Posted inArts & Culture

Ira & Abby

Screwball comedy has always contained a thick streak of romance: screwy people have more trouble finding love, and when they do meet their opposite number, what usually reels them in is the other person’s screwiness. Jennifer Westfeldt, who scripted and starred in the memorable Kissing Jessica Stein (2001), understands this principle, and her new project, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Jersey Boys

This Broadway hit charts the rocky road traveled by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, working-class Italian-American kids who became pop icons. The show is a 60s nostalgia fest, filled with hits like “Sherry,” “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night),” and the Bob Gaudio-Bob Crewe classic “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” The script, by […]

Posted inArts & Culture

My Kid Could Paint That

Hailed as a prodigy, condemned as a fraud, abstract painter Marla Olmstead was selling canvases for $24,000 before she started kindergarten. Her seemingly cautious and levelheaded parents granted documentary maker Amir Bar-Lev intimate access to their family when Marla was first being celebrated in the U.S. and Europe, which gave him a unique vantage point […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Reservation Road

A powerful Christian parable, painful but illuminating, about crime and redemption, adapted by John Burnham Schwartz from his own novel with the help of director Terry George (Hotel Rwanda). A Connecticut lawyer (Mark Ruffalo) kills the son of a local professor (Joaquin Phoenix) in a hit-and-run accident and struggles to work up the courage to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Luna Negra Dance Theater

Cuban-American bandleader Xavier Cugat, who brought Latin music to the American masses in the 30s and 40s, inspired artistic director Eduardo Vilaro’s new Cugat! It’s not deep, but then neither was Cugat: he was a sharp cookie who reportedly once said, “I would rather play ‘Chiquita Banana’ and have my swimming pool than play Bach […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sympathy for the Devil

Subtitled “Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967,” this exhibit often captures the cultural force of the music’s delirious, anarchic promises. The conceptual and sensual center is British artist Douglas Gordon’s installation Bootleg, which even without music suggests the essence of rock–its ephemerality, intensity, transgression, and physicality. Set up in a dark room are two […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Cate Blanchett returns to the role that made her a star, and though this sequel to Elizabeth (1998) is less defensible as history, as florid costume drama it’s just as entertaining. Director Shekhar Kapur has described this as the second picture in a trilogy, so screenwriters Michael Hirst and William Nicholson were probably hard up […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Merce Cunningham Dance Company

Merce Cunningham’s dances show that structured randomness provides a playground for the mind. In eyeSpace, being performed on both programs here, audience members listen to randomly arranged selections from the score on iPods. Fabrications, on the second program, brings a “dance painting” to life from an initially limited palette: two performers barely stand out from […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Ann Patchett

On one side of Ann Patchett’s (mostly) graceful fifth novel, Run (Harper), is a tangle of children and mothers, black and white, rich and poor. On the other is Bernard Doyle, widowed father and onetime mayor of Boston, doing his best to sort it all out. Unfolding over one 24-hour period during a whiteout, Run […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Deeply Rooted Productions

This company has found its niche. The expansive, uberexpressive choreography created by artistic director Kevin Iega Jeff and associate artistic director Gary Abbott can seem unanchored on a program containing several pieces. But this new venture–a reworked 1977 musical–provides an enveloping context that supports and drives the dancing. Originally scored by David Spangler and written […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Desire Under the Elms

Eugene O’Neill’s 1924 shocker retains its tragic force in the Hypocrites’ taut, intelligent revival. Based on the Greek myth of Phaedra and set in 1850s New England, it’s the story of a young woman who marries an old farmer and then seduces his son in a bid to take over the farm–a scheme that goes […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Darjeeling Limited

In its story line, this wacky tale from Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums) about estranged wealthy brothers (Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, cowriter Jason Schwartzman) reunited for a strained spiritual journey through India is pretty unconvincing as character development. Every bit as precious as Anderson’s preceding features, it differs this time from late Salinger only […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Shadow Company

The recent killing of at least eight Iraqi civilians in a shoot-out that involved Blackwater USA security guards makes this documentary on private military contractors especially timely, but it’s essential viewing for anyone who wants to understand the changing nature of war in the 21st century. Directors Nick Bicanic and Jason Bourque interviewed security executives, […]