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Friday, May 18, 2018

Movie Review: Sebastián Lelio's Hotly Anticipated Disobedience Is a Strangely Flat Look at Lesbian Love in a Hasidic Community

Posted By on Fri, May 18, 2018 at 6:30 PM

Disobedience ★★½ Now playing Acclaimed Chilean director Sebastián Lelio's hotly anticipated Disobedience sets out to explore the complexities of lesbian sexuality within the conservative, hermetic Hasidic community. The film stars Rachel Weisz as Ronit and Rachel McAdams as Esti, former teenage lovers who became estranged when Ronit fled the restrictive life of the Hasidim to become a photographer in New York. When Ronit returns to attend her father’s funeral, she discovers that Esti has married Dovid (Alessandro Nivola), a close childhood friend of the two women. Cowritten by Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Disobedience is flat in transmitting the sense of...

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Theater Review: Francesca Ferrari Captures a Rock Icon's Reckless Conviction in A Night with Janis Joplin

Posted By on Thu, May 17, 2018 at 2:57 PM

A Night with Janis Joplin ★★★★ Through Sunday, May 20 Fletcher Opera Theater, Raleigh It’s the matter-of-fact delivery that makes the line so devastating. “People like their blues singers miserable,” Janis Joplin says. “People like their blues singers to die.” Boom. All the light and air go out of the room as designer Ryan O’Gara silhouettes the vulnerable rock star in a single cold, white spotlight. There are other moments that qualify NC Theatre’s production of A Night with Janis Joplin as something of a musical séance, at least when Francesca Ferrari is at the helm as the title character....

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Friday, May 4, 2018

Theater Review: NRACT's Peter and the Starcatcher Has the Line Item Often Left Out of Production Budgets: Imagination

Posted By on Fri, May 4, 2018 at 10:30 AM

Peter and the Starcatcher★★★★ Through Sunday, May 6 North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre, Raleigh Sometimes the cheapest theatrical effects have the greatest charm. I remember how an overhead projector, a cake of shoe polish, and a stick once replaced the digital projector and graphics software we couldn’t get for a college production. Voila! Magic writing on the wall for about $1.98, and a reminder that you don’t always need five, four, or even three figures to pull off a show. The line item most often left out of production budgets is for imagination. That’s hardly in short supply...

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Monday, April 30, 2018

Theater Review: Shakespeare Speaks to Every Age but Sometimes Mumbles When He's Drunk

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2018 at 4:03 PM

ShakesBEER II: The Bard Strikes Back★★★ Through Thursday, May 3 Various venues, Triangle-wide Shakespeare speaks to every age. Sometimes, though, he mumbles when he’s drunk. That’s one takeaway from Bare Theatre's ShakesBEER II, a new comic collection of Shakespearean souses that’s making the rounds at local bars through this Thursday. (We saw it at Mystery Brewing Co. in Hillsborough; the remaining shows are at Durham's Ponysaurus on May 2 and Raleigh’s Imurj on May 3.) As with the show’s first incarnation, adaptor Chuck Keith, director Dustin Britt, and a winning quartet of game young actors filter what performer Glenn Greggs...

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Full Frame: The Price of Everything Is a Nuanced Indictment of Art's Relationship to Money

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 12:27 PM

The Price of Everything★★★★½ Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Durham I had been waiting for this documentary for almost ten years. In the early 2010s, I was an art history graduate student working at a mid-level gallery in New York’s Chelsea scene, wanting to experience the world of contemporary art firsthand. I was certainly in for a surprise, finding that art galleries were more akin to Wall Street than the avant-garde collective of makers I had romanticized. Instead, I witnessed the art market operating as a form of currency and exchange; paintings were financial assets analogous to stocks and...

