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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

DVD+Digital: Clive Owen, hooded specters and Intruders

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 8:46 AM

courtesy of Millennium Entertainment Film critic Pauline Kael once famously wrote, “Movies are so rarely great art that if we cannot appreciate great trash we have very little reason to be interested in them.” A genre-specific update these days might read: Horror films are so seldom watchable that we should appreciate anything that isn't contemptible torture porn. INTRUDERS, a modest European thriller from Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later), has a couple of things going for it. First, it has Clive Owen in the lead, which never hurts. And second, it sticks to old-fashioned scary movie tropes, staying...

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

ADF 2012: Mark Morris offers fitting finale to this summer's festival, which closes Saturday

Posted By on Sat, Jul 28, 2012 at 11:19 AM

MARK MORRIS DANCE GROUPAmerican Dance Festival@ DPACJuly 27-28 The American Dance Festival closes its 2012 performance season this weekend at the Durham Performing Arts Center, with two nights of the Mark Morris Dance Group, accompanied by the fine trio of the MMDG Music Ensemble. Compared to some of the ferocious, rowdy and ridiculous programs preceding it, this one is a rather mild-mannered—but it is such a treat to have live music for the dancing that one simply revels in the pleasurable experience. The evening opens with the highly amusing 1982 dance, Canonic 3/4 Studies, set to “Piano Waltzes” by...

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Miami nice: Step Up Revolution gives us what we want

Posted By on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Summit EntertainmentSTEP UP REVOLUTION* * * stars Opens Friday Step Up Revolution, the fourth installment in the Step Up franchise, ditches the bogus high-culture/low-culture clash that fueled earlier installments. The story? Sean (Ryan Guzman), head of a flashy flash mob, romances Emily (Kathryn McCormick), whose father (Peter Gallagher) plans to tear down Sean’s Miami ’hood for a luxury development. Let’s face it: Pop influences rule the arts commercially, and hip hop has dominated the music charts for three decades. That battle is over. As always, the two white-bread leads must channel the ethnic other (Black, Hispanic, Asian) in the class...

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

DVD+Digital: The melancholy comedy of Metropolitan and The Last Days of Disco

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 11:04 AM

Courtesy of the Criterion Collection Writer/director Whit Stillman's films are populated by wealthy young people—preppies, snobs, One Percenters in the larval stage—and we shouldn't really like them. And yet we do. In fact, we come to sort of love them, and if Whit Stillman can claim anything on his deathbed, it's that: He made yuppies loveable. Stillman's loosely connected 1990s trilogy of films—Metropolitan, Barcelona and The Last Days of Disco—feature young members of the privileged classes making their way into the wider world. Stillman returned to theaters earlier this year with Damsels in Distress, a more broadly funny take on...

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Slideshow: reFASHIONED at Motorco in Durham

Posted By on Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 5:57 PM

On Thursday night, Durham's Motorco Music Hall was filled with local style mavens looking to cheer on their favorite Triangle fashion designers, as the venue hosted its first reFASHIONED show. And cheer they did as a slew of regional designers sent models out on the runway to show off their latest collections. Ten designers all showcased their stuff, starting with T-shirt designs from such folk as Nyla Elise, Runaway Clothes and Johnny Swank's House of Swank. The show then went on to feature designers who deal with refurbished and recycled material, like Belindabilly, Rocket Betty, Gypsy Witch and handbag...

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

ADF 2012: Paul Taylor's flawed program

Posted By on Sat, Jul 21, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Photo by Paul B. GoodeBig BerthaPAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANYAmerican Dance Festival@ DPACThrough July 21 The Paul Taylor Dance Company took the stage at the Durham Performing Arts Center last night for their annual visit to the American Dance Festival, which concludes this evening. The mainstay company brought out a crowd expecting to see virtuosic performances from the principal dancers, and Michael Trusnovec, Amy Young and Michelle Fleet didn’t disappoint them. The real star, however, was the flawed program. A bit long with four pieces and two intermissions—and lengthened more by a curtain mishap that required repairs—the program spanned a half-century...

