Monthly Archives: May 2014

Mash Note: Lucky Them, reviewed.

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My review of Lucky Them, wherein the great Toni Collette plays a rock journalist assigned to write about her former lover, is up at The Dissolve now.

No Guilty Pleasures: Talking with alt-country chanteuse Lydia Loveless

Lydia Loveless (Patrick Crawford/Blackletter)

I spoke with the great singer-songwriter (and Ke$ha song-improver) Lydia Loveless for the Washington City Paper’s Arts Desk in advance of her show at the 9:30 Club Saturday night in support of Old 97’s, (sic) one of my favorite bands. Read a gently edited transcript here.

When the 97’s last came through town, in October 2012, I had a really good talk with their frontmanRhett Miller. In 2008 I talked to their second singer-songwriter, Murry Hammond, too.

Rebel Without a Horse: Age of Uprising, reviewed.

Mads Mikkelsen in "Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas"

Sometimes even very strong films can be a chore to sit through. My review of Arnaud des Pallières’ 2013 Palme d’Or nominee Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas, starring Danish actor/prop Mads Mikkelsen, is up at The Dissolve today.

Freud Where Prohibited: The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and Freud’s Last Session, reviewed, plus some Frank (Britton) discussion.

In today’s Washington City Paper, I review two plays that mull over free will and the existence of God, both of which feature Sigmund Freud as a character. The better of the pair, Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, features a towering performance from Frank Britton as Pontius Pilate.

Around 2:15 Tuesday morning, after he’d left the cast party that followed Judas‘ opening-night performance, Britton was assaulted and robbed by four or five unidentified attackers near the Silver Spring Metro stop. He underwent surgery at Holy Cross Hospital to treat a broken cheekbone. Britton does not have medical insurance. A crowdfunding campaign to cover his hospital bills (donate here) has raised over $45,000 so far.
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Back to the Future (Past), or You Can’t Keep a Good X-Man Down

I enjoyed X-Men: Days of Future Past, Bryan Singer’s return after a decade-long absence to the surprisingly resilient superhero franchise he originated. This movie is based on a 1981 story from The Uncanny X-Men comic book that I first read when it was reprinted in probably 1989 or 1990.

The movie alters the tale as necessary to unite the cast of 2011’s 60s-set X-Men: First Class with the players from the earlier X-pictures, set in the present day — or rather, as a title card at the top of 2000’s X-Men tells us, “the not-too-distant future.” I’d feared this timeline-straddling — Days of Future Past is set in some unspecified year in the 2020s, -ish, and in 1973 — might make the movie as dull and incoherent as the Star Wars prequels, but it’s funny and light on its feet.

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Infrared Dawn: On the James Webb Space Telescope in the July 2014 issue of Air & Space / Smithsonian

An illustration of the James Webb Space Telescope. Courtesy of NASA.

And now for something completely different, and completely intimidating — at least initially. The current issue of Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine has my first-ever astronomy story, about the James Webb Space Telescope, the remarkable $8.8 billion dollar replacement for the aging Hubble Space Telescope.

As JWST orbits the Earth from a million miles away, its six-meter mirror of gold-coated beryllium will collect light that’s fainter, farther away, and billions of years older than we’ve ever been able to see, showing us some of the earliest objects that formed in the universe after the Big Bang. As with most of NASA’s flagship projects, JWST has taken longer and cost far more than NASA had said and Congress had hoped. It’s now set for launch in October 2018. Continue reading

Just Like Starting Over: The Love Punch, reviewed.

Timothy Spall, Celia Imrie, Emma Thompson, and Pierce Brosnan in "The Love Punch." (Etienne George)

My review of The Love Punch, a disappointing romantic caper featuring the appealing pairing of Emma Thompson and Pierce Brosnan, is up now at The Dissolve. Somebody give these two a better movie to costar in, stat.

Timothy Spall, Celia Imrie, Emma Thompson, and Pierce Brosnan in The Love Punch. (Etienne George)