• 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Teodor Currentzis Brings Verdi to The Shed

    Dramatic Performance Accompanied by Jonas Mekas Images

    By: Susan Hall - Nov 22nd, 2019

    The Verdi Requiem conducted by Teodor Currentzis with the musicAeterna Orchestra and Chorus is performed at The Shed through November 24. The McCourt is a grand space and can seat 1,250 and hold 2000 standing. Designed to be flexibly conformed, this performance has bleacher seats extending from the floor before the stage up to the rafters, or heavens if you will. This program's music is both other-worldly and very much in the now.

  • Obama’s Picks for Best Films

    Everyone’s a Critic

    By: Charles Giuliano - Dec 30th, 2019

    The conventional wisdom is that everyone is a critic. Which is an insult to those of us who pursue the difficult and complex craft. Why on earth would I give a fig about the year end movie list of former president Obama? I don't dabble in politics or take up brain surgery as a hobby. Having an opinion, and posting on social media, does not make you a critic.

  • An Almost Ordinary Summer

    Launches Palm Springs International Film Festival

    By: Jack Lyons - Jan 17th, 2020

    The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF), the third-largest film festival in America, began in 1989 as the dream of then Hollywood celebrity turned politician and former Mayor Sonny Bono, who had a dream of making his city a focal point for the motion picture industry by launching an annual film festival.

  • Dutch Thriller Instinct

    At Palm Springs International Film Festival

    By: Jack Lyons - Jan 17th, 2020

    This year another Dutch film is in the Oscar hunt. It is a powerful, psychological, provocative thriller called “Instinct”. It’s set in a prison where a newly arrived, experienced psychologist Nicoline, (rivetingly played by Carice van Houten) is assigned to the case file of serial sex offender Idris (a clever psychopath scarily portrayed by Marwan Kenzari).

  • Lincoln Center Great Performers' Mahler

    Surrounded by Concerts and Films

    By: Susan Hall - Feb 26th, 2020

    Lincoln Center's Great Performers surrounded us with Gustav Mahler for five days. In addition to a concert by Ivan Fischer conducting the Budapest Festival Orchestra, three films were offered.

  • Film: The 70th Berlinale 2020

    From February 20 - March 1

    By: Angelika Jansen - Mar 04th, 2020

    The 70th Berlinale, the huge international film festival in Berlin took place between February 20th and March 1st, 2020. Great expectations were put upon the new festival leaders, Carlo Chatrian (artistic director) and Mariette Rissenbeek (executive director).

  • Metropolis Ensemble Debuts at National Sawdust

    Ricardo Romaneiro's Score for Fritz Lang's Metropolis

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 11th, 2020

    Metropolis is a Grammy-nominated Ensemble founded by Andrew Cyr, who encourages artists to realize their bliss. The group was not named for the Fritz Lang film, but the temptation to take on this silent great must have been tantalizing. The live, electronic score by Ricardo Romaneiro was brilliant and brilliantly realized by the musicians. Cyr conducts.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Updating the Jason Bourne Series

    Matt Damon Returns to Thriller

    By: Jack Lyons - 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.

  • Shaz Khan Star of the Feature Film Moor

    Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival

    By: Jack Lyons - 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.

  • Revenant

    One for the Ages

    By: Charles Giuliano - 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 Actresses

    By: Nancy S Kempf - 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 Previews

    By: Jack Lyons - 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.

  • Berlinale 2016

    Another Blockbuster Film Festival

    By: Angelika Jansen - 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.

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