Home / Tag: Reviews
Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Classical Review

The automatic, meaningless standing ovation has been out of control in the U.S. for years. Does it come from the American need to overstate everything? Maybe it indicates a lack of standards. It is refreshing to attend performances in Germany and Austria, where knowledgeable audiences applaud appreciatively at length, but never stand up. I am accustomed to being the only one sitting during applause, and am familiar with the resulting looks I get. It is a ridiculous situation. A good performance does not merit a “standing O.”
Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Art Review

"Are you angry or are you boring?" asks one of the pieces included in the new “Gilbert & George” exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM). The idea that nothing worthwhile exists outside these two states might explain why the work of the artistic duo has become progressively larger and louder over time, often resorting to such malodorous mediums as feces, sperm and spit. Is this preponderance of bodily fluids meant as an avowal of the artists' own mortality or simply a desperate attempt to counter the stultifying effects of old age and withered rebellion? The answer, like the meaning of their work, remains elusive . . .
Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Theater Review

American Players Theatre (APT) has been known for breaking boundaries during its 29-year tenure, and not always successfully. However, the Spring Green troupe’s opening production for the 2008 season, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, proves why this noble effort should continue unabated. The Shakespearean comedy, which dodged the ongoing siege of torrential rain plaguing southern Wisconsin to open Saturday night, is a loosely woven collision of three separate stories familiar to Shakespeare fans . . .
Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Hollywood fairy tale

Ten years ago I described Tarsem’s feature debut as a director, The Cell, as an example of an emerging cinema whose impressions were visual more than verbal and whose visuals were achieved in part by quick montages of images. That Tarsem made his mark with the R.E.M. video “Losing My Religion,” as well as sneaker and soft drink ads, was held against him by critics who resisted the kinetic, jump cutting visual language of the MTV generation . . .
Sunday, June 15, 2008

From friendship to love?

Can close but Platonic friendship between man and woman grow into love and marriage? The romantic comedy Made of Honor explores the theme with humor and insight. One imagines the principal screenwriter, Adam Sztykiel, may have been close to the situation experienced by his protagonists, Tom (Patrick Dempsey) and Hannah (Michelle Monaghan). Made of Honor is effervescent as champagne but packs an eight-proof kick below the bubbles. The sharp edges of the script are felt in the opening scene, set at Cornell in 1998 during a student masquerade dance . . .
Sunday, June 15, 2008

Adam Sandler’s cutting comedy

When a trained-to-kill Israeli commando switches professions and becomes a Manhattan hairdresser, a fish-out-of-water comedy is sure to follow. And when this Israeli hairdresser falls in love with the Palestinian woman who owns the salon, you can bet your last shekel that a socio-political message is struggling to be heard. In Adam Sandler’s comedy You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Sandler plays a sex stud from a crack special forces squad who keeps his dream concealed . . .
Sunday, June 15, 2008

Love, lust and empire

Famed Indian producer Ismail Merchant is dead, but the brand name he developed with American director James Ivory lives on. Before the Rains, by Indian filmmaker Santosh Sivan, bears the tag “Merchant Ivory Presents” and is the sort of production Messrs. Merchant and Ivory relished. Before the Rains is a carefully recreated and opulent period drama that explores the psychology of individuals grappling, and losing their grip, with the historical conditions of their time. Several important Merchant Ivory films examined the uncertain relations between East and West in colonial times, especially in India . . .
Sunday, June 15, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Evil Empire

The first thing we hear in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog” and the first thing we see is a hot rod full of carefree teenagers, zipping around a U.S. Army convoy as if daring it to a drag race. The tone is breezy and the time and place are established with smooth efficiency: It’s the 1950s and the convoy is headed for one of those Trinity, Area 51 bases hidden in the rocky no man’s land of the American West.
Sunday, June 15, 2008

Return of the kings and queens

Harry Potter went darker as the series progressed and the same may be happening with The Chronicles of Narnia. The body count runs high in Narnia’s second installment, Prince Caspian, and some scenes are surprisingly brutal for a children’s movie. This time the Pevensie siblings enter Narnia not through a wardrobe but the London subway, where bullies are knocking brother Peter (William Moseley) against the tiled walls. Through a warp in space and a stitch . . .
Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Theater Review

The story of a perpetually engaged man and woman having an open love affair with a pair of imaginary fantasy figures closes out In Tandem’s 10th anniversary season. Jeremy Desmon’s The Girl in the Frame plays at the 10th Street Theatre through June 15. Simon Jon Provan plays a guy named Alex who never seems to get the time he needs with his fiancée Laney (Alison Mary Forbes). When she is called away on business, he is left to fantasize about a girl in a stock photo from a picture frame (Courtney Jones) who comes to life to entertain him. When Laney returns to the apartment, she is soon caught up in her own fantasy with a model from a fireman calendar (Travis A. Knight).

0|9