Monthly Archives: February 2015

On Around Town, talking King Hedley II, Mary Stuart, and Cherokee

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 3.29.40 PM On this trio of Around Town discussions, host Robert Aubry Davis, Washington Post arts writer Jane Horwitz and I dissect Arena Stage‘s powerful King Hedley II, Woolly Mammoth‘s meandering Cherokee, and Folger Theatre‘s intriguing Mary Stuart. (My Washington City Paper reviews of are here, here, and here, respectively.) I’m sorry my hair wasn’t as concise and insightful on this day as I strive at all times for it to be. Continue reading

Feline Fatale: The Lieutenant of Inishmore, reviewed.

Megan Dominy and Thomas Keegan in Constellation Theatre Company's proudction of Martin McDonagh's "The Lieutenant of Inishmore."

I reviewed Constellation Theatre Company‘s new production of Martin McDonagh‘s bloody 2001 farce The Lieutenant of Inishmore in today’s Washington City Paper. The fine Washington Post story I cite (by David Segal, not long after he’d handed off his gig as the paper’s pop music critic to my pal Josh du Lac) about the blood work in the play’s U.S. premiere back in 2006 is here.

Enter the Drag: Kung Fu Elliot, reviewed.

Elliot Scott, Blake Zwicker, and Linda Lum in "Kung Fu Elliot," a documentary by Matthew Bauckman & Jaret Belliveau.

 

Kung Fu Elliot, a documentary about a man who aspires to be the Canadian Chuck Norris, turns nasty enough quickly enough to calls its makers’ intentions into question. I reviewed the 2014 Slamdance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize-winner for Documentary Feature for The Dissolve.

WaPo Book Review: Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams, & Rumours

Stevie Nicks - Dreams, Visions, RumoursMy review of Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams, & Rumours, a new biography by British rock journalist Zoë Howe, is in today’s Washington Post.

Almost all of the music that shaped my taste at an impressionable age is contemporaneous with Fleetwood Mac‘s heyday – 1975 to 1989 or so – but I never got into that band though they’ve obviously written some sublime songs. I won’t pretend to have more than a passing familiarity with their catalog, but the ones I’ve always liked are Nicks’, especially “Landslide” and “Dreams,” their only No. 1 hit. Continue reading

Bleak-Ass House: King Hedley II and Cherokee, reviewed.: King Hedley II and Cherokee, reviewed.

(L to R) KenYatta Rogers as Mister and Bowman Wright as King in King Hedley II at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, February 6-March 8, 2015. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.My reviews of Arena Stage‘s unsparing new production of August Wilson‘s “century cycle” tragedy King Hedley II and Woolly Mammoth‘s premiere of Lisa D’Amour‘s shaky Cherokee are in today’s Washington City Paper, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away gratis.

Pop Culture Happy Hour #230: Jupiter Ascending and Chemistry

JUPITER ASCENDING

I was happy as always to join my buddies Linda Holmes, Stephen Thompson, and Glen Weldon on this week’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, wherein we dissect Jupiter Ascending, the “original” sci-fi epic from auteur siblings Lana and Andy Wachowski from which audiences flocked away in droves last weekend. (I reviewed the film for The Dissolve.) We also try to figure out what people mean when they talk about “chemistry” among performers onscreen. Continue reading

The Feminine Critique: Rapture, Blister, Burn, reviewed.

Maggie Irwin and Michelle Six in Round House Theatre's production of Gina Gionfriddo's "Rapture, Blister, Burn."

When I saw Round House Theatre‘s production of Becky Shaw two years ago, I found in Gina Gionfriddo a playwright whose humor and unpredictability made me want to read everything she’d written. I got the scripts for After Ashley and U.S. Drag, and I read them both during the same flight. My review of Round House’s new production of her latest – 2012’s Rapture, Blister, Burn – is in today’s Washington City Paper.

Video

On Around Town, talking Choir Boy, Life Sucks, and The Widow Lincoln.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 11.05.39 AM

http://watch.weta.org/viralplayer/2365420189

Three new Around Town play reviews means three new opportunities to attempt to smile on command and to speak in concise sentences that end rather than trail off. (I’ll keep working on it.) This time, host Robert Aubry Davis and Washington Post arts writer Jane Horwitz and I discuss Studio Theatre‘s Choir Boy, Theater J‘s Life Sucks, Or the Present Ridiculous, and Ford’s Theatre’s The Widow Lincoln. That’s two shows I liked a lot, respectively, plus one I liked, well, more than many others did. (My Washington City Paper reviews are here, here, and here.) I am informed that the Choir Boy video aired on WETA right after Downton Abbey last night. I would’ve worn my sport jacket to the taping had I known that would happen, if not a tuxedo and tails.

Continue reading

Gas Giant: Jupiter Ascending, reviewed.

Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis (Murray Close / Warner Bros.)

Sorry, you guys: Mercury Rising Jupiter Ascending, the Wachowskis’ latest sci-fi epic, is neither the trainwreck you want nor the home run you need. My review, for The Dissolve.

American-Chinese-Canadian Bacon: Outcast, reviewed.

Nicholas Cage & Hayden Christensen in "Outcast."

“You’re not the man you once were,” says the star of Star Wars II and III, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

“None of us are,” growls the Oscar winner for Leaving Las Vegas.

My review of Outcast is up at The Dissolve.

There’re Two Things About Mary: The Widow Lincoln and Mary Stuart, reviewed.

Mary Bacon and Caroline Clay as Mary Todd Lincoln  and Elizabeth Keckley in "The Widow Lincoln" at Ford's Theatre.

My reviews of The Widow Lincoln, a world premiere play from writer James Still at Ford’s Theatre, and of the Folger Theatre‘s new production of Mary Stuart, are in tomorrow’s Washington City Paper, and also right here.

FURTHER READING: My review of Still’s prior Lincoln play for Ford’s, The Heavens Are Hung in Black, from 2009. And my 2010 review of WSC Avant Bard‘s Mary Stuart.

The Best Movies of the Half-Decade, 2010-4: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori in Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel."And here’re Nos. 25-1 on the poll of the best films of 2010-4, as chosen by The Dissolve’s staff and contributors. I wrote the entry for The Grand Budapest Hotel. As with every Wes Anderson movie save for The Darjeeling Limited, I’ve loved it more each time I’ve seen it.

The Best Movies of the Half-Decade, 2010-4: Inherent Vice

IV POSTERThe Dissolve invited a bunch of its contributors to join its staff in selected the 50 best films made so far this decade. I ran out of time to submit my ballot, but I still did writeups for a couple of the winning films that I agreed belonged in the half-decade’s top 50. The first half of the list – or the bottom half – was posted today.

The one I wrote up for this part, Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Inherent Vice,came in at No. 48.