Showing posts from December, 2012

Year in Review

To paraphrase The Cranberries, everybody else is doing it, so why can’t I? Herein, I take my Year in Review list to 11 (because it goes to 11). This list (presented in alphabetical order) represents my favorite arts and current events goings on of the year, and beyond the 11 I’ve included some honorable mentions, pieces that were great but didn’t quite make the “favorite” cut. 
All Wheeldon Night at NYC Ballet: An extraordinary night of ballet, City Ballet's first-ever night of ballet devoted to neither founding choreographer was a success. In Wheeldon's choreography, we see traces of both Balanchine and Robbins, as well as what is possible when exceptional dance is paired with an all-encompassing vision. Not to mention that the three pieces, Les Carillons (a world premiere), Polyphonia (his breakthrough work) and DGV: Danse a Grande Vitesse (a New York premiere) were exquisite. The 2013 Spring Gala will mark another Wheeldon world premiere, and I can't wait.

Justin Pec…

Django Unchained

Django Unchained is everything you want and expect from a Quentin Tarantino flick: it’s big and bloody and beautiful and badass. Because Tarantino has so successfully marked his territory, nothing about Django Unchained surprises, but it’s ultimately a fun romp of a movie and a thrill to watch.
The titular Django (the “D” is silent) is a slave who is bought and in turn freed by Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) in 1858. Schultz needs Django (Jamie Foxx) to help him in the bounty hunting business: Schultz is after three brothers and only Django can identify them. Though he is not a fan of slaves, Schultz befriends and starts to sympathize with the newly freed Django, who tells of his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), being sold, separately from him. Schultz is intrigued by the African-American Broomhilda’s German name (turns out, she was born on the plantation and named by her German owners) and tells Django of the German myth of Broomhilda the princess and her hero, Siegfried. Schu…

Zero Dark Thirty

Word on the street is that director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter and former journalist Mark Boal (the pair that brought us The Hurt Locker) were working on a related but different film when Seal Team Six killed Osama Bin Laden in May 2011. Bigelow and Boal then shifted focus and received unprecedented access to possibly classified files and people’s stories in order to bring us the true-ish story of “the greatest manhunt in history,” the search for public enemy number one. 
Zero Dark Thirty is a gripping tale that is unflinchingly directed and wonderfully acted (particularly by leading lady Jessica Chastain). Though some might find it difficult to watch (there are scenes of torture and many may still be processing the recent history) I found it to be thought-provoking and slightly empowering.
The decision for a nation to deliberately kill someone - even a terrorist - is a complicated one. I remember hearing the news “we’d” gotten Bin Laden and watching President Barack Obama talk ab…

Media Morsels 12.21.12

(This is the last Media Morsels of 2012. In lieu of a new Media Morsels next week, I'll present my Year in Review.)
Casting News - The Last Five Years The New York revival of Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years has found it Cathy and Jamie: Betsy Wolfe (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) and Adam Kantor (Mark in the final Broadway company of Rent). Wolfe and Kantor will bring to life the roles originated off-Broadway by Sherie Rene Scott and Norbert Leo Butz, and tell the story of Cathy and Jamie's five-year relationship from beginning to end and end to beginning. (The unique structure of the show has us experiencing Cathy's side of the story from end to beginning and Jamie's side of the story from beginning to end.) The Second Stage production, which will be directed by Brown, begins previews on March 7, 2013, and officially opens on April 2. (The show is scheduled to conclude its limited run on April 21, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is extended.) Visit 2st.…

The Great God Pan

I spoke to my dad shortly after seeing The Great God Pan. I told him I didn’t love the play and, since we were having the conversation via cell phone, he asked for clarification of the name. Was it “pan” or “Pam”? I clarified that it is “pan,” and he said, “Well, then, I guess when you write your review you’ll pan it.” I retorted, “And if it was ‘Pam,’ I could have said that none of the ideas in the play stuck.” We had a good laugh and, unfortunately, that’s about all I got from Amy Herzog’s The Great God Pan.

In her new play, Herzog (Afterthe Revolution) explores memories, personal history and how both combine to shape who we are. As presented at Playwrights Horizons, it’s a good first draft, bringing up some potentially rich topics, but it ultimately falls short.

At rise, 30-something Jamie (Jeremy Strong) is meeting his childhood friend, Frank (Keith Nobbs), whom he hasn’t seen in 25 years. Frank reveals that when he was a child he was sexually abused by his father and, to help hi…

Media Morsels 12.14.12

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2013 After a few months of deliberation, the 2013 inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have been announced. Joining the ranks of Chuck Berry, Bruce Springsteen and The Beatles are Rush, Public Enemy, Heart, Randy Newman, Donna Summer and Albert King. (Summer and King will be inducted posthumously.) Lou Adler and Quincy Jones will receive the Ahmet Ertegun Award for non-performers. (Despite being eligible, rocker Joan Jett did not make it this year.) As noted in Rolling Stone's announcement of the class, Public Enemy will become "only the fourth hip-hop act to be inducted...[joining] Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five...Run DMC...and the Beastie Boys." The induction ceremony will be held on April 18, 2013, and broadcast a month later on HBO.
In other rock and roll news, the 12.12.12 concert to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy was held this week and Rolling Stone has a round up of some of the highlights and photos.
And Carol…

Golden Globe Nominations

The Golden Globes, which honor both film and television, will be handed out on Sunday, January 13, 2013, and funny ladies Tine Fey and Amy Poehler will be hosting the ceremony. (The Globes are presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, HFPA.)

Herein, the nominees and my commentary (reviews, if available, are linked to in the first mention):


Best Motion Picture, Drama:
ArgoDjango UnchainedLife of Pi
LincolnZero Dark Thirty So no love for The Master in the big category but other than that and Silver Linings Playbook's inclusion in the comedy category (scroll down), no surprises.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama:
Daniel Day-Lewis, LincolnRichard Gere, ArbitageJohn Hawkes, The SessionsJoaquin Phoenix, The MasterDenzel Washington, Flight
Again, because Playbook is in the comedy category, it opened up a slot in this category for Gere. Still, I think we're all expecting Day-Lewis to win it.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama:
Jessica Chastain,…