Tag Archives: cinema

Another Tango in Paris After That Supposedly Last One: Simon Killer, reviewed.

Brady Corbet & Mati Diop

Brady Corbet & Mati Diop

My review of Simon Killer, writer/director Antonio Campos’s second feature film, is in the Village Voice today. Total Recall joke deleted, but the Blow-Up and Taxi Driver and Rushmore allusions (and the Rush Hour 3 joke!) remain. Film critics are terrible people. Read it here. Continue reading

He Is Marshall: Laurence Fishburne does Thurgood Justice

You could be forgiven for being a little wary of Thurgood, George Stevens, Jr.’s one-man stage biography of the Hon. Thurgood Marshall, as performed by Laurence Fishburne. What’re the odds a grade school-to-grave account of the life of the first African American to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, boasting a star of such Zen-like solemnity that you totally believed him about us all being pickled, hairless pod-dwellers plugged unawares inside The Matrix, could be anything more than plodding hagiography? Great for high school history and government classes, but nothing made with such worthy intentions could possibly be any fun. Right?

Sez you. Point one, Fishburne, reprising his role from a Broadway run two summers ago, is as impish and avuncular as he is authoritative. Whether lurching across the stage with on a cane or channeling LBJ’s puffed-up, Lone Star imperiousness, he’s a captivating presence for every second of this 95-minute monologue. Point two, the story of Marshall’s life — one Stevens seems to have taken a strict-constructionist, if anecdotal, approach to interpreting — is simply a hell of a story, so rich in incident and character (and names — his Uncle Fearless gets a lot of play here) and humor and triumph that it seems too good to be true. Continue reading

Patterson Hood, waiting for a Happy Ending

That’s not KISS, it’s the great and good Drive-By Truckers, having a little fun last Halloween. My interview with frontman Patterson Hood about The Secret to a Happy Ending, the new DBT doc by Maryland filmmaker Barr Weisman that will have its world premiere Sunday at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre, went up over at DCist yesterday. Patterson and I spoke on Jan. 29 of this year, as the film was supposed to debut three weeks ago, but it snowed a little.

As always, Patterson was a delight to speak with, giving up more good material than I could possibly use at one time. I’ve heard The Big To-Do, the Truckers album due on March 16, and it’s predictably superior. (Sample cut “This Fucking Job” is representative.) As ever, Mike Cooley’s songs have emerged as my early favorites.

Unlisted.

I’m not much of a list guy. Because it’s universally agreed we’ve just closed out a year, and somewhat more controversially posited that we have in fact, cut the lights and bolted the door on an an entire decade, critics both pro and semi- have been gunking up the interwebs with their lists of the year and decade’s best movies, albums, songs, whatever.

I get it. People read these. Moreover, unless one takes the list-making enterprise to an absurd extreme, lists are the easiest things in the world to write. The biggest problem of writing — structure — is already solved for you.

I tend to react more strongly, to movies, plays, albums, and concerts than most people I know. (Yes, I read, but I seldom get around to books in the year they’re published). But to the list-making, I am resistant. Maybe if I’d made a few more lists I’d have got myself somewhere in life by now. But that’s all spilled milk under the bridge. Continue reading

An As You Like It Gone Hollywood

Francesca Faridany’s Rosalind and John Behlmann’s Orlando.

All the world’s a stage, except when it’s a film set.

The Shakespeare Theatre’s new production of As You Like It, the philosophizing romantic comedy set largely in a curative mystical forest, has adopted the trappings of an altogether different wood, one that no one ever accused of being good for you. (That’d be the one that starts with Holly.) The show begins ingeniously as a flickering silent film with title cards, but quickly assumes the props and types of a modern movie shoot, with boom-mic operators and cameramen and headset-wearing production assistants scurrying between scenes. We even hear Ted van Griethuysen growl “Cut!” now and again. Continue reading

Sometimes the Movie Is as Good as the Book: Nick Hornby Interviewed, Part the Second

Nick Hornby photographed by Sigrid Estrada

I spoke with the the great novelist and essayist Nick Hornby about a month ago, just prior to his swing through Our Nation’s Capitol to promote his swell new novel Juliet, Naked, which we discussed at some length. His other current release, the film An Education, for which he wrote the screenplay, opens here in DC at the Landmark E Street Cinema tomorrow. I haven’t seen it yet, but the great and good Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune and At the Movies tells me it’s “awfully charming.”

Herewith, the second part of our conversation, wherein we discuss his thoughts on the movies derived from his books, favorite music of the moment, and wither The Believer. Continue reading

“Denmark,” Undead on Arrival

Amy Quiggins as Ofelia.

Amy Quiggins as Ofelia.

Years ago, when he started making movies in the United States, the great director of Hong Kong action films John Woo enumerated in an interview the many similarities between the brand of hyperkinetic shoot-‘em-ups in which he specialized, and musicals.

There’s nothing that revealing in director/fight choreographer Casey Kaleba’s production of playwright/fight choreographer — you begin to see the problem — Qui Nguyen’s Living Dead in Denmark, which picks up the story of Hamlet 1,828 days later. Elsinore has been overrun by zombies, and the self-slaughtering Ofelia (a limber Amy Quiggins) finds herself, like Jean Grey, mysteriously resurrected. Continue reading