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Film

  • Seventh Seal

    Playing Chess with Death

    By: Charles Giuliano - Mar 14th, 2020

    Recently, on Turner Classic Movies, I saw Ingmar Bergman’s iconic 1957 film Seventh Seal. That was before the death of the actor Max Von Sydow or the widening global pandemic. Yet again there is the contrast of art and artifice. Art is a means of navigating the collape of the American Empire in real time and vivid color. When this passes what will be left of our arts, culture and way of life? How will we pick up the pieces of a new order? Will the elections of 2020 be yet another cancellation? Is this Apocalypse Now?

  • Lawrence Brownlee and Friends

    Lyric Opera of Chicago Streams a Virtual Concert

    By: Susan Hall - Jul 28th, 2020

    Lawrence Brownlee is an ambassador of song. He is not only a great bel canto tenor, but also leader in discussions on our racial divide. Identifying as a descendant of Africans and a person of dark skin tone, he has mentored young singers and helped direct the conversation on race in the arts and in the world about us. Yet he does not like the designation of Ella Fitzgerald as part of Black Heritage, her position on a postage stamp. Rather he sees her as a great American singer. Blacks are part of a larger community, not self-segregated.

  • Irish Repertory Theatre Streams Love, Noel

    Steve Ross and KT Sullivan Delight

    By: Susan Hall - Aug 12th, 2020

    Players Club ,where the Irish Repertory production of Love, Noel is set, seems like just the right elegant space. Edwin Booth felt he had to make up for the assassination of Lincoln by his brother. Booth realized that a club where actors could socialize with the elite and elevate their status from rabble-rousers to artists was what New York needed. In 1888, he founded The Players Club at 16 Gramercy Park South together with fifteen other incorporators, including Mark Twain and General William Tecumseh Sherman. Players is the oldest club in New York City that’s still in its original location. Love, Noel graced its halls.

  • Without Gorky a Netflix Documentary

    Film by the Artist's Granddaughter Cosima Spender

    By: Martin Mugar - Aug 27th, 2020

    The artist of Armenian heritage, Matin Mugar, reviewed "Without Gorky" in 2012. Cosima Spender filmed the tragic story of her grandfather the surrelist/abstract expressionist artist Arshile Gorky. He came to America as a survivor of the Armenian Genocide in which his mother died from starvation. Growing up in Watertown as a young artist he took the name Gorky and denied his heritage remaining distant with little contact to relatives. His wife Agnes, then in her late 80s, convyed memories of terrible suffering and its impact on their two daughters.; particularly coming to terms with his suicide. Gorky was among the greatest artists of his generation. This superb and compelling documentary is now featured on Netflix.

  • Hidden Figures a 2017 Gem

    Streaming This Month on FX

    By: Jack Lyons - Sep 02nd, 2020

    Set in 1961 “Hidden Figures”, centers around the true and factual story of three brilliant African-American female mathematicians who worked at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, during America’s odious Jim Crow Law era – from 1887 to 1964. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 finally nullified the repellent second-class distinction Jim Crow law, by recognizing that all citizens of America are to be accorded full and equal protection under the law authorized by the US Constitution.

  • I’m Thinking of Ending Things

    Daunting Charlie Kaufman Film on Netflix

    By: Charles Giuliano - Sep 06th, 2020

    Charlie Kaufman's "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" is being touted as one of the best new films of what proves to be a rather thin year. It is available on Netflix. You will need to see it at least twice. The first time to immerse in its convoluted twists and turns. Then, read the reviews, and follow the clues to figure out what the heck it is all about. Trust me, this is a work of genius, and while at times agonizingly, enervating and slow, it's well worth the time and effort.

  • Demi Moore as GI Jane

    An Oldie but Goodie

    By: Jack Lyons - Sep 09th, 2020

    When the 1997 movie “G.I. Jane” was released women in Israel were already hardened combat veterans. In the US. Military, however, women trying to integrate the male dominated ranks of combat soldiers were met with severe resistance from the heads of the armed forces. “Women will become a distraction and a liability in combat. Combat requires physical strength as well as stamina to handle the rigors of war and combat”.

  • More on Alex Ross, Wagnerism

    Ross Captures The Meister's Voice

    By: Susan Hall - Sep 14th, 2020

    Alex Ross’s depiction of Wagner in America, in his new work "Wagnerism," is focused at the start on the author Willa Cather. Ross finds Cather and Thomas Mann the most musically educated and sophisticated of the many literary figures who infused their work with the ideas of the Meister. The boundless scope of a work, its inclusion of ancient myth made present, and leitmotifs bound together to organize a story, are key elements of the Wagner style.

  • Royal Ballet Company

    PBS Great Performances

    By: Jack Lyons - Sep 19th, 2020

    Classical ballet as performed by England’s Royal Ballet Company in this new film version by filmmakers Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, feature two new sublime, glittering, and accomplished principal dancers.

  • Black Words Matter from New Federal Theatre

    Poetry Jam

    By: Susan Hall - Sep 22nd, 2020

    Leave it to Woodie King, Jr. mastermind of the now fifty years young New Federal Theatre, to get our new streamed delivery form better than anyone else (Irish Repertory Theater excepted). For two evenings, starting on September 21 and then on September 28, the NFT is presenting Poetry Jams. The first one, hosted by Rev. Rhonda Akanke' McLean-Nur is a marvel of commonplace images elevated to song. The Reverend at first sees herself as strong black women in history. She admits that neither she nor the Queen of the Nile bear much resemblance to Elizabeth Taylor.for starters.

  • Images Cinema in Williamstown

    Update on Lockdown

    By: Doug Jones - Oct 07th, 2020

    Images Cinema, an art house in Williamstown. has been shut down going on eight months. Here is an update from executive director, Doug Jones.

