No one in the world can possibly appreciate the way the narrator of the new Coen Brothers picture, Sir Michael Gambon — the man who once declined the role of James Bond because, quoth he, “I’ve got tits like a woman” — says “in westerly Malibu” as much as I do. But just about everyone seems to like the movie. I do, too. My NPR review is here.
I spent a midwinter day and evening taking in two, two, two big productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, from WSC Avant Bard and the Folger Theatre. I reviewed the experience for this week’s unusually me-heavy Washington City Paper.
Posted in theatre
Tagged Aaron Posner, Adam Wesley Brown, Erin Weaver, Folger Theatre, Holly Twyford, Jenna Berk, play reviews, Randy Baker, The Washington CIty Paper, Washington City Paper, William Shakespeare, WSC Avant Bard
Among my other inspired headline ideas was the immortal “Race, Horse.” Washington City Paper editor-in-chief Steve Cavendish came up with the winning entry: “Crime Doesn’t Neigh.” Bravo, Steve. Herewith, my reviews of Studio’s Between Riverside and Crazy, the 2015 Pulitzer winner from Stephen Adly Guirgis, and Constellation’s new production of Peter Shaffer’s Equus.
I couldn’t make the Monday-night press premiere of Shakespeare Theatre Company’s twofer of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Critic and Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound last week, as I am teaching the Sweet Science on Monday nights this season. But I caught up with the show later in the week and my Washington City Paper review went up this afternoon. Stoppard’s play, especially, makes the pain of hackery burn more than usual.
It’s a split verdict from the Pop Culture Happy Hour panel this week on the merits of Quentin Tarantino’s eighth and—on account of having been shot in 65mm Super Panavision, for a 2.76:1 aspect ratio when projected in 70mm—widest feature, The Hateful Eight. I don’t think I was at my sharpest trying to defend the picture. All I can tell is you that I saw its refusal to give us any character to empathize with fully as a strength, not a weakness, and reflective of a deliberate decision by Tarantino. Although more modest in scale and contained in its setting, this is a more complicated film than the two historical fantasias that preceded it, 2009’s Inglorious Basterds and 2012’s Django Unchained. I enjoy and admire all of these films, but it’s very clear in the latter two who is supposed to enjoy the audience’s support. Not so in The Hateful Eight. That discomfiture ain’t for everyone. “The viewership for this one narrows to the self-selected,” wrote my pal Scott Tobias in his NPR review three weeks ago.
Posted in movies, podcasts
Tagged Charlton Heston, Emeric Pressburger, Jack Cardiff, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kurt Russell, Michael Powell, podcasts, Pop Culture Happy Hour, Quentin Tarantino, Samuel L. Jackson, Scott Tobias
I brought my folks to Signature Theatre’s reverent, rapturous production of the Broadway classic West Side Story the week before Christmas, but due to vagaries related to two issues falling on holidays between then and now, my Washington City Paper review is only now surfacing. I filed on time, dammit. At least I think I did. Who can remember anything from before Christmas now? Holiday-time usually brings a conventional but deeply satisfying revival of a proven crowd favorite, and this winter, West Side Story is the one to beat.