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Full Frame: Fred Rogers, Who Benevolently Raised Generations of Children on Public Television, Gets His Due in Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 11:28 AM

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?★★★★½ Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Durham Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the story of the nationally beloved TV icon known as Mr. Rogers, captures the incredibly genuine nature of the late Fred Rogers. This man was not making a television show to strike it rich, wield power, prove someone right or wrong, or make something of himself. He made the show because he cared so deeply about children, about helping them process their thoughts and feelings in a complex world of adults who told them they would understand everything when they were older. Through...

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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Full Frame: Talal Derki Daringly Infiltrates a Jihadist Community in Of Fathers and Sons

Posted By on Sat, Apr 7, 2018 at 10:03 AM

Of Fathers and Sons★★★★ Friday, April 6 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Durham Have you ever glimpsed life inside a radical Islamic caliphate? If you’re reading this, you probably haven’t. Anyone who has is most likely still living inside it, not sharing its story with the world. Though they are an extreme minority to the overwhelming majority of peaceful Muslims, jihadists magnetize global media attention with their egregiously violent acts. Still, we seldom see their day-to-day life. Journalists and documentarians can't just walk in and out of radical Islamic communities. Well, not unless they have the daring to temporarily...

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Dance Review: Burnished Movement, Striking Set Design, and a Certain Superb Style in Nederlands Dans Theater's Dreamy Show at UNC

Posted By on Thu, Apr 5, 2018 at 10:56 AM

Nederlands Dans Theater ★★★★½ Thursday, March 29 UNC’s Memorial Hall, Chapel Hill It’s not even close to fair. Dancers around the U.S. work on shoestrings to create modest performances with minimal sets, and even some of the country’s most renowned modern dance companies struggle to make ends meet. And then in waltzes some European company, basking in the glow of respect traditionally accorded to the arts in Europe and fat with state funding that attracts some of the best dancers in the world and affords gorgeous, imaginative staging. It’s not right. What it can be, however, is inspiring, reminding...

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Friday, March 30, 2018

Dance Review: Though It Offers Few Answers, Frivolous Artist Carefully Leads Us Toward Questions About Art and Participation

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2018 at 11:59 AM

Frivolous Artist ★★★★ Through Saturday, March 31 The Fruit, Durham At sunset we stood amid construction cones. On the roof of The Fruit, a trumpeter serenaded the fading light and the silhouette of downtown. Ginger Wagg, bulbous in a suit of crumpled blue paper and netting, waddled into the crowd, fishing out tiny multicolored slips and handing them to us. Mine read, “To free from difficulties.” I’m expecting at some point to not know what’s going on, I heard one audience member admit to another about the show to come. It reminded me of some promotional text I’d read about...

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Friday, March 23, 2018

Dance Review: A Witty Boléro at Carolina Ballet Blends Darker Elements with a Day at the Beach

Posted By on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 2:34 PM

Boléro ★★★½ Through Sunday, March 25 Fletcher Opera Theater, Raleigh Warmer weather must be in the offing; Carolina Ballet’s principal dancers, Lara O’Brien and Yevgeny Shlapko, have already packed their bags for the seashore. A quick inventory: Sunscreen? Check. Shades? Got ‘em. Pointe shoes for her, ballet slippers for him? Those would be mandatory. For this pair, guest choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s witty new adaptation of Maurice Ravel’s Boléro ultimately proves (despite the subtitle in the playbill) to be anything but a proverbial "day at the beach." The choreographer’s levity is visible even during the straight-faced opening moments, as a...

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Theater Review: Pequod Productions' No Exit Is a Problematic but Promising Attempt at an Existential Classic

Posted By on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 9:35 AM

No Exit★★½ Through Sunday, March 25 Page-Walker Arts and History Center, Cary Minds great and small have debated the concept of Hell for millennia. Christian fundamentalists think it’s stoked with fire and brimstone; Dante believed it is frozen in the middle. George Bernard Shaw said it’s full of amateur musicians. Nobel laureate Jean-Paul Sartre added his now-famous insight, “Hell is other people,” in No Exit, the groundbreaking existential drama he wrote during the French occupation in 1944. Sartre’s dictum is no mere statement of distaste, as it’s often misinterpreted. For him, the basic fact that others exist demands human...

