Every Other Sunday
Growing Up in the DarkBy: - Jul 25th, 2015
Before cinema or film noir on every other Sunday, the maid's day off, we went to the movies. On many levels I grew up in the dark.
Playwright John Guare at Barrington Stage
Updating His Adaptation of His Girl FridayBy: - Aug 01st, 2015
The renowned playwright John Guare was in Pittsfield recently for the first days of rehearsal of his play His Girl Friday. It is being directed by Julianne Boyd for Barrington Stage Company. He and others in the production met with the media for a lively give and take.
Marilyn Monroe – Declassified
Interview with Filmmaker Paul DavidsBy: - Aug 06th, 2015
Recently Jack Lyons met with filmmaker Paul Davids after a screening of his new documentary film Marilyn Monroe Declassified. It is due for theatrical release later this year.
Flick by Annie Baker at Gloucester Stage
Losing It at the MoviesBy: - Sep 01st, 2015
There is a distinctly Massachusetts flavor to Amherst based, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Annie Baker's Flick at Gloucester Stage Company. In two acts and just under three hours it takes a long and slow approach to making us care about minimum wage workers at a one screen movie theater on its last legs.
Exorcising Black Mass
Whitewashing the Bulgers and SouthieBy: - Sep 18th, 2015
Under a ton of makeup to get the look Johnny Depp is pretty good as Whitey Bulger. But, lets face it, when it comes to epic crime flicks he pales by comparison to Marlon Brando as Don Corleone in the Godfather. In directing Black Mass at best Scott Cooper is a Martin Scorsese or Mario Puzo wannabe.
The Bet Directed by Finola Hughes
End of Summer Teen FlickBy: - Sep 18th, 2015
As “the Bet” plays itself out in this lighthearted, sort of silly but sweet rite of passage movie, Libby, Addison’s mom, also begins to date again after the death of her husband of several years ago.
Steve Jobs The Movie
Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin Sort of AttachedBy: - Oct 08th, 2015
We've had book and film commentary on the legendary Steve Jobs. With the director of Slum Dog Millionaire directing and West Wing's Aaron Sorkin writing, one would have hoped for more insight. Great performances by Michael Fassbinder, Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels and Seth Rogen make the film worth seeing.
The Passion of Joan of Arc with Live Music
Donald Greig Devises a Score Presented at the Miller TheatreBy: - Oct 17th, 2015
Silent films of the 1920s began when the theatre lights dimmed and a conductor marched down the aisle He raised his baton, the curtains opened. On flashed the film accompanied by the orchestra. At the Miller Theatre, five singers entered the stage and as the film started, they sang.
At the Movies
The Martian, Bridge of Spies, EverestBy: - Oct 19th, 2015
Last week we binged at the movies. This included The Martian, Bridge of Spies, and Everest. They are all likely to be award winners in various categories but overall we found Everest to be most compelling and entertaining.
Hollywood and the Media
Spotlight and TruthBy: - Dec 04th, 2015
The investigative stories depicted in "Spotlight" and "Truth" although based on events that occurred not that long ago represent that last gasp of the tradition of great American journalism. Beyond entertainment these films raise issues about the ever diminished means by which we get the news.
2015 in the Arts
Hiphopera, Tap, Berkshires and BeyondBy: - Jan 02nd, 2016
In some of the most exciting and insightful productions and performances of the year there was a notable cross pollination and invention as vernacular street cultures and indigenous art forms conflated into high art. Classic works were not just revived but reinvented from the insight out. The best works of 2016 raised the bar through risk taking and challenging audiences. These rare experiences tend to make the majority of what we experience ordinary and enervating. In an era signified by ubiquitous standing ovations what is truly worthy of special recognition?
Shaz Khan Star of the Feature Film Moor
Annual Palm Springs International Film FestivalBy: - Jan 04th, 2016
One of the largest film festivals in North America is the annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF), now in its 27th year. This year my focus is “Award Buzz” film entries. These films have an opportunity to be considered as candidates for Oscar nominations in the category of “Best Foreign Film for 2015.
One for the AgesBy: - Jan 14th, 2016
What's left when a great director extracts the heart and soul of an actor through a stunning performance? Brando was never the same after Last Tango. Is there any gas in the tank for DiCaprio after being mauled and mangled in the stunning epic The Revenant?
Stellar Female Performances 2015
Focus on Outstanding ActressesBy: - Jan 20th, 2016
Four especially penetrating films focused on women that articulate a wide-ranging cultural critique. Taken together their impact should be nothing less than profound. “Room,” “Brooklyn,” “Carol” and “45 Years” have rightfully received their nomination due in the awards in advance of the Oscars. Their impact has been amplified with greater complexity by the indie jewel “Tangerine,” giving us more reason for rejoicing.
