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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The INDY Audiobooks Poll: Triangle fiction writers talk reading technology

Posted By on Wed, Nov 11, 2015 at 11:14 AM

For an essay on audiobooks this week, the INDY sent a questionnaire to authors around the Triangle. We were delighted by the variety and volume of their responses, which are reproduced in full here.  CHARLIE LOVETT: 1. Have you ever made an audiobook? If so, what was the experience and the result like? If not, would you ever want to? Why or why not? I've never recorded one myself, and I don't think I'd want to. Although I have a theater background and people say I have a voice for radio, I am in awe of what professional audio book...

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Movie review: Suffragette is a fiery political thriller disguised as a British prestige picture

Posted By on Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 3:08 PM

Suffragette ★★★★ Now playing Those expecting a proper period piece will be sorely disappointed by Suffragette, a restless and angry drama that sometimes plays out like a violent political thriller. The film is set in London, eight years before the 19th Amendment was ratified in the U.S., at the moment when the women's suffrage movement was turning militant. Carey Mulligan plays Maud Watts, a desperately poor washerwoman eking out a miserable existence in London circa 1912. Maud is a wage slave in an era when the term is, for all practical purposes, nearly literal. The industrial laundry she's been laboring at...

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Movie review: Reclaiming original Bond lore, Spectre is a step back for the franchise

Posted By on Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 11:52 AM

Spectre★★  Now playing Until now, Ernst Stavro Blofeld and the rest of the SPECTRE global crime syndicate hadn’t appeared in a James Bond film since 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever. But in 2013, after decades of rights-wrangling, MGM and the estate of film producer Kevin McClory finally reached a legal settlement, allowing Bond’s original infamous foes to return to the franchise. As its title might let on, the 24th Bond film is overeager to reintegrate its birthright, shoehorning it into the narrative reboot that began with Daniel Craig’s 007 and temporarily rejuvenated the franchise. But the slapdash Spectre is a nostalgic...

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Geeking out with John Hodgman at the Carolina Theatre

Posted By on Fri, Oct 30, 2015 at 2:03 PM

John Hodgman Carolina Theatre, Durham Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 You got me: I was being a little cheeky about my dislike of John Hodgman in my preview for the INDY. I’m a fan. Yes, he’s something of an epicure and clothes horse, a blue-blooded New Englander. Yes, he plays ukulele and sings in a lovely tenor voice. And yes, he has a permanent twinkle in his eye. But he’s also a huge nerd, and this is where my affection for him begins. In his Carolina Theatre show, Vacationland, Hodgman revealed that he grew up watching Doctor Who. He admitted a...

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The Strange Beauty Film Festival is a warm, unpretentious haven for experimental film

Posted By on Fri, Oct 30, 2015 at 8:12 AM

Strange Beauty Film Festival Shadowbox Studio, Durham Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 We pull into the Ample Storage facility off East Club Boulevard. Glorified storage units line up like a mini-strip mall. A plumbing business, a hair salon and a church, among others, make up a wonderful little community of entrepreneurs. Shadowbox Studio, where we have sometimes hosted our experimental film series, Unexposed, stands out from the others with its artistic, homey vibe. As we’re buying tickets for the Strange Beauty Film Festival, an hour before its kickoff, Tom Whiteside of Durham Cinematheque is setting up his double-projector 16mm film in...

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Movie review: The Assassin is a gorgeous, unusually intimate martial-arts costume drama

Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2015 at 1:45 PM

The Assassin ★★★ ½ Opening Friday Listen, I’m not going to mince words: Good luck finding out what the hell is going on in The Assassin. Renowned Chinese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s first movie in seven years, which earned him the best director award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, is an epic martial-arts period piece that’s beguiling, ambiguous and—for some, at least—frustrating in its storytelling. Good thing it’s also one of the most visually breathtaking films you’ll see this year. Nie Yinniang (Shu Qi, a ravishing Hou regular) is an assassin in 9th-century Tang Dynasty-era China. She’s ruthless and efficient,...

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PlayMakers Repertory Company appoints Obie-winning actor and director Vivienne Benesch as its new leader

Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2015 at 8:47 AM

In a press release yesterday afternoon, PlayMakers Repertory Company announced that Vivienne Benesch will become its new producing artistic director as of Jan. 1, 2016, replacing outgoing artistic director Joseph Haj. Benesch, who was chosen from group of five finalists after a six-month national search, has directed three shows at PlayMakers in the past five years. She takes the position shortly before her fourth, a production of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters, opens on Jan. 20. She was tapped to direct the show for the company’s current season in March, more than two months before the selection process for the new artistic...

