Spoiler Alert (c) Focus Features
Friday, December 2, 2022
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Opera Review: The World Premiere Production of “The Hours” at The Met Gives Three Sopranos the Chance to Shine
The Hours (c) Evan Zimmerman
Opera/Theater Review: The Hours
At the Metropolitan Opera
Premise: “Am I Monster? Or a Mother?” sings Laura Brown (Kelli O’Hara), the suburban housewife in 1951, as she has a panic attack and impulsively drops her young son nicknamed Bug off at a babysitter and gets a hotel room to do the one thing she wants to do: read Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway.” But, maybe Laura has an ulterior reason? Meanwhile, in 2001, Clarrissa (Renée Fleming), whom her soulmate Richard (Kyle Ketelsen) calls Mrs. Dalloway (Clarrissa is the first name of the Woolf heroine), is throwing a party for Richard, who says he’s getting a literary award for still being alive (he has AIDS). Clarrissa even announces that she “would pick up the flower herself.” This is the famous first line of the novel, which in 1923, Virginia Woolf (Joyce DiDonato) is writing at her country house, but is always being interrupted by her husband, Leonard (Sean Panikkar) and their maid. Woolf wonders if she could set her novel (she hasn’t decided if she’ll call it “Mrs. Dalloway” or “The Hours”) over the course of one day but she is certain someone will die at the end. All three time periods take place over the course of one day and are played simultaneously on the stage, and at the end of one of these three days, someone does indeed die.
Friday, November 25, 2022
Avatar: The Way of Water (c) 20th Century Studios
Thanksgiving is start of the onslaught for Oscar voters and critics group. So, let’s take one more look, objectively (without the influences of critics’ awards) to see which films has the best chance of getting some Oscar love. The only films with Oscar chances still unseen are "Avatar: The Way of Water" and “Roald Dahl’s Mathilda.” I am also including my Best Score predictions here instead of at Film Score Monthly this year because timing is off at the magazine, and I won’t be able talk about Best Score until after the short list is announced. So, enjoy this month’s bonus category.
Tuesday, November 22, 2022
The Fabelmans (c) Universal Pictures
Film: The Fablemans
Premise: Burt (Paul Dano) and Mitzi Fableman (Michelle Williams) are living in New Jersey in the 1950s and they decide that their son, young Sammy (Mateo Zoryon Francis-DeFord), is old enough to see his first film in a movie theater, “The Greatest Show on Earth.” At first, they are afraid that Sammy would have nightmares, especially after the scene of a horrific train accident involving zoo animals and train robbers. But when he screams out that night, it isn’t because of fear – he knows what he wants for Hanukkah: a train set. So starts the journey of director Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical stand-in, who uses Burt’s small camera to recreate the train crash, which ultimately leads to teenage Sam (now played by Gabriel LaBelle) making Western films with his boy scout pals. The Fabelmans are now living in Arizona for Burt’s job, with three daughters added to them and their best friend Bennie (Seth Rogen) in tow. But when Burt’s job uproots the family again, this time to Los Angeles, cracks begin to show, especially with Mitzi, a former classical pianist whose restlessness and unhappiness take its toll on everyone. Sam is now in high school and as one of the few Jewish students, his biggest obstacle is the antisemitic jocks (with another “West Side Story” mini-rumble in the gym), but he is also now closer to Hollywood and dreams one day to be involved with the film industry somehow (spoiler alert: I think he’ll make it).
Friday, November 18, 2022
Film Reviews: “The Menu” Is Tasty; “The Inspection” Makes an Impressive Debut for Director Elegance Bratton; “Causeway” Is a Superb Actor’s Showcase
The Menu (c) Searchlight Pictures