawrence Pouts and Protests Through ‘Mockingjay – Part 1’ – Film Review

“Now I’m condemned to a life of jumpsuits,” complains Tribute Escort Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) early on in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. She might have been referring to the entire third part of what is now, unlike the book trilogy, a four-part saga in the ...

Michael Keaton Pecks at Fame in ‘Birdman’ – Film Review

Whether you remember Michael Keaton as the guy who threw away the Batman franchise before comic books were king, or the comic genius of Beetlejuice, the actor is the crazy spinning center of Alejandro G. Inarritu’s Birdman, which closed the 52nd Annual New York Film Festival and exited Venice ...

Interview: Hilary Swank stands tall, dives deep discussing ‘The Homesman’

   

I had a chance to have tea with two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank at the Hamptons International Film Festival in the lobby of the Maidstone Hotel. We discussed her scrubbed down, soulful role as Mary Bee Cuddy in Tommy Lee Jones’s The Homesman, one of my favorite movies of 2014. The Nebraska ...

Oscar Winners Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones Amaze in ‘The Homesman:’ Film Review

With The Homesman, Director/Co-writer/Star/Texan Tommy Lee Jones confounds again, making brilliant American cinema on the back of the blockbuster dime he earned for Men in Black and The Fugitive, among many others. His taste is no-nonsense, astringent in its view of human nature, and unsentimental ...

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