Affluence, LA

Affluence is a major issue in American society today — a few people have a lot of it while a lot of people have none and probably never will — so it’s not surprising that some playwrights are drawn to the subject. In this play, Steven Peterson wonders what  ...

Choir Boy, LA

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to win a MacArthur genius grant? I mean, aside from the fact that a sweet stipend would come to you for five years, no questions asked, no forms to be filed, no annual review. How would the people around you —  ...

The Trip to Bountiful, LA

"The Trip to Bountiful" is an old-fashioned story mounted with old-fashioned style. Not that that is all bad. It is what passes as a classic in the 21st century. Horton Foote's first iteration of this memory tale was as a television drama in 1953. Quickly, he fleshed the story out  ...

Two Days, One Night (2014)

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have made many notable films from “La Promesse” to their Palme d’Or winners “Rosetta” and “L’Enfant,” but they had never worked with a movie star as big as Marion Cotillard until now with “Two Days, One Night.” The result is a tour de force on Cotillard’s  ...

Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)

  The movie’s title, “Clouds of Sils Maria,” refers to a natural phenomenon found in the Sils Maria municipality of Switzerland for which the fictional play within the film, “Maloja Snake,” is also named. Both titles designate the same thing, spectacular clouds that snake around mountains in the Swiss  ...

David Bowie Is, Chicago

"David Bowie Is" Chicago Exhibit Reveals a Cultural Icon, Beyond the Pop David Bowie was born September 16, 1965. Actually, that’s the day that 18-year-old David Jones legally assumed the name that became famous. This is one piece of minutiae that you can glean from the blockbuster exhibit, "David  ...

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), DVD Review

Of the six films of Japanese director Nagisa Oshima that I have seen, his 1983 color film "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" ("Senjō No Merī Kurisumasu or 戦場のメリークリスマス") is easily his least impressive. It’s not a terrible film, but it’s not particularly good either. The acting is hit and miss, the  ...

Anselm Kiefer, London

Anselm Kiefer was born in Germany in 1945. A war baby (just) he grew up among the ruins of a country devastated by war and divided by ideology. It is hardly surprisingly, then, that on first sight many of his paintings appear to be of rubble. The dust and ash  ...