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Monday, March 19, 2018

Theater Review: Even After a Recent Revision, EverScape Playwright Allan Maule's Framing the Shot Still Feels Like Early Work

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2018 at 2:52 PM

Framing the Shot ★★★ Through March 25 Sonorous Road Theatre, Raleigh Almost a decade before he wrote EverScape, his breakout play about online-gaming culture, which won accolades at the 2015 New York International Fringe Festival, Allan Maule wrote and staged three-person comedy Framing the Shot for his master’s thesis at UNC-Chapel Hill. But even after an upgrade that flips the genders of the two main characters for this Sonorous Road production, it still feels like an earlier, less-developed work. In Framing the Shot, a Chicago glassworker named Terry bursts into his neighbor Jacob’s apartment with a renewed lust for...

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Theater Review: Some Vocal Problems Aside, Fats Waller-Based Musical Ain't Misbehavin' Left Us Humming

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2018 at 1:35 PM

Ain’t Misbehavin’ ★★★ Through March 25 North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre, Raleigh As is discussed in our article on the Bull City Black Theatre Festival (see tomorrow's issue), the Triangle's African-American stage artists have repeatedly demonstrated a bench deep enough to fill multiple iterations of works by August Wilson and Lorraine Hansberry—but the scarcity of such roles still leaves many of them benched. Stepping out of her usual role as a lighting designer and into the director’s chair, Liz Grimes Droessler attempts to underline that fact—and provide twice as many African-American actors valuable stage time—by double-casting this North...

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Movie Review: Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time Builds a Bold, Chaotic Bridge Between the Twelve-Year-Olds of the Sixties and Today

Posted By on Thu, Mar 8, 2018 at 9:39 AM

A Wrinkle in Time★★★ Opening Friday, March 9 Before the screening of A Wrinkle in Time I attended, the women on either side of me were musing about how the Madeleine L’Engle book was their favorite when they were twelve. The film is a bold, messy adaptation of the classic novel, but for a new generation of twelve-year-olds, it could prove to be a similar touchstone. This is hardly a passive, by-the-numbers checklist of plot points, the fate of most YA books translated to the big screen. Following Selma and 13th, director Ava DuVernay saturates the film with colorful...

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Movie Review: Believe the Hype About Black Panther, an All-Time Great Superhero Saga

Posted By on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 10:23 AM

Black Panther★★★★★ Now playing At first, I was worried about the direction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe after it was acquired by Disney. Disappointed by the progression of the Star Wars franchise (which is also now owned by Disney), I had reservations about Mickey Mouse’s fingerprints getting all over one of the most royal heroes in the Marvel universe. But my reservations evaporated during the first ten minutes of Black Panther, without a doubt one of the greatest superhero movies of all time. With a star-studded cast—including Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, the king of Wakanda and Marvel’s first black...

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Theater Review: At a Time When a Small Minority of Architects Are Women, What We're Up Against Is No Mere Period Piece

Posted By on Thu, Jan 18, 2018 at 11:20 AM

What We’re Up Against ★★★★ Through Sunday, Jan. 28 Peace University’s Leggett Theatre, Raleigh You could tell the women in the audience had heard these rationalizations and runarounds before. One snorted audibly as Stu Wilson, the sexist managing architect at a prominent design firm, pontificated on women's place in his field at the outset of Theresa Rebeck’s potent office drama, What We’re Up Against. Holding court with a glass of scotch in one hand, Stu briefed his underling, Ben, on why he was denying Eliza, a bright young hire, any chance of doing meaningful work after five months on the...