Palm Springs International Film Festival
Oscar PreviewsBy: - Jan 22nd, 2016
“Son of Saul” is Hungary’s Official Oscar Submission and the buzz on the street says it’s a strong candidate to take home the Oscar. Actually, I’m voting for “Labyrinth of Lies” as Best Foreign Film with “Son of Saul” as the alternate.
Another Blockbuster Film FestivalBy: - Feb 22nd, 2016
Berlin just concluded the February 11 - 21, 2016 Berlinale by presenting 434 international films and more than 300.000 tickets were sold. Perhaps for the first time, a documentary film received the most coveted Golden Bear, 'Fuocoammare,' by Gianfranco Rosi. A thread of 'the right to happiness' was woven into the selection of movies, as there were also most serious subject matters in 15 categories. Two demanded much of the audience, time wise: They were 8 and 11 hours long.
Overview of Two Oscar Winners
Revenant and Son of SaulBy: - Mar 03rd, 2016
Two of the most highly acclaimed films of this awards season have been Alejandro González Iñárritu's “The Revenant” and László Nemes’s “Son of Saul.” Oscars went to Iñárritu for Directing, Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Actor and Emmanuel Lubezki for Cinematography. Nemes’s “Son of Saul” won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Both films center on a protagonist in unimaginable torment. One survives through an obsession with vengeance, the other through an obsession with atonement.
Actress Irina Maleeva
Appears in The Meddler with Susan SarandonBy: - Apr 15th, 2016
Irina Maleeva, born in Bulgaria but who has lived in the United States for over 40 years, started her movie career at the tender age of 14 while living in Italy. She was discovered by famed filmmaker Federico Fellini and went on to work with some of the premiere filmmakers including Orson Welles.
NY Philharmonic Performs Chaplin's City Lights
Classic Movie with Superb ScoreBy: - May 19th, 2016
Alan Gilbert, Music Director of the New York Philharmonic has an uncanny knack for programming. Extending the ideas of where music does and does not belong in the classic/classical repertoire and how it should be produced. He has brought us semi-staged operas, adventuresome new music and live performance of film scores that were written to be heard live while the film is screened. City Lights, quintessential Chaplin, was accompanied by Chaplin's own score, played by the Philharmonic. The score had been restored and reconstructed by the conductor, Timothy Brock.
Weiner the Film
Entertaining Film Doesn't RevealBy: - May 23rd, 2016
Anthony Weiner may have revealed all on Twitter, but the film about his attempted political comeback as he ran for Mayor of New York in 2013 does not. It is an entertaining film. Weiner is more self-aware than many politicians, but the fact that he thinks he can behave in a style that forced his resignation from Congress apparently did not stop him from continuing that behavior. Politicians are like teenagers. You can warn them, but even after Gary Hart, they think: I am not vulnerable.
The Man Who Knew Infinity
Biopic Stars Jeremy Irons and Dev PatelBy: - May 27th, 2016
The superb Jeremy Irons stars as the brilliant, eccentric, and passionate Cambridge University mathematics professor G. H. Hardy. When Hardy is confronted with the mathematics genius of a young twenty-five year- old completely self-educated Indian student from Madras, named S. Ramanujan (stoically and poignantly played by Dev Patel) Hardy’s faith and passion for his chosen profession is put the test.
Updating the Jason Bourne Series
Matt Damon Returns to ThrillerBy: - Aug 19th, 2016
Critical reception has been generally mixed. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the flick 3 and one-half stars out of a possible four. I think he was very generous.
Cafe Society by Woody Allen
Nostalgic Journey Back to the 1930sBy: - Aug 19th, 2016
“Café Society” written and directed by Allen, once again, takes us on a nostalgic journey backward in time to the 1930s. Gorgeously photographed by Academy Award- winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro who makes the New York romantic sequences a picture-perfect post card truly ‘made for a boy and a girl’, as the lyrics say in Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers’ iconic song tribute to the Big Apple in “I’ll Take Manhattan”.
Summer at the Movies
Some You Might Have MissedBy: - Aug 27th, 2016
A number of quirky little subversive gems a made for a delightful summer. “The Lobster” had only a limited release in March and came into the theaters of middle America at the end of May, making it, by default, a summer movie for those of us not living in New York or LA. Then came “Swiss Army Man,” “Wiener-Dog,” “Captain Fantastic” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.”
A Man Called Ove: Grace of Community
Film by Swedish Director Hannes HolmBy: - Oct 28th, 2016
Adapted from Frederik Backman's 2012 novel and a 2017 Academy Awards selection for Best Foreign Language Film, "A Man Called Ove" is a moving portrait of a man whose suppressed emotion manifests in curmudgeonly bluster.