It's halftime at the Texas state football championship game and the Permian-Odessa Panthers are down by a lot. As their coach (Billy-Bob Thornton) gives a fiery locker room speech, the camera cuts between the battle-scarred faces of the game-battered gridiron warriors, capturing the blood, the sweat, the tears of high schoolfootball at its highest level.
Of all the institutions in this pop culture of ours, there is nonemore insidious than the sequel. It constantly amazes and puzzles methat some of the finest directors and producers we've ever had are so eager to sacrifice their very souls at the altar of the sequel. They so eager to betray their original artisticvisions in order to score fat checks and box office buzz. From George Lucasthe world received the cinematic atrocities known as the Star Warssequels; from Francis Ford Coppola the laughingstock that was GodfatherPart III; from Steven Spielberg, a convoluted second visit to the world ofJurassic Park. But selling out is good business; Jurassic Park 2:The Lost World had what was at the time the highest grossing openingweekend in movie history.
In his book Worse than Watergate, former Nixon legal aid John Dean expresses surprise at George W. Bush's ability to run a secretive and dishonest administration. After all, Nixon had the sort of ruthless intellect that made him truly Nixonian, whereas Bush seems a little too preoccupied with basic pronunciation to control a political machine anywhere near as frightening as his predecessor's.
Silver City is like the unholy lovechild of Fahrenheit 9/11 and Erin Brokovich, some outlandish, ineffectual combination of thinly veiled satire and underdeveloped champion-of-justice drama that begs the question, did writer/director John Sayles (Sunshine State, Passion Fish) watch his latest endeavor all the way through before unleashing it on us?
I suppose I like Festival Express because it is something of a throwback. It's a throwback to the wonderful pre-Fahrenheit 9/11 days of documentary filmmaking when documentaries, as the name suggests, documented. Popular documentaries are today so mired in political rhetoric that I briefly feared for the survival of the genre, what with audiences appearing to favor the malicious (Michael Moore accosting senators on the street) over the meaningful (when was the last time you watched Frontline, PBS's Oscar-nominated documentary program?). For a glorious hour and a half my fears were almost totally allayed, as the film simply documents the six-day drinking binge that was The Band, The Grateful Dead, and Janis Joplin's
There seems to be nothing that Björk cannot accomplish. Since her start as an Icelandic jazz singer at the age of 12, she's explored and broadened her musical style countless times without ever failing to amaze or surprise fans and skeptics alike. Her latest record, "Medúlla," is no different, taking vocal innovation to a whole level of creativity.
Woodlands, a "pure south Indian vegetarian restaurant” - as indicated by the glowing neon sign on one of its windows - lies tightly fitted into a corner of one of Gaithersburg's many strip-malls. A friendly looking comic figure just next to the restaurant's illuminated logo accurately predicts the restaurant environment.
"Uh Huh Her" is possibly singer songwriter P.J. Harvey's most diverse and musically accomplished work since her 1995 blues-rock, organ-backed, hard-hitting "To Bring You My Love." Breaking away from the almost completely pop-polished style of her previous album, "Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea," "Uh Huh Her" is less of an image album and more of a creative project, that aims for and delivers complete music bliss. In "Uh Huh Her," Harvey merges her previous trademark musical specialties, which range from haunting lyrics and deep growling vocal tracks to falsetto moans and a never ending palette of mixed emotions that grace each track in an unforgettable manner.
The full moon casts an eerie glow over the light fog that permeates Gethsemane. A man, wrought with fear, rebukes his closest friends for falling asleep in his time of greatest need. Moments later, he is bound in chains, being prodded along by a band of soldiers. His friends have fled, and he is alone. This? The long-awaited Messiah?
High Noon, Fred Zinnerman's classic fifties film, recently played at the Silver Spring AFI in all its spare, western glory. Clean direction, clean acting, and clean videography come together in this powerful, moving story of a man who stands alone for his beliefs.
Death by butcher knife. Or hatchet. Or club. Or the ever popular meat cleaver. In Gangs of New York, chances are you'll be both shocked at the abundance of murder and amazed at the myriad ways it can be committed. Director Martin Scoresece made this period drama spectacularly accurate in set design, slang, costume, and, of course, in the ever-present violence that permeated the life of the destitute in New York's slums in the civil war era.
"A Moon for the Misbegotten," a tragicomedy about love, lies, and liberation plays now at Arena Stage, through June 16. The play, written my Eugene O'Neill, shows the trials of two characters, Josie Hogan and James Tyrone, Jr. as they free each other from their insecurities and destructive past. O'Neill, who is best known for his disturbing plays about dysfunctional family life, wrote "Moon" with both a sense of humor and a sense of despair, but most of all, an overwhelming surge of redemption. Director Molly Smith does justice to O'Neill's script in the powerful "A Moon for the Misbegotten."
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