Friday, April 29, 2011

Mormon, Porter excel at Drama Desks

The Book of Mormon and the revival of Anything Goes bowled over the Drama Desk nominations committee this year, with The Merchant of Venice taking play honors. I must catch up on a few shows before voting. The big night is May 23.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

New York Theater News: High

Whatever you do, don't spend Easter with Kathleen Turner at the godawful High, which Lord have mercy is closing today.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Kaneto Shindo at BAM

In a year marked by too many passings it's nice to report that a great filmmaker, Japan's Kaneto Shindo, will turn 99 next Thursday and has a new film out. And it's even better to report that there's a chance to acquaint yourself with the work of this underacknowledged maverick. Beginning tonight the Brooklyn Academy of Music is hosting a retrospective of his work, which will then tour. I know him from his horror films Kuroneko and the especially the great Onibaba--it was the Criterion disc of that jolting 1964 film (which knocked my movie group for a loop in 1999) that got Benicio Del Toro interested in Shindo, and the actor is the patron of this festival.

A couple of weeks ago I spent the morning at BAM watching two of his films, 1952's Children of Hiroshima, a mournful but clear-eyed reminiscence of the atomic bombing (especially poignant in light of the recent tsunami and subsequent events) and 1960's The Naked Island, an unusual survival story focused on a family of four eking out an existence on a barren outcropping in the sea, filmed so observantly it was mistaken for a documentary by The New York Times. Both are thoroughly gripping; Island, a movie without dialogue, has a stall frame that chilled me to the bone. (Shindo's wife, Noboku Otowa, starred in many of his films, unforgettably in Onibaba and this one, pictured, where having to carry large buckets of water up steep, sunbaked hills many times must have tested the union). A most welcome series that, hot on the heels of BAM's "De Palma Suspense" retro, is making trips to Brooklyn a necessity for cinephiles.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Live Design: The "It's Showtime!" edition

"Six shows running at once!"--Max Bialystock, The Producers. Including the four-star, four-letter-word filled smash The Book of Mormon, pictured.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Popdose: Women on the Verge

Robin Wright may be The Conspirator in Robert Redford's new film, as Michelle Williams goes west in Meek's Cutoff.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Popdose: The Unsung Sidney Lumet

A look at some of the less familiar chapters from a career highlghted for me by 1975's Dog Day Afternoon.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Popdose: Insidious and more

No fooling--Insidious, from the makers of Saw, gets things bumping in the night. Plus, Hilary Swank is The Resident, and the phantasmagorical Santa Sangre, both on DVD.