Monthly Archives: March 2012

46 posts

Movie Review: Mirror Mirror

With Mirror Mirror, Singh makes a drastic departure from the dark, brooding territory covered in his previous films and instead sets his talents to work on a family-friendly, PG-rated adaptation of the classic Snow White fairytale. While it is admirable (and refreshing) to see an auteur like Singh challenge himself by choosing material markedly different from what he is used to, in the end Mirror Mirror fails to cohere into a satisfying experience, despite wonderful acting performances and Singh’s signature visual richness.

Movie Review: Wrath of the Titans

As a swords-and-sandals “epic,” a term I use very loosely, Wrath begs comparison to this year’s earlier John Carter. While Wrath will almost certainly do better, because it would be practically impossible to do worse than one of the biggest bombs of all time, it is not the better film. For all of Carter‘s flaws, and there were many including blandness, beigeness, and the lead, it had greater substance, scope, and creativity than Wrath.

San Francisco Ballet Offers Raymonda Act III, RAkU and Guide to Strange Places

In a season peppered with contemporary world premieres and dramatic works, it is easy to forget that San Francisco Ballet is first and foremost a classically trained ballet company. With Program 6 and Raymonda Act III, the company re-stakes its claim as a classical company to be reckoned with.

The Forgotten Sculpture of John B. Flannagan

His sculptures, like his wonderful Elephant of 1929-1930, or his Chimpanzee of 1928, were often carved directly from the rock; they are both roughhewn and elegant, radically simple but powerfully emotional, immediately evoking both the natural forms of the stones from which they are made, and the living creatures they represent. It’s sad to think of them languishing in obscurity.

100 Greatest Gangster Films: Dillinger, #83

Dillinger is a B-movie and doesn’t attempt to be more than that. There is not a lot of back story, and not much motivation beyond the character’s oft-repeated line of, “I like to steal people’s money.” But the 107-minute string of robberies, escapes and gun fights works because of an excellent cast and because Director John Milius (Red Dawn, Conan the Barbarian) knows how to shoot a violent action film.

NY Philharmonic’s Modern Beethoven Festival Concludes

There’s nothing worse than a complacent performance of a Beethoven symphony. Being such a staple of the orchestral repertoire, Beethoven is all too easily performed on auto-pilot. Some conductors, however, have made it their mission to find fresh approaches to the great composer, like David Zinman, the music director of the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich, who led the New York Philharmonic’s Modern Beethoven festival at Avery Fisher Hall this month.

Mad Men Recap: “A Little Kiss” (Season 5 Premiere)

He’s back. Photo credit Michael Yarish/AMC It’s been almost a year and a half since the last episode of AMC’s critically beloved drama Mad Men aired its last episode. Amid whispers of the show’s cancellation and creator Matthew Weiner’s firing, AMC and Weiner conducted backroom talks that eventually (rumor has […]

The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Explaining the daring additions of paintings by Matisse and Picasso to the Stein collection, Leo wrote a friend in the United States, “All our recent accessions are unfortunately by people you never heard of so there’s no use trying to describe them, except that one of those out of the salon [the Matisse] made everybody laugh except a few who got mad about it and two other pictures are by a young Spaniard named Picasso whom I consider a genius of very great magnitude.”

Dance Review: San Francisco Ballet Presents The Fifth Season, Symphonic Dances and Glass Pieces

Frances Chung is as resilient as bundled cable. Davit Karapetyan partners her with genteel correctness. They are a brilliant match, swimming over and under each other like sea creatures, as the corps de ballet floods in, and indeed under Jack Mehler’s lighting, individual faces are lost to bodies that leap like flames; you can almost hear the hiss of the aquatic couple’s exit, as if extinguished by the conflagration.

Book Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

Sketching the parameters of Baggott’s palimpsestic narrative is tricky. Briefly put, the backstory of the novel involves a hyperbolic escalation of conservative cultural rhetoric that seeks a return to “traditional” values: restrained, upper-class politeness and hardline gender roles. The maniacal masterminds behind this so-called “Return of Civility” followed a violent effort at social engineering with a wave of nuclear attacks, referred to in the novel as the Detonations.

Movie Review: The Hunger Games

On opening night, the theater was filled with preteen girls carrying bows and wearing shirts that declare TEAM PEETA or TEAM GALE; you could mistake this fandom for something along the lines of Twilight – there’s giggling at every kiss, every meaningful glance. Bella Swan, though, wouldn’t last two seconds in the Hunger Games without her shimmering savior.