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Friday, July 20, 2012

NC Theatre's Oliver! is catchy and charismatic, but lacks realist edge

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Photo by Curtis Brown PhotographyNicholas Kraft as the Artful Dodger in NC Theatre's Oliver!OLIVER!* * * stars (out of five)NC TheatreThrough July 22 @ Memorial Auditorium, Raleigh It’s not really a surprise that Charles Dickens’ larger-than-life characters, comic settings and twist-filled plots would make for good musical theater, though it is a bit odd to find his novels, with such focus on class strife, transmuted into family-friendly entertainment. Oliver!, the Tony-award winning musical based on Dickens’s Oliver Twist and playing through Sunday at the North Carolina Theatre, is emblematic of Broadway’s tendency to elevate emotional spectacle over social critique. Containing...

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises: Occupy Gotham

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Photo by Ron PhillipsChristian Bale and Anne HathawayTHE DARK KNIGHT RISES* * * starsOpens late Thursday (see times below) In any other universe, The Dark Knight Rises would be hailed as the apex of superhero moviemaking, a work of such technical breadth and narrative depth that it would redefine its genre. The problem, of course, is that the final leg of director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy follows its two mega-hits predecessors, the now-oddly underrated Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Is it possible for any finale to live up to such hype and expectations? Probably not, but try and somewhat...

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ADF 2012: Shen Wei paints himself out of a corner

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Photo by Grant Halverson/ American Dance FestivalShen Wei Dance Arts' "Undivided Divided," as performed at the North Carolina Museum of Art UNDIVIDED DIVIDEDShen Wei Dance Arts@ North Carolina Museum of ArtThrough July 19 "In the end, you deliver some of your energy to another human being." —Shen Wei Our eyes met for half a moment. Smeared in pink from eyes to toenails, she turned her head aside. That panning motion continued into a casual tumble onto her back, sliding through the tempera paint that covered the floor of the Plexiglas box that contained her. Twirling upon shoulder blades and spine...

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

ADF 2012: Brian Brooks Moving Company

Posted By on Tue, Jul 17, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Rosalie O'Connor Brian Brooks Moving CompanyJuly 16-18American Dance FestivalReynolds Industries Theater Brian Brooks makes a big production out of very little material. He choreographs all of the dances, which initially give the impression of being big and glitzy, for the aptly named Brian Brooks Moving Company. And he does it with a limited vocabulary that depends on virtuosic physical expression for what interest it arouses. The dancers are supremely fit body-machines, capable of many rapid repetitions without pause. The body and certain aspects of its capabilities (such as, how close can one get to perpetual motion?) seem to be the...

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DVD+Digital: Anna Paquin, teenage wastelands and Margaret

Posted By on Tue, Jul 17, 2012 at 11:49 AM

courtesy of Fox Searchlight With its heavyweight themes, three-hour running time and addled sense of focus, director Kenneth Lonergan's MARGARET is a glorious mess of a movie. Originally intended for theatrical release in 2006, the film was to be Lonergan's directorial follow-up to his Oscar-nominated debut, You Can Count On Me. The project languished in post-production hell, however, as Lonergan and the producers fought over the final edit. Margaret had a very limited theatrical run late last year and has now been issued to home video in a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack with both the shorter theatrical cut and Lonergan's own...

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

ADF 2012: Vertigo Dance and the clarification of presence

Posted By on Sun, Jul 15, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Vertigo Dance Company - Images by Independent WeeklyVERTIGO DANCEAmerican Dance Festival@ DPACJuly 13-14 You can tell it’s an election year because of the dualities in the air. “I’m for doing this, but that guy is for doing that.” It’s obvious why political discourse is so full of these statements of polar opposition. Opposites are simple. Even babies get “either/or.” This is why there are nearly as many “opposites” books in the toddler section of the bookstore as there are those listing colors or letters of the alphabet. Something is either in or out, black or white. It’s either day or...

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

ADF 2012: Ragamala Dance's intense, hypnotic ritual

Posted By on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Photo courtesy of Ragamala DanceSacred EarthRAGAMALA DANCEAmerican Dance Festival@Reynolds Industries TheaterThrough July 12 I just saw something beautiful, although I had to forget myself to see it. Ragamala Dance, a company of six women under the artistic direction of mother-daughter team Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy, opened a three-night run of their evening-length work Sacred Earth at the American Dance Festival in Duke’s Reynolds Industries Theater. Thematically, Ragamala portrays man’s inextricable connection to nature through a rich combination of traditions such as Indian classical dance and music, Tamil Sangam poetry, Warli mural painting and Kolam floor painting. OK. That’s the straight...