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Friday, January 5, 2018

Movie Review: I, Tonya Cribs Scorsese's Tricks for a Uniquely American Tale of Crass Competition and Class Conflict

Posted By on Fri, Jan 5, 2018 at 9:51 AM

I, Tonya★★★★ Now playing Director Craig Gillespie’s dark comedy about disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding liberally borrows Martin Scorsese’s filmmaking trademarks, starting with his penchant for kinetic biopics. There are slow-motion pans, fast dolly zooms, a period-appropriate rock soundtrack, and actors who break the fourth wall. Heck, the final shot is of the blood-stained mat in a boxing ring. But if you’re going to ape Scorsese, you might as well do it right. Gillespie breathes a breezy, fresh perspective into a true American tale seemingly picked clean by the tabloid media that was just starting to infiltrate the mainstream when...

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Movie Review: All the Money in the World Is Solid, but the Real Drama Lies in the Last-Minute Recasting of J. Paul Getty After Kevin Spacey's Downfall

Posted By on Sun, Dec 24, 2017 at 10:01 AM

All the Money in the World★★★ Opening Monday, Dec. 25 There’s a really interesting movie around All the Money in the World, but it’s not the one being released on Christmas day. Instead, it's the making-of retrospective I hope we'll see someday, which will detail the Herculean task of recasting and reshooting the film's lead actor a month before its release. After multiple sexual harassment and assault allegations came to light in October against Kevin Spacey, who had already filmed his scenes as industrialist J. Paul Getty, director Ridley Scott recast Christopher Plummer in the role. Plummer shot his scenes...

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Movie Review: For Better and Worse, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water Is a Beautiful Children’s Movie for Adults

Posted By on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 at 5:00 PM

The Shape of Water★★★ Opening Friday, Dec. 15 Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water is a moral tale for troubled times. An Amazonian sea creature held captive in a Cold War-era American research lab is watched over by tyrannical government functionary Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon). He tortures the creature and plans to vivisect it in order to one-up the Soviet Union in the race for scientific knowledge. All goes smoothly until a mute janitor, Elisa (Sally Hawkins), starts to fall in love with the creature and tries to save it from certain doom. The screenplay by del Toro and...

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Theater Review: Bare Theatre Breaks Out Stronger Stuff for Its Second Round of Drunken Shakespeare in Local Taverns

Posted By on Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 2:26 PM

ShakesBEER 2.0: The Bard Strikes Back★★★½ Through Friday, Dec. 22 Various locations, Triangle-wide Now we know: Macbeth’s porter was off by one in his famous list. Drunkenness, the topic of his comic monologue in the Scottish Play’s second act, provokes five things, not four: nose-painting, sleep, urine, lechery—and merriment. The proof is abundant in Bare Theatre’s ShakesBeer 2.0, a rewarding forty-five-minute revue of Shakespearean sots, currently in the midst of a month-long crawl through nine (count ‘em!) regional drinking establishments. (We saw it at Zog's in Chapel Hill.) With considerable poise and boozy bonhomie, four new actors, led by director...

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Theater Review: It's an Awkward Time for a Gypsy Revival, but NC Theatre's Production Doesn't Let Us or Its Characters Off the Hook

Posted By on Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 5:02 PM

Gypsy★★★★ Through Sunday, Nov. 19 Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, Raleigh It’s an awkward time for a revival of Gypsy, biggest of the big-time classic Broadway musicals. After the recent death of Hugh Hefner, our culture has been re-reexamining the social politics of the skin trade, including sex work, pornography, and erotic dancing, the famous occupation of the musical’s subject: Louise Hovick, better known to the world as Gypsy Rose Lee. A seemingly endless tide of sexual harassment allegations against public figures have complicated those deliberations even further. Arthur Laurents’s backstage script skirts these issues during the first act as it relates...

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Theater Review: One Work Clearly Stands Out in Cary Playwrights Forum's Annual Romp Through Short Plays Set and Performed in Bars

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 3:40 PM

Bar Plays 3.0★★ Closing Thursday, Nov. 16 Fortnight Brewing, Cary If you think ten-minute plays are the kiddie pool or the junior division of theater, think again. It’s hard enough for a playwright, a director, and actors to introduce and develop vivid characters, place them in a novel situation, support them with a robust backstory, and authentically convey the truth of changing lives or cultures in two full acts. Condensing all that activity to fit in a tenth of that time requires ruthless editing, extreme economy of expression, and unwavering focus from directors and actors in each of their six...