  • The Weir by Conor McPherson

    Irish Repertory Theatre Screens Performance

    By: Susan Hall - Jul 27th, 2020

    The Irish Repertory Theatre has come up with the perfect play to stream. The Weir is a quintet, Four men living in a remote Irish country town are joined by a pretty woman from Dublin. Stories are told by four characters and the camera focuses on them during the telling. The scene broadens to include reactions. Sometimes Director Ciarán O’Reilly has an actor face the camera, deeply involving us in the drama.

  • Downton Abbey the Movie

    Sequel to PBS Series

    By: Jack Lyons - Jul 15th, 2020

    Just how successful was the popular TV series phenomena known as “Downton Abbey”? Mind boggling and totally entertaining and one of the most endearing and engagingly written Masterpiece Theatre/ BBC co-productions in the history of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). It ran for six seasons with audiences clamoring for Julian Fellowes to write another season. He authored all 70 episodes of the series.

  • Documentaries on Art and Design

    What to Stream When Home Alone

    By: Mark Favermann - Apr 02nd, 2020

    Most of us are now hunkered down and isolated, inundated by 24/7 news coverage of depressing medical and economic conditions, compounded by failed White House leadership. To lighten our burden, just a bit, here is a list, with thumbnail reviews, of nine excellent documentary films about architecture and design.

  • Showtimes Streams Mary Magdalene

    Biblical Tale with Feminist Twist

    By: Jack Lyons - May 01st, 2020

    Showtime recently screened the intriguing 2018 movie “Mary Magdalene”, written by Helen Edmundson and Phillipa Goslett, directed by Garth Davis. This provocative, revisionist, version (with undertones of the current worldwide feminism movement) gives one the opportunity to think outside the accepted “biblical box” concerning the role of women in history both religiously and socially.

  • Translating Movies into Opera

    Why Operatic Movies Fail on Stage

    By: Susan Hall - Jun 07th, 2020

    It is tempting for current composers of new opera to use films as a jumping off place. In two recent efforts, the creative artists miss the strength of the film's story arc and flatten their effort to create opera. Marnie at the Metropolitan Opera (and English National Opera) and Breaking the Waves (Opera Philadelphia) both overlook the strengths which provide drama in the films on which they are based.

  • HERE Presents Disposable Men

    James Scruggs Multi-faceted Picture of Black Men

    By: Susan Hall - Jun 10th, 2020

    HERE has always been on the cutting edge of multi-disciplinary art. In 2005, they produced Disposable Men by James Scruggs. Scruggs presented the black man as the object of fear in communities. People in turn rise up against innocent men of color. Amadou Diallo, shot 41 times on his doorstep in New York in February 1999 is Scruggs' jumping off point.

  • Palm Springs ShortFest

    Upcoming Virtual Festival

    By: Jack Lyons - Jun 12th, 2020

    For the first time in the festival’s history, ShortFest, will not host an in-person event. Instead, the Palm Springs ShortFest, one of the most prestigious film festivals and the largest film market for short films in the world, remains undaunted and will present a ‘virtual festival’ that will run from June 16 through June 22, 2020.

  • MoMA Streams "Right On" from The Last Poets

    Produced by Woodie King Jr and Directed by Herbert Danska

    By: Susan Hall - Jun 11th, 2020

    MoMA is streaming a restored print of Right On!, a classic film released in the early 1970s. Featuring The Last Poets, we are taken back to the origins of Hip Hop and of the first presentation of black culture by blacks. Felice Luciano, one of the original poets, speaks briefly about the prophetic poetry of the group. Fifty years ago they predicted today.

  • Joseph Nechvatal’s Art Springs From Algorithms

    Viral Venture Online at White Page Gallery

    By: Jessica Robinson - Jun 15th, 2020

    Long before we had heard of, or even imagined, viruses like Covid-19, Post-Minimal painter, multi-media artist and art theoretician Joseph Nechvatal was generating them. Not the contagious types, but computer-robotic assisted ones.

  • Man in an Orange Shirt

    Vanessa Redgrave in Britich Film

    By: Jack Lyons - Jun 16th, 2020

    The real beauty of this engaging, powerful and achingly poignant film lies in the performances of its sublime ensemble cast. They’re experienced, talented, and spot-on in their portrayals, and all are in the thrall of the great 80-year-old (when she made the film) Vanessa Redgrave. The great ones never seem to lose that special gift of star quality.

  • MOMA Streams Salacia by Tourmaline

    Transgender Life in 1830 Seneca Village

    By: Susan Hall - Jun 25th, 2020

    Salacia is a short film made by Tourmaline, a transgender artist who discovered a compatriot in a New York City Village located in Manhattan in 1830. It was one of the few places in America that black people could own land and vote. It was taken by eminent domain to make way for Central Park.

  • Kendall Messick's The Projectionist

    An Outsider Artist's Secret World

    By: Jessica Robinson - Jul 09th, 2020

    How one man lovingly – and obsessively - constructed his very own movie palace in the basement of his suburban home.

  • Howardena Pindell at The Shed

    Artist, Filmmaker, Curator Brings Black Experience Close

    By: Susan Hall - Oct 22nd, 2020

    Howardena Pindell exhibits at the Shed. "Working on my commission for the Shed has been a very rewarding and healing experience. It allowed meto conceptualize an idea as a result of an experience I had as a child. I put it forth as a performance piece to a group of white women artists at the AIR Gallery where I was a founder in the early 1970s. They turned it down. I was the only non-white member of the gallery.

  • Summer at the Movies

    Some You Might Have Missed

    By: Nancy S. Kempf - 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.”

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