How best to capture the mirrored, tortured psyches of Victor Frankenstein and his Creature within 61 brief seconds? National Theatre Live’s Frankenstein trailer intercuts dialogue between Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch in a snippet showcasing both actors in both roles. A difficult feat within such a short time frame—but the trailer allows discerning viewers to better understand Miller’s and Cumberbatch’s embodiment of each role. Nuanced speech, an abortive twist or stretch, morphing faces, flashes of insight—based on evidence in this trailer, it’s no wonder the play has become London’s hottest ticket. Although reviews based on preview performances have been mixed, reviews of the official opening (on February 22 and 23, to allow reviewers and audiences to see each actor playing both roles over the course of two nights) should soon indicate if preview problems were resolved. Based on even this brief trailer, whether the play is brilliant or flawed, director Danny Boyle’s, playwright Nick Dear’s, and the actors’ Creation is a worthy experiment.
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Most faces in Yael Hersonski’s film belong to residents of the Warsaw ghetto, looking back at the Nazis filming them in May 1942. Preserved in a 62-minute project titled “Das Ghetto”, today they’re both haunted and haunting, their skin stretched tight and their eyes unavoidable. The Third Reich, narrates Israeli musician Rona Kenan, was “an empire infatuated with the camera, that knew so well to document its own evil, passionately, systematically, like no other nation before it.” This infatuation is visible everywhere in A Film Unfinished, which sorts through memories, traumas, and images without clear contexts, to produce a discomfort more resonant than that of “disturbing images of Holocaust atrocities including graphic nudity” that led the MPAA to give the documentary an unusual R rating.
Dave “2562” Huismans marked a significant step forward for bass music in 2009 on Unbalance, where his marriage of dub techno, inventive drum programming, and hazy UK garage textures improved upon his Aerial by miles and makes for one of the few flawless dubstep-borne full-lengths to date. In fact, driven by stuttering and powerful beats that are more prominent than any other element at work, “Aquatic Family Affair” begins in the same minimal and punchy manner that Unbalance‘s “Flashback” does. It’s reportedly built only of disco samples (as is all of his forthcoming Fever LP), but there’s no semblance of source material on either side here. Instead, Huismans establishes the audio tour suggested by the A-side’s title: the course of a sleek submarine, prowling alien depths. Bubbling synths mimic the scene at 20,000 leagues before the producer peppers his enigmatic “Aquatic” with ugly, detuned vibe loops if only just for a couple of measures. It’s part of a bold evolution for this guy—from hard-edged, early-career Tectonic 12-inch singles to the disembodied breakbeat stuff he’s producing now, Huismans is confusing the hell out of anyone still trying to make sense of today’s oft-splintering, bass-heavy dance music subgenres.
Fever is out April 4 on When In Doubt (tour dates after the jump).
Martin Scorsese’s documentary makes clear how Fran Lebowitz both lives in and embodies New York City. Not only is she repeatedly pictured on sidewalks, in her favorite West Village restaurant (the Waverly Inn), or driving her 1978 Checker cab, but she also performs an attitude associated with the city. Sardonic, impatient, and incisive, she explains here how she came to her art—writing—as this is a function of her worldview. As a cabdriver, she says, she worked just enough to “hang out.” She goes on, “It’s very important for getting ideas or thinking new things, sitting in bars, smoking cigarettes: that’s the history of art.”
See PopMatters’ review.
Wherever it begins or ends, Paul Green’s act is a compelling one. “My ego,” he says, “is as big as the whole universe. I invented something so I could be the best at it.” His invention, launched in 1998, is the Paul Green School of Rock Music. He means to teach his students how to rock, to absorb and spit out the rockin’ spirit typically attributed to the devil: Jack-Blackishly, he demands to know, “Do you love Satan?” That is, he wants the kids (ages eight to 18) to feel the awesome power of Music with a big M. Green’s irrepressible theory and practice are on display in Don Argott’s lively, smart, and weirdly enchanting 2005 documentary, Rock School. It screens at the IFC Center on 22 February at 8pm, as part of Stranger Than Fiction‘s Winter Season, followed by a Q&A with Argott.
See PopMatters’ review.
// Notes from the Road
"Cage the Elephant rocked two sold-out nights at Summerstage and return to NYC for a free show May 29th. Info on that and a preview of the full Summerstage schedule is here.READ the article