Monday, September 26, 2011

Toasting a Theatrical Mash-Up: Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club

Sprung from the mind of Jeffrey Hatcher, the writer behind the underrated play-turned-film “Stage Beauty,” the Arizona Theatre Company's 45th-anniversary season opener “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club” is a fun theatrical mash-up that drops the characters from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's “Sherlock Holmes” realm into an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's “The Suicide Club.” I caught this world premiere helmed by ATC's artistic director David Ira Goldstein at the Temple of Music and Art, the company's cozy home base and a civilized oasis in the heart of downtown Tucson. There isn't a bad seat in the roomy house, and you can peruse the upstairs art gallery or take your time enjoying gourmet food, a glass of wine, or a cup of locally roasted coffee from the adjoining Temple Lounge before the show, then grab a refill and take it into the theater with you—a far cry from the tourist cattle call-feel of leisure-lacking Broadway these days.

To read the rest of my review visit The House Next Door at Slant Magazine.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Mill and The Cross

The word "film" seems inadequate to describe Lech Majewski's “The Mill and The Cross,” a mesmerizingly layered rendering of the creation of Pieter Bruegel's iconic “The Way to Calvary.” The painting itself is imposingly dizzying—a depiction of the crucifixion containing over 500 figures and, like the film, set during the painter's lifetime, when Spain ruled Flanders with an iron fist. From its arresting opening image of Bruegel (played by another legend, Rutger Hauer) wandering inside his masterpiece-in-progress, to Majewski's ingenious use of subtle movement in both foreground and background planes and absolute stillness in the middle one, “The Mill and The Cross” is less costume drama and more time capsule come to life. It's an art installation captured by painstaking cinematography.

To read the rest of my review visit Slant Magazine.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sex and De Stad: A Brush with Romance

Check out my romantic Jordaan column on page 74 of Amsterdam Magazine!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Where Soldiers Come From

I recently chatted with a Canadian director of government-funded documentaries who lamented the artistic restrictions that are par for the course for every filmmaker who accepts a significant amount of cash from any nation's coffers—no matter how seemingly liberal the country. I thought of this conversation as I watched Heather Courtney's “Where Soldiers Come From,” financed in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. A four-year study of an Afghan war-bound group of friends (the mother of Cole, the goofy joker of the group, compares the boys to the characters in “The Deer Hunter”), Courtney's doc is equal parts heartfelt and public-television predictable.

To read the rest of my review visit Slant Magazine.