Monthly Archives: February 2012

44 posts

The Weekly Listicle: Considers the Musical Biopic


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With the recent death of Whitney Houston, it’s only a matter of time before we hear rumors about pre-pre-production of a biopic about her life that will never come out. The musical biopic is an ever-present and often popular genre in film, even if many of them reek of template. […]

Book Review: Some of My Lives: A Scrapbook Memoir by Rosamond Bernier


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Rosamond’s very early experiences with the great and famous were connected with her father’s love for music. Because he headed the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Orchestra, she went often to rehearsals and concerts as a child, and when conductors and soloists were invited to Sunday luncheons at the Rosenbaum’s regularly, she was enthralled by their artistic talk and liberated manners. Among those she encountered and admired then were Otto Klemperer. Nathan Milstein, Jose Iturbi, Eugene Ormandy among others. So collecting her anecdotal tales of their eccentricities and foibles began even then. She even speaks of the Philadelphia Orchestra as “her extended family.”

Movie Review: The Secret World of Arrietty


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Studio Ghibli, the company responsible for such well-loved animated pictures as Ponyo, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away, has done it again. It’s just sort of a different “it.” Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty is based on Mary Norton’s 1952 children’s book The Borrowers. The combination of a British children’s story and Japanese setting make the movie a very odd combination of cultural artifacts and wrinkles in time.

Movie Review: This Means War


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Two CIA agents, FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy), who are both dashingly handsome and deadly in a fight, are best friends and partners who would never ever let anything come between them. Then something comes between them: a woman, of course. Tuck meets Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) through an online dating site after discovering his ex-wife has begun dating. Tuck and Lauren hit it off immediately; she’s captivated by his British accent and trapeze skills, he’s smitten by her looks and sense of humor.

100 Greatest Gangster Films: Prizzi’s Honor, #89


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It makes our Top 100 because of its cast. But of all the movies portraying Italian-American gangsters in this book, we have to say that we’d rank this one as the most offensive to Italian-Americans.

Less Than Kind by Terence Rattigan: Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, England.


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It’s Rattigan’s attempt to take the basic Hamlet situation and write a play which is both funnier (more jokes and stronger sense of the ludicrous in life) and more serious (more realistic and less willing to solve everything with corpses.) If you’ll allow him the chutzpah, it’s much more fun than it sounds.

Dance Review: NYCB Offers Wheeldon’s Les Carillons and DGV


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The ability to enjoy DGV seems to me largely dependent on how irritating one finds Michael Nyman’s driving minimalist score. The piece (MGV: Musique à Grande Vitesse) was composed at the request of a European railroad company; and if Nyman’s music may at first express the ratcheting excitement of being propelled forward at high-speeds, it soon comes to convey instead the tedium of a long train ride.

Video Game Review: NeverDead


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The misused and undercooked immortality concept could have been much more than the result, but it’s at least a solid first step in a unique direction. This is exactly the type of game that needs a sequel to hammer out some fundamental problems, add depth, and plant seeds for a unique tale to develop, but the “Eh, it’s alright I guess” overall quality will most likely prevent that from ever happening.

House Recap: ‘Chase’ (Season 8, Episode 12)


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There’s an elegiac tone about tonight’s broadcast, the first episode to air since it was announced that this is, indeed, the final season of House. We’re entering the final countdown, and with a suitably dark episode.

The Walking Dead Recap: “Nebraska” (Season 2, Episode 8)


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The Walking Dead resurrected last night for the second half of its much-bemoaned second season. (I’m sorry, I can’t help it. Zombies beg for puns.) The first half of the season was frustratingly slow, and ended in a hail of gunfire that injected some necessary action. Are our survivors finally […]

Art Review: Van Gogh Up Close, Philadelphia Museum of Art


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Indeed, if you can manage it in the crowded museum galleries, select a painting, perhaps Wheatfield from 1888, with its characteristic high horizon line. Study it from across the room. Then move closer and you will see an amazing transformation, an act of alchemy, in which the inner life of plants, trees, underbrush, even clouds and drops of rain are revealed.

Movie Review: The Vow


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Seeing The Vow primarily through Leo’s eyes is probably the film’s biggest problem. Paige just had the last five years of her life wiped out and that is inherently more fascinating than a man who wants to win back his wife. The fear, the confusion, the distrust that Paige experiences on a daily basis is a superior story to one man’s quest to prove his love.

Movie Review: Safe House


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Safe House is the latest CIA shoot ‘em up to come out of Hollywood and although it falls back on very generic action pic conventions, it still manages to fit in a few exciting moments in an overall decent movie.