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Movie review: Steve Jobs is a bittersweet symphony about the man who put a thousand songs in your pocket

Posted By on Fri, Oct 23, 2015 at 11:52 AM

Steve Jobs★★★★ ½ Now playing Steve Jobs is essentially a three-act opera. Each part is set at different times, inside different California concert halls, with composer Daniel Pemberton’s soundtrack accompanied by dollops of Bob Dylan and indie rock. The same characters rotate through each act, and at one point, Jobs (a mesmerizing Michael Fassbender) likens them to an orchestra that he conducts. But instead of being sung, the lyrics are set in screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s distinctive cadence. When scolded for shunning his young daughter, the stubborn, visionary and messianic Apple guru retorts, “God sent his only son on a suicide...

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Theater review: A dreamlike, spiky and star-studded Antigone at Carolina Performing Arts

Posted By on Wed, Oct 21, 2015 at 1:51 PM

Antigone★★★★ Friday, Oct. 9, 2015 Carolina Performing Arts at Memorial Hall When Juliette Binoche insists the new production of Sophocles' Antigone she stars in is really about Kreon, it sounds like the kind of counterintuitive reading actors use to freshen up classic works that seem to have run out of things to say. This 2,500-year-old mainstay of classical Greek tragedy certainly qualifies. Dozens of translations and adaptations—verse, prose, drama, opera, flamenco, on and on—have flourished in the last 150 years, by tough competition including the likes of Brecht, Heaney and Anouilh. But when the play sold out Memorial Hall Oct. 9...

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Movie review: Tom Hanks is a Cold War Atticus Finch in Spielberg's Bridge of Spies

Posted By on Fri, Oct 16, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Bridge of Spies★★★ ½ Now playing The childlike wonder that once accompanied the release of a Steven Spielberg film has been supplanted by an appreciation of the director’s finely honed craftsmanship, a maturation that parallels his preferred story lines. The now 68-year-old Spielberg still dabbles in the adventure flicks of his filmmaking yesteryear. But now they turn out like The Adventures of Tintin and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Bridge of Spies is Spielberg’s stab at a Cold War spy film, filling another chronological gap in his growing oeuvre of historical dramas. The titular thoroughfare refers...

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Unclassifiable author Brian Selznick gives young readers a gentle introduction to tragedy

Posted By on Fri, Oct 16, 2015 at 12:52 PM

Brian Selznick Friday, Oct. 16, 7 p.m., $5 Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh 3313 Wade Ave., Raleigh 919-828-1588 www.quailridgebooks.com Brian Selznick’s books for children are hard to define. They combine long, wordless illustrated sequences with equally long chunks of prose. They jump between the past and present, crafting mysteries that wind up involving real history and historical figures, but with a modern attitude. There’s a darkness and maturity to them that should go over most kids’ heads, but they’re beloved by elementary and middle-school children. Selznick’s latest book, The Marvels, which he’s promoting tonight at a Quail Ridge Books-sponsored talk...

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Dance review: The Department of Improvised Dance puts props through the paces in Stations

Posted By on Fri, Oct 16, 2015 at 8:07 AM

The Department of Improvised Dance: Stations Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015 Durable Durham Warehouse When the set is cluttered with props, you can expect the performance to be weighted toward the “theater” side of dance theater. That was the case in The Department of Improvised Dance’s new show, Stations, last weekend, which also kicked off Durham Independent Dance Artists’ second season. But almost all of the props were at the service of the movement, not the other way around. In a new, low-ceilinged warehouse space on Ramseur Street, the set included a wire-frame bathtub with a light-fixture showerhead, a jammed-full clothes...

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Size matters: Neil deGrasse Tyson brings his expanding universe to Durham

Posted By on Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 9:14 AM

Neil deGrasse Tyson Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015 Durham Performing Arts Center Like Bill Nye and LeVar Burton before him, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has achieved the kind of stardom that makes knowledge seem impossibly cool. Tyson is the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, a popular author and radio host and, of course, the face of the modern-day Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. The staff of UNC’s Morehead Planetarium brought Tyson to Chapel Hill in 2012. He led an impromptu stargazing session by the campus sundial—at 4 o'clock in the morning. But that was before Cosmos projected the...

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Monday, October 12, 2015

The lost Colony: With the Raleigh art-house set to close, we reflect on its legacy as a hub for indie and retro film fans

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 1:43 PM

As several new theaters try to change the local moviegoing experience, one of the Triangle’s centers for independent film is about to shut its doors for good. Last week, the News & Observer reported that the Colony, which has operated in North Raleigh since 1994, will close in late December, as part of a plan to consolidate resources and fund improvements to parent company Ambassador Entertainment’s flagship, the Rialto, in Raleigh’s Five Points neighborhood. The Colony has a long history, opening as Six Forks Cinema in 1972. By the 1980s, it had become a second-run movie house. Then it was restored by...

