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Reviews

Monday, December 22 2014

‘Big Eyes’ Celebrates the Right to Self-Expression

Tim Burton’s sweet little film about art and identity doesn’t demand enjoyment of Margaret Keane's big-eyed waifs, but instead an appreciation of her sincerity and expression.


The Woods Are Crawling With Metaphors in Sondheim’s ‘Into the Woods’

Disney’s film of Stephen Sondheim’s ironic fairy tale musical keeps the master’s gorgeous melodies, knowing lyrics, and finger wagging intact.


One of Ireland’s Greatest Living Writers Hits Another Home Run With ‘Nora Webster’

Colm Toibin's latest literary outing is like a complex Persian rug: the reader must work to notice and appreciate the patterns.


A (Somewhat) Class-Conscious ‘Annie’

This is a new Annie, decidedly anti-nostalgic and only clumsily cynical, but at the same time it tries too hard to both be and not be the previous Annie.


Sunday, December 21 2014

‘Green: The History of a Color’ Is a Monochrome of Multiplicities

Green: A History is a broad-spanning visualization of this multifaceted color, one that reveals the value of seeing different shades of meaning in the color of historical artworks.


Saturday, December 20 2014

Edward St. Aubyn’s ‘On the Edge’ Brings Some Humor to Life’s Fathomless Oddness

Here's another reasonably entertaining novel of ideas from this internationally-celebrated satirist.


Friday, December 19 2014

‘Mr. Turner’ Is Mike Leigh’s Portrait of an Artist

This film makes J.M.W. Turner's story fascinating, his personal failings and artistic innovations seemingly inevitable, throbbing, propulsive and painful.


‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ Is a Solid, not Sublime, Send-off

If all you care about is action, of witnessing outstanding special F/X and genre fantasy fashioned by a true master of such material, then this will satisfy your needs to no end.


Kate Miller-Heidke: O Vertigo!

The real attraction to a Miller-Heidke release lies in the pleasure given by her voice. She may sing about love and life and engage in some interesting wordplay, but her distinctive vocals and range merit the bulk of attention.


Kim Hiorthøy: Dogs

Scandinavian renaissance man's first album in seven years is glorious piano purity over sample-free glitch.


Diana Reyes: Mis Mejores Duranguenses

Heartbreaking melodies belted over Hi-NRG beats of endless momentum -- only the beats are polkas.


Look at the Women: “Bitch Planet #1”

Bitch Planet gives us naked bodies and bloody violence. (Naked bodies and bloody violence in space, no less!) It's called Bitch Planet for God's sake. And it gives us something more.


‘London: A Literary Anthology’ Captures the City’s Candelit Circles and Foggy Shadows

This wide-spanning anthology is a mélange of London experiences, encapsulating rich and poor, native and immigrant.


The Bright Knight Rises: ‘Batman: The Complete Television Series’

The 1966 live-action series still mesmerizes today as a deft Pop Art confectionary satire on '50s squares that wanted its viewers to have their cake and eat it too.


Bastille: VS. (Other People’s Heartache Pt. 3)

VS. both affirms Bastille's successes up to this point and highlights the weaknesses that need to be remediated as the band moves forward.


‘Hate Crimes in Cyberspace’ Shows Us the Steps to Overcome Online Bullying and Terror

From revenge porn to cyber mobs to trolls, Hate Crimes in Cyberspace shows the ugly side of the Internet and, most importantly, what people can do about it.


Thursday, December 18 2014

The Tension of Art and Ego Drives the ‘Monk With a Camera’

As Nicholas Vreeland's journey into Buddhist philosophy goes deeper, the tension between his photography and his role as a monk increases.


‘See You in Paradise’ Casts a Shadow Over the Domestic Sphere

J. Robert Lennon's morbidly dark vision of American domesticity drains the light out of the human dream of domestic bliss to leave it shrouded in shadow.


Pianist Jacky Terrasson and His Quartet Heat Things Up at Smoke Jazz and Supper Club

As always, Jacky Terrasson's trio of shows in New York City's Smoke Jazz and Supper Club highlight his catch-all creativity and energy as a performer.


Dwayne Johnson Bulks Up for Nothing in ‘Hercules’

One day, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will land a role in a film that’s fitting of his charisma, physique, and on-screen likability, but Hercules is not that film.


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