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DVD+Digital: The Graduate, Spinal Tap and adventures in direct-to-DVD

Posted By on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 1:30 PM

courtesy of MGM The doldrums of summer continue on the home video beat—July and August are traditionally the horse latitudes of DVD and digital distribution. This week's most high-profile release is AMERICAN REUNION, the latest installment of the sex and bathroom humor franchise that I've been studiously avoiding for 13 years. I tried to make time to watch Reunion this week, but things just kept coming up. Like napping and staring at the wall. American Reunion is actually the eighth movie in the series, if you count the direct-to-DVD spinoffs (and I do). These are the kinds of titles that...

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Friday, July 6, 2012

ADF 2012: Perennial favorite Pilobolus falls flat

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 5:11 PM

Photo by Sam TrullSkyscrapersPilobolusADF at DPACThrough July 7www.dpacnc.com I know there is supposed to be a first time for everything—but a disappointing Pilobolus performance? Before last night I hadn’t thought it possible. Life constantly assures us that everything changes and that is all that can be depended upon, and after 40 years, surely Pilobolus’ current members must be interested in experimenting outside their well-known style. But, but, but … it is a shame that the company is messing around with simulacra when they have those electrifying bodies. American Dance Festival hosts Pilobolus each year, making happy audiences and making money...

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TV honors Andy Griffith with marathon programming

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Folks who stayed out of the house all day on July 4 may have missed out on all-day TV tributes to Andy Griffith, but that's OK. They'll get some more chances over the next couple of weeks. TV Land and The Hallmark Movie Channel wasted no time in honoring the Mt. Airy, N.C. native, who died the day before of a heart attack, at the age of 86. The Andy Griffith Show was cherry-picked for a five-hour run on TV Land, and Hallmark has been giving Matlock fans a long, loving look at rumpled, feisty southern lawyer Ben Matlock, played...

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Critical resistance is futile! The Amazing Spider-Man opens today

Posted By on Tue, Jul 3, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Courtesy of CTMG./ImageMagickSpidey and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone)THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN*** starsOpens today According to police chief Captain Stacy (Denis Leary), the latest on-screen iteration of Spider-Man isn’t a vigilante, but an anarchist. If only! While the adolescent web-slinger does rough up a few cops (though hardly enough for my taste), invoking the idea of an anarchist in a comic book movie this close to the genuine article, Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight, is a naïve gamble at best. Which is to say, it fits just fine into The Amazing Spider-Man, a movie so guileless that critical resistance is...

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DVD+Digital: It's indie quirk madness with Jesus Henry Christ

Posted By on Tue, Jul 3, 2012 at 12:30 PM

courtesy of Entertainment One The Fourth of July holiday is traditionally a slow week for DVD releases. Studios and distributors assume everyone is out grilling or watching fireworks, and not interested in home videos. I'm what you call an indoorsy person, though, and so have dutifully gone through this week's slim pickings. JESUS HENRY CHRIST is an indie comedy in the Little Miss Sunshine vein, featuring eccentric family relations, flamboyantly dark humor and precocious little kids. It's quirk overkill, frankly, and painfully self-conscious. But if you can get past all the conspicuous indie-ness, you'll find a sweet minor-key comedy with...

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Monday, July 2, 2012

ADF 2012: The sincere artifice of Monica Bill Barnes and Company

Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Photo by Grant HalversonThe opening of "Luster," which premiered this weekend at ADFREYNOLDS INDUSTRIES THEATER/ DURHAM—I figured out the reason for all the weird, prescient meteorology of the last week. It was Monica Bill Barnes and Company blowing into town. There’s no other way to put it: Barnes bedazzled Reynolds Industries Theater Sunday night at the American Dance Festival. They brought glitz; they brought glam. Batons twirled and confetti fluttered. The dancers gripped chairs in their teeth. If you need your corporeal form recharged, get to their show tonight or Tuesday. Sounds like a lot of fluff? It wasn’t. The...

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You stopped the arts coverage to cover the election..... You were probably better off just covering the arts, rather than …

by Matt Price on Will to Live Cautiously Returning? Here's a Few Things to Do This Week. (Arts)

Thanks for being there. You will be missed.

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