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Showing posts from December, 2013

Her

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Her is set in the near future, a future in which technology is even more integral to our lives, but the remarkable thing is we don’t seem too far away from this world writer and director Spike Jonze created.

In Jonze’s world, technology is fully integrated into people’s lives, and a new, artificially intelligent and intuitive OS has just been introduced. These people are so used to connecting to technology and not people; our protagonist, Theodore, works for beautifullyhandwrittenletters.com, which is just what it sounds like. He and his colleagues get little tidbits from their clients, and then write beautiful, hand-written letters—love letters, letters from kids away at camp, letters from loved ones serving overseas—and print and send them. 
This is a world in which everything, including human connection and emotion, is outsourced, and it’s not such a stretch to imagine such a world. We already rely so much on technology and use it to “connect,” but can anything actually replace true,…

Year in Review

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With the New Year right around the corner, it's time for my year in review. Herein, my favorite things of the year (in alphabetical order), plus some honorable mentions. (Like Spinal Tap, I take this to 11.)

Aaron Tveit Has a Good Year—The multi-talented star began the year by being the best thing about the screen adaptation of Les Miserables. He continued his mastery of the universe by walking out on stage at the Academy Awards like a boss, showing everyone how it's done. Then his new TV show, Graceland, premiered on USA Network and was picked up for a second season. He basically broke 54 Below's ticketing system, selling out several concerts (I couldn't even get a ticket), and then released a recording of the concerts (the album has been in constant rotation). He continues to work in film, shooting a few films, both short and feature-length. I couldn't be happier for the talented guy's success—though I do hope it's not too long before we see the Next to N…

The Wolf of Wall Street

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The wolf of Wall Street is terrible. I’m talking about the person, Jordan Belfort. The movie about him, based on his memoir, is fantastic. But Belfort is a disgusting person. Yet I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen (it was definitely more difficult to read his memoir) and that’s kind of the point: we love train wrecks and we all want to be rich. 
The Wolf of Wall Street tells Belfort’s story, from his first day at a brokerage firm (where he meets his mentor, Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey)) to the fateful day he starts his own firm all the way to when he got caught and “punished” (though not nearly enough, in my opinion). Along the way, Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) partners with all types of shady associates; picks up a raging drug habit (often enabled by his best friend and business partner Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill, going full-manic), who, as a character in the film, is an amalgam of people from the real Belfort’s life); enlists the services of hookers of all sorts; goes through tw…

Fun Home

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I was late to Fun Home. I don’t mean I arrived late to the Public Theater, where Fun Home is having its world premiere (perish the thought); I mean I saw Fun Home late in its run, once critics and artists had lavished praise on the new Jeanine Tesori-Lisa Kron musical (often in the form of inclusion on best-of-the-year lists). It’s good, but I wouldn’t add to the superlatives.

Based on Alison Bechdel’s book, Fun Home focuses on Alison’s life. We meet three Alisons, noted in the Playbill as Alison (Beth Malone), Medium Alison (Emily Skeggs) and Small Alison (Sydney Lucas). (That would be Alison at about 43, in college and as a kid, 7 or 8 years old.) Alison is a lesbian and a cartoon artist, neither of which ever sat right with her parents, Bruce (Michael Cerveris), and Helen (Judy Kuhn).

Alison’s home is like a museum, much to the delight of her father and chagrin of her mother. Mom is an actress and trying to keep things together for Bruce. Dad is a little bit of everything, includ…

Media Morsels 12.20.13

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(Scroll down for House of Cards news!)
Welcome back! Immediately below is news from this week, with some news from last week folded in; below that is a round up of miscellaneous items from last week. Please note that this is the last Media Morsels of the year. Next week, look for my Year in Review post.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Class of 2014
Nirvana, Kiss, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, Cat Stevens and Linda Ronstadt will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year. They join the E Street Band (Award for Musical Excellence) and Beatles manager Brian Epstein and Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham (Ahmet Ertegun Award for non-performers) to make up the class of 2014. The induction ceremony will take place on April 10 at Brooklyn's Barclays Center; HBO will air an abridged version of the ceremony in May. Tickets for the event go on sale in January. Rolling Stone has more. Fun fact: Nirvana has been selected in its first year of eligibility.

Working Out with Robert…

Macbeth

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Something wicked this way comes—except those stakes are never quite felt in this somewhat uneven production of Shakespeare’s bloody tragedy, Macbeth. Directed by Jack O’Brien (Catch Me if You Can), there’s a lack of urgency and intensity throughout much of the nearly three-hour play. Unlike last season’s abridged Macbeth (a thoroughly engrossing production that starred Alan Cumming), this is faithful to the text. And while that could be the reason this production of Macbeth drags, especially in the expository scenes, the poor pacing is more likely to due to the direction. (To wit: There’s plenty of exposition in, say, Richard III, currently enjoying a superlative bow courtesy of Mark Rylance and company. Nothing drags in that production, directed by Tim Carroll.)
The good news is there’s a brilliant supporting cast, a winning ensemble uncommon in large productions. We have everyman Brian d’Arcy James as Banquo, one of Macbeth’s trusted compatriots. In small unadorned moments, d’Arcy Ja…