Movies arriving from overseas are the bread and butter of Filmfest DC, the annual tour of cinematic works Washingtonians would otherwise have little chance to see. The French drama “In the House,” one of the 80-plus features screening over the next ten days, is a prime example of the way this festival tries to stretch its audience’s boundaries while maintaining a program that’s accessible to inexperienced moviegoers. [Read more...]
Normally the Academy Award nominations are an annual opportunity for film fans to gripe about how out-of-touch the Hollywood establishment is with quality filmmaking. But something strange happened on the way to the red carpet this year: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences actually produced a decent and diverse crop of contenders. And theatre fans will find a fair amount to root for – or, depending on your taste in these mostly mass-appeal, stage-inspired nominees, against – come Feb. 24th.
Have you heard there’s a film version of “Les Misérables”?
Just kidding; of course you have. For the last several months the media bombardment preceding the Christmas day opening of this movie musical has been unprecedented. [Read more...]
At one point late in “Bachelorette,” Kirsten Dunst’s fiery yet weak-kneed creation inadvertently reveals an ugly old habit of hers to a near-total stranger. “I wanted to be beautiful,” she offers, by way of explanation. [Read more...]
The modern jukebox musical is here to stay. Broadway purists can either fight this continued re-appropriation of fizzy, carbonated songs and their respective eras like some kind of theatre plague, or they can embrace the Jersey Boy Within as a necessary evil of a medium that thrives on pre-stamped mass appeal. And heck, there’s always sport to be had from some good-natured retrospection, from asking why we worshipped these songs so. [Read more...]
The Academy Awards are almost upon us once again, and this Sunday night, the entire film industry will hold its breath while a bunch of old, white men tell us what they liked this year. Here, for the discerning theatergoer, is a stage-to-screen-to-Oscar guide to the most notable nominations (from our point of view, anyway). [Read more...]
Horror is a tricky genre for both stage and screen. It relies, perhaps more than any other genre, on emotion – evoking a gut-level, sometimes primal terror that makes the viewer forget, just for a moment, that they’re in a playhouse or movie theater. “The Woman in Black,” which opens today, aims to replicate the success of its literary and theatrical versions on the big screen – which would be no small feat, since the theatrical adaptation of The Woman in Black has been in continuous performance on London’s West End since 1989 (making it the second longest-running play in West End history, behind only Agatha Christie’s immortal The Mousetrap). [Read more...]
One of the few concrete tidbits we learn about German dance choreographer Pina Bausch over the course of the new 3-D documentary “Pina” is that she was a woman of few words. As should rightfully be expected from someone whose preferred mode of expression is bodily motion, she was of the opinion that dance expresses much more about the human condition than words ever can. [Read more...]
Glenn Close doesn’t play Albert Nobbs as a woman passing for a man – she plays the character as sexless. The straight-laced member of the waitstaff at Dublin’s Morrison Hotel keeps a tellingly low profile, lips sealed, spine arched, uttering few words, preferring the world to think of him – because Nobbs identifies as male throughout most of the film, I will use the pronoun “he” in this review - as little more than that funny young man in the background. [Read more...]
The London stage version won 2 Olivier Awards; it picked up 6 Tony Awards in New York.
But will you like the movie?
“War Horse” finds director Steven Spielberg melding together the two genres he’s most well known for: children’s fairy tale and epic, tragic war story. Under any other circumstances, a film about the improbable, family-friendly journey of one sad-eyed boy’s sad-eyed horse during the Great War would be a perfectly respectable by-the-numbers entry in the expansive catalogue of the 65-year old master. [Read more...]