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Theater review: Evan Mitchell's Masked brings commedia dell’arte to the Carrack

Posted By on Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 12:23 PM

MASKED: A ONE-MAN CONTEMPORARY COMMEDIA DELL’ARTE OBSESSION★★★ Saturday, Oct. 3 and 10, 8 p.m. $5 suggested donation The Carrack Modern Art 111 W. Parrish St., Durham 704-213-6666 When Evan Mitchell steps out from behind a shoji screen at one end of the Carrack, he reminds us how rarely we see fully embodied characters in this region. For many performers, acting is an enterprise that mostly takes place from the neck up. Each week, dozens of them convince audiences in theaters across the region mostly with their versatility and strength of voice and countenance. But the conventions of commedia dell’arte limit...

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Movie review: Apollo 13 meets Cast Away in sci-fi master Ridley Scott's The Martian

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 1:48 PM

The Martian ★★★ ½ Now playing With its earnest discussions of orbital velocities and hexadecimal alphabets, director Ridley Scott’s The Martian is one nerdy-ass science fiction movie—in a good way. Matt Damon headlines as astronaut Mark Watney, a biologist on the Ares III manned mission to Mars. In a recognizable near future, NASA is properly funded and technology is sufficiently advanced to enable giant interplanetary space ships to make regular trips to Mars. Things quickly go sideways, however, when a rogue dust storm hits the Ares III landing party on the surface of the planet. Watney is separated, presumed dead...

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Movie review: Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro trade intergenerational life lessons in The Intern

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 2:29 PM

The Intern★★★ Now playing Nancy Meyers is a one-woman show. The writer-director of Something’s Gotta Give and It’s Complicated is known for tightly controlling every aspect of her films, going so far as to personally fill each side table with vases of fluffy peonies and roses to evoke a sense of manicured luxury. Her consuming attention to detail, in both her characters and their gorgeously sculpted world, is inspiring if admittedly unrealistic. In her latest, it’s easy to see Meyers in young ingénue Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway), a woman who is so committed to her company’s success that she takes...

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Movie review: Notorious Boston mobster Whitey Bulger immortalized, if not revealed, in Black Mass

Posted By on Fri, Sep 18, 2015 at 10:19 AM

Black Mass★★★ Now playing Johnny Depp’s reptilian portrayal of James “Whitey” Bulger in Black Mass seems spawned from Method acting animal work. His translucent eyes and capacious brow connote a coiled copperhead, though his skittishness suggests one in the midst of shedding its skin. And like the wayfarer who stumbles upon an ornery ophidian, director Scott Cooper seems petrified of his star. He dares not detract focus from the danger on display, even if it means missing the forest for the tree snake. Whitey (“Call me Jimmy”) Bulger and his Winter Hill Gang ran roughshod over South Boston from the...

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Movie review: See '70s disaster-movie throwback Everest in the theater or not at all

Posted By on Thu, Sep 17, 2015 at 2:54 PM

Everest ★★★ Opening Friday There are movies you want to see on the big screen if you're going to see them at all. Big spectacle movies just don't scale down that well to the screens and speakers of your living-room TV, computer screen or—god help us—mobile device. Everest is just that kind of movie. Based on a true story, it's an old-fashioned disaster drama with cutting-edge visual design. There are sights and sounds that will make your heart race and your stomach drop. Filmed in IMAX 3D, it's built from the ground up to be experienced on a really...

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

M.C. Escher speaks through new downtown Raleigh murals

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2015 at 8:27 AM

On Thursday morning, the first day of Hopscotch, painter David Eichenberger stares at an off-kilter A-frame ladder. One set of the ladder’s legs sits on a platform nearly a foot above the second, and the entire thing is perched atop tall metal scaffolding in front of AHPeele Studio in downtown Raleigh. Eichenberger is one word into a six-word mural, and he looks at the silver ladder, uneasy. “Are you going to climb that thing?” I ask, peering up at him from below the metal tangle. A few onlookers crane their necks to get a better view. Even cars on notoriously zippy...

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Theater review: Five playwrights walk into a bar

Posted By on Mon, Sep 14, 2015 at 4:34 PM

Cary Playwrights' Forum: Bar Plays ★★★ Mac’s Tavern, Cary Thursday, Sept. 10 Five playwrights walk into a bar. By the time the waitress gets to their table, they’re seated and everything’s set up: five manuscripts, an assortment of pens and pencils and a deck of playing cards in the middle. When the waitress asks what the cards are for, they say, “We’re playing script poker.” Thankfully, a number of the jokes were better than that when five real playwrights—and a group of their friends—walked into Mac’s Tavern Thursday night. Just over an hour later, a standing-room crowd warmly applauded Bar Plays, an...

