March 8, 2015 |
Is there a more gorgeously depicted transformation in all of Western music than the last seven or eight minutes of Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos ? With the emotional intelligence of Mozart, the score moves from mystery and tension, through elation and serenity, into the bright radiance of human love. Strauss traverses a great distance so magically that Ariadne herself wonders out loud: Are we on the other side already? The beauty of that stretch stopped the opera's characters in their tracks Wednesday night in the Curtis Institute of Music's production, a welcome moment of introspection after all the silliness.
July 3, 2014 |
SOME NUMBERS to consider: $159 million, $134 million, $169 million. Those are the domestic box-office hauls of the last three movies ("The Heat," "Identity Thief" and "Bridesmaids") with substantial starring roles for Melissa McCarthy, so far be it from me to tell this woman how to go about her lucrative business. Of the "Bridesmaids" ladies, it's McCarthy who's gone on to be the breakout star. She's a screen natural with a vivid and unpredictable comic presence who is usually paired, for effect, with a straight-laced partner.
June 1, 2012 |
Marijuana brownies put the "high" in High School, a gleefully irresponsible comedy about a stunt that turns an entire campus into stoners. When an authoritarian principal (Michael Chiklis) mandates drug testing a few days before school ends, panicked valedictorian Henry (Matt Bush) enlists class burnout Travis (Sean Marquette) in a scheme to feed fortified brownies to the entire school, thus rendering the test results immaterial. Director John Stalberg Jr. stages the movie as an escalating slapstick comedy, gradually adding far-out characters (Adrien Brody as a unibomber-ish local dealer, Mykelti Williamson his henchman, so paranoid his name is Paranoid)
September 13, 2011 |
I'm still laughing. "What's the wherefore? / Every why got a wherefore. " And here's the wherefore of my laughing: The Bomb-itty of Errors , an Off-Broadway hit, then a Philly hit four years ago (nominated for seven Barrymores), is being reprised by 11th Hour Theatre Company. Written by Jordan Allen-Dutton, Jason Catalano, Gregory J. Qaiyum, Jeffrey Qaiyum and Erik Weiner (well, you didn't expect one guy to come up with two hours worth of rhymes, did you?), the show is directed by Megan Nicole O'Brien with hilarious precision, and DJ'ed by Mark Valenzuela.
July 21, 2011 |
Tuesday's attempted pieing of Rupert Murdoch during his testimony to the House of Commons was an outrage. As it was meant to be. It was also a failure. The assailant, stand-up comic Jonathan May-Bowles, or "Jonnie Marbles," got more shaving cream on himself than on Murdoch. He was restrained by bystanders, including Murdoch's wife, Wendi Deng, who has emerged a heroine, a stand-up woman. May-Bowles has emerged with shaving cream on his face. (He was charged Wednesday with "behavior causing harassment, alarm or distress in a public place.
January 14, 2011 |
You may have finished your holiday leftovers, but Hollywood is just getting started. Studios are starting to release movies deemed unfit for competition during the hotly contested months of November and December, which means (yikes) that somebody didn't think "The Dilemma" would hold up against "Little Fockers. " You probably agree if you've been watching the movie's dreadful TV commercials - several lame outtakes in search of a joke. It turns out, though, that "Dilemma" is not the lazy pile of bromance, buddy-movie slop it appears to be - it's much more ambitious than that, a lot darker, which explains why Oscar collaborators Ron Howard, (producer)
October 15, 2010 |
Beware, people: Flirtatious phone patter seems harmless enough - two strangers batting innuendos late into the night - but it can be hazardous to your health. One minute you're on the phone, separated from the husky-voiced gent by hundreds of miles. Next thing you know, you've been drugged and abducted, and folks are chasing you in cars and helicopters, shooting at you with guns and rockets. That's how things shake out for Mary-Louise Parker, anyway, gamely playing a lonely government pensions clerk in Red , a breakneck (for a time)
October 6, 2010
British slapstick comedian Norman Wisdom, 95, who was the only Western entertainer shown on Albanian television during the more than 40 grim years under dictator Enver Hoxha, died Monday on the Isle of Man after suffering a series of strokes. Albanians, from the country's current leader to citizens who lived under Communism, paid tribute to the man who made them laugh. Prime Minister Sali Berisha said he was "deeply saddened" at Mr. Wisdom's death. Mr. Wisdom was known in Albania for his role as Norman Pitkin, a clumsy underdog battling adversity, with his trademark cloth cap worn sideways.
August 20, 2010 |
In the buoyant urban fantasy Lottery Ticket , Kevin Carson (Bow Wow) is 18, lives with his grandma in the projects, and works at Foot Locker. He hopes one day to design sneakers. As the July Fourth weekend looms, lottery fever sweeps through the community. The jackpot has climbed to $370 million. His friends and neighbors are banking on the bank they are certain to win. Kevin? He tells his best friend, Benny (Brandon T. Jackson), that the lottery is a scheme "to keep poor people poor by selling them false dreams.
August 6, 2010 |
The Concert is a breakneck melodrama that milks laughs and wrings tears. In broadest outlines, this mistaken-identity crowd pleaser is about a janitor and onetime Russian symphony conductor, Andrei Filipov (Alexei Guskov), who belatedly completes a concert that was tragically interrupted. In 1980, during the Brezhnev regime's crackdown on Jews, Filipov refused to fire Jewish musicians from the Bolshoi Orchestra. As a result, as he conducted Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major , a Communist apparatchik broke Filipov's baton and his spirits.