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Movie Review: Justice League's Concoction of Snyder's Bombast and Whedon's Wit Actually Kind of Works

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 2:18 PM

Justice League ★★★½ Opening Friday, Nov. 17 Earlier this year, after the death of his daughter, Zack Snyder—the de facto patriarch of the DC Extended Universe—stepped away from post-production on Justice League, which brings together Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman with other classic DC Comics characters. Enter Joss Whedon, who directed both Avengers films. The result is a Justice League that seems born of two fathers, combining Snyder’s bombastic iconography with Whedon’s crowd-pleasing wit. Superman/Kal El (Henry Cavill) died at the end of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and his legacy is now the stuff of black bunting and...

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Movie Review: Lady Bird, a Winning First Film from Greta Gerwig, Is Alert to Class but Falters on Race

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 11:01 AM

Lady Bird★★★ Opening Friday, Nov. 17 In many ways, Lady Bird is a winning directorial debut by Greta Gerwig, who also wrote the film. It captures the fuzzy nostalgia as well as the pains of coming of age at the start of the twenty-first century, as the Iraq War blares through the television in the background of a bustling Catholic family’s life. Saoirse Ronan plays the title character, a slightly rebellious Sacramento teen battling for autonomy with her financially struggling, overwhelmed nurse mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf). But for all of Lady Bird’s blurred lucidity, its anxieties about race and the...

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Dance Review: Proto-Oversharer Samuel Pepys Goes to Pieces in Big Dance Theater's 17c

Posted By on Fri, Nov 10, 2017 at 1:47 PM

Big Dance Theater: 17c ★★★½ Thursday, Nov. 9 & Friday, Nov. 10 UNC's Memorial Hall, Chapel Hill 17c, Big Dance Theater’s newest production, begins before the house lights go down. A woman in a curly seventeenth-century wig stands before the audience and gives a little background on what’s coming up. She explains that the protagonist and main subject of the show is Samuel Pepys, that meticulous English diarist who, between 1660 and 1669, recorded just about everything that happened to him for his own private use. “I enjoyed my wife; my yard was stiff,” the performer reads from one of...

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Any plans to bring Precarity to New Orleans?

by Mary Deemer Magee on Meet a Forgotten Legend of New Orleans Jazz in British Artist John Akomfrah's Precarity at the Nasher (Arts)

This review is idiotic.

by Fillum Critick on Movie Review: Deadpool Is Spider-Man But With Nudity, Gore and No Fourth Wall (Arts)

I think Vitiello's intent was good. But this "article" is lousy. I don't agree with Wimberly's argument, but the way …

by em gso on We Think CAM Raleigh Hasn't Answered the Community's Questions About Its Controversial Margaret Bowland Show. Curator Dexter Wimberly Says We Just Don't Like the Answers. (Arts)

Lousy, half thought, 'conversations' like this are strychnine to meaningful art.

The artist should point at the wall …

by Art Critic on We Think CAM Raleigh Hasn't Answered the Community's Questions About Its Controversial Margaret Bowland Show. Curator Dexter Wimberly Says We Just Don't Like the Answers. (Arts)

This is the first truly good art to grace the walls of CAM in a very long time. I hope …

by Art Critic on CAM Raleigh Director Gab Smith Speaks About the Margaret Bowland Controversy and the Museum's Desire to Listen and Learn (Arts)

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Any plans to bring Precarity to New Orleans?

by Mary Deemer Magee on Meet a Forgotten Legend of New Orleans Jazz in British Artist John Akomfrah's Precarity at the Nasher (Arts)

This review is idiotic.

by Fillum Critick on Movie Review: Deadpool Is Spider-Man But With Nudity, Gore and No Fourth Wall (Arts)

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