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Friday, September 11, 2015

Movie review: I see old people! M. Night Shyamalan does the twist in The Visit

Posted By on Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 11:17 AM

The Visit★★★ Now playing Fairly or not, when you go into an M. Night Shyamalan movie, you expect a twist. The director made his bones in Hollywood with 1999’s The Sixth Sense, which features one of the most cleverly obscured script flips in the history of scary movies. Shyamalan's plot-twist movies since then have usually been underwhelming (Signs and The Happening) and occasionally underrated (The Village). In his prior effort, the breathtakingly awful After Earth with Will Smith, Shyamalan pulled off his greatest trick by turning a $130 million budget into nothing at all. The director's new film, The Visit,...

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Hopscotch Design Festival gets back to basics with Herman Miller's Steve Frykholm

Posted By on Thu, Sep 10, 2015 at 4:34 PM

Iconic furniture manufacturer Herman Miller’s design pedigree requires no introduction, but just in case: think Eames, Nelson, Noguchi and the ubiquitous Aeron chair (the company claims to produce one every 17 seconds). For me, Steve Frykholm, Herman Miller’s Vice President of Creative Design, added real credibility to the Hopscotch Design Festival, which wraps up today. He was the warmest, wisest, most intelligent speaker I saw yesterday. Frykholm, an AIGA Medalist, is a designer to the core. His company picnic posters belong to MoMA’s permanent collection. Outfitted in a colorful, checked button-down and bushy gray beard, he offered some design advice he’d...

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Hopscotch Design Festival declares war on technology

Posted By on Wed, Sep 9, 2015 at 4:43 PM

The Hopscotch Design Festival is in full swing today (read the INDY's preview), launching with an introduction by co-founder Matthew Muñoz, chief design officer at Raleigh’s New Kind. The company's offices are in one of Raleigh’s more pristine modernist buildings, designed by a protégé of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Muñoz noted the presence of “so many people with different backgrounds,” even though the attendees were predictably homogenous: young white people with glasses and interesting sneakers. Less predictably, the festival got started with a couple of surprisingly anti-tech presentations. The keynote guest, New York Times best-selling author Austin Kleon (Steal Like...

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Movie review: A surprisingly slapdash adaptation of Bill Bryson's book A Walk in the Woods

Posted By on Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 12:03 PM

A Walk in the Woods★ ½  Now playing Travel writer Bill Bryson is bored. Semi-retired in a stately New England homestead, he longs for one more grand adventure. Bryson (Robert Redford) stumbles upon his chance when he takes a stroll and discovers that the Appalachian Trail runs right through his neighborhood. Inspired, he decides to hike the entire thing, despite his advanced age and inexperience with wilderness camping. Bryson partners with his old college pal, Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte), another restless 70-something. The two men had a falling out long ago—Bryson became a publishing success; Katz a drunken womanizer—and they...

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Most Recent Comments

Thanks RobU. This review ran online only.

by Brian Howe, INDY managing editor for arts & culture on Theater Review: Three Shakespeare Plays Are Pared Down to a Ninety-Minute Game of Dramatic Chess in Henry VI (Arts)

Great review! Since it was out in previous paper, how do we get this in print? Possible to order it?

by RobU on Theater Review: Three Shakespeare Plays Are Pared Down to a Ninety-Minute Game of Dramatic Chess in Henry VI (Arts)

This show is dreadful. I watched clips of the London production which lacked the wonderful sets in the Australian production. …

by mrappleby on Love never dies, but many terrible musicals have: Sitting through Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom sequel. (Arts)

Awesome summation of the beauty and skill surrounding this tap festival! Great Job Dan!
Annabel's mom💕 …

by Dcable on Dance Review: Tap Genius Michelle Dorrance Brings It Home at the NC Rhythm Tap Festival (Arts)

Comments

Thanks RobU. This review ran online only.

by Brian Howe, INDY managing editor for arts & culture on Theater Review: Three Shakespeare Plays Are Pared Down to a Ninety-Minute Game of Dramatic Chess in Henry VI (Arts)

Great review! Since it was out in previous paper, how do we get this in print? Possible to order it?

by RobU on Theater Review: Three Shakespeare Plays Are Pared Down to a Ninety-Minute Game of Dramatic Chess in Henry VI (Arts)

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