‘Piano’ more than just artsy

April 26, 2002
It is precisely the repression of sexuality in Western Culture that has created such a rich discourse surrounding the troubled subject, theorized the brilliant Frenchman Michel Foucault in the 1970’s. Because sexuality is the unspeakable, it becomes utterly impossible to speak of anything else. In its silence, it screams. Thank God. For if sexuality didn’t »

‘Die Fledermaus’ fails to showcase talents of cast

April 12, 2002
The salient difference between opera and musical theater is their relationship to fantasy. Operas are entirely sung (both the arias and the recitatives) and therefore squarely placed in the realm of the unreal. Grand costumes and scenery follow; so do melodramatic and overacted gestures. We accept these larger-than-life qualities because the genre itself is always »

Don’t kiss ‘Stein’: Lesbian tale tanks

April 5, 2002
I’m not sure why anybody would want to kiss Jessica Stein. Her face is pointy, her body is nervous. And really, she’s fairly dull. If only a lesbian dalliance made people interesting! Sadly, it doesn’t. Nor does a sapphic diversion make for an engaging film. Case in point: “Mulholland Drive.” Other case in point: “Kