March 15, 2013 |
THE PROTAGONIST of "Lore," a powerful and haunting drama set in Germany immediately following the country's defeat in World War II, is a teenage girl. Subtly played by Saskia Rosendahl, Lore (pronounced "Laura") is just old enough to have learned to fear and hate Jews. It's a sick lesson imparted to her by her Nazi parents (Hans-Jochen Wagner and Ursina Lardi) who, as the film gets under way, are being taken into custody by Allied troops. This leaves Lore the rest of the film to begin to unlearn that lesson, and maybe to pick up a few new ones, as she and her four younger siblings, who are still relatively untainted by anti-Semitism, make their way through the Black Forest to a relative's house near Hamburg.
February 25, 2013 |
It's like watching a novel: all the intimacy, all the language, all the complexity of character, without having to turn a page. Nicholas Wright's engrossing, prize-winning play about the young van Gogh, Vincent in Brixton , is receiving a just-about-perfect production at the Walnut's Independence Studio under Kate Galvin's direction. Before he became the painter he became, Vincent van Gogh (Brian Cowden, who manages to sound Dutch and crazy and profoundly sweet all at once) lived for a short while in a London boardinghouse.
February 17, 2013 |
Frank and Dolores Ciaccio dance in the living room of the Norristown twin they have shared for 57 years. They are the picture of an old and comfortable love. "They don't do this in nursing homes," he says. "That's why I'm going to keep her here forever. " Frank knows about persevering. For decades, the 89-year-old has been better known by the nickname "Hank Cisco," Norristown's cheerleader-in-chief and honorary ambassador. About 10 years ago, Dolores, now 84, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
February 14, 2013 |
POSTELECTION pollsters with excess time on their hands sampled moviegoers to see which film they'd prefer to attend on Valentine's Day. "A Good Day to Die Hard" was the clear winner, capturing a 68 percent share, although "Safe Haven" with Josh Duhamel was the clear favorite among women. Date night may be problematic. Women might argue that "Die Hard" is not suited to Valentine's Day, men might counter that "Die Hard" started out as a holiday affair - the original was very much a Christmas movie.
February 13, 2013 |
NICHOLAS Sparks has a formula for his success. The best-selling author behind The Notebook , A Walk to Remember and Safe Haven - the most recent of Sparks' books to get the film treatment, starring Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel - spilled his secret during a recent stop in Philly: "Here's a hint: There's going to be two people, and they're going to fall in love. It's going to be [in] North Carolina. It's going to be a small town. " Voilà! A hit. OK, so there's more to crafting a signature Sparks romantic tragedy than that.
January 14, 2013
Pop Yo La Tengo Fade (Matador ***1/2) Yo La Tengo's continued relevance 27 years into their career is remarkable. The Hoboken trio of Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew have yet to release a bad album, and they've made a handful of great ones. Fade is one of them. With producer John McEntire of post-rock experimenters Tortoise, they've created an album that is intimate and thoughtful, urgent and fun. The band hasn't reinvented itself. No need, since Yo La Tengo's expertise in catchy, jangly rock, gentle acoustic folk-pop, and noisy feedback excursions allows endless room for triangulation.
January 10, 2013 |
Likely to be nominated for multiple Oscars on Thursday, Silver Linings Playbook offers an affectionate, true portrait of Philadelphia and the suburbs. It's arguably the best film ever made about our region. Silver Linings captures that affecting mix of grit and polish with tremendous warmth, the working-class roots and exceptional pride that are a hallmark of many neighborhoods where homes, no matter how cramped or nouveau grand, are tended like mansions. That specific sense of community extends throughout parts of the city and traverses both sides of the Delaware.
December 21, 2012 |
MARION COTILLARD has been working as an actress since she was a teenager, but it was her Oscar-winning performance as Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose" that brought her to the attention of American audiences - and Hollywood filmmakers. Since then she's worked with directors such as Michael Mann ("Public Enemies"), Woody Allen ("Midnight in Paris"), Steven Soderbergh ("Contagion") and Christopher Nolan ("Inception," "The Dark Knight Rises"). In "Rust and Bone," she returns to France for an intimate relationship movie about a whale trainer and the fighter who sort of nurses her back to health after an accident at the Sea World-like water show where she works.
November 18, 2012
This is a sweet story about a kind and outgoing Temple University freshman whose friend-winning smile resembled a walking ray of sunshine. It is also an uplifting story about a black boy from a devout Baptist family in North Philadelphia who beat the odds and won a scholarship to St. Joseph's Prep, where he excelled as a scholar-athlete. And it's a sad story about Haitian immigrant parents who fled the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere only to have their second son drown after being pulled out to sea while walking in knee-deep surf at a wealthy beach resort in South Jersey - the 19-year-old had never learned how to swim.
October 11, 2012 |
The increased popularity of cooking shows has paved the way for adventurous theaters to put on plays that experiment with food prep as live entertainment. Cooking serves as the way of life in Cooking with the Calamari Sisters , a comedically chaotic "live broadcast" of a cooking show at the Society Hill Playhouse. And a young couple in love bonds while making linguine on stage in a new musical adaptation of Love Story at the Walnut Street Theatre. If juggling love is one thing, juggling lyrics, melodies, and pasta ingredients in a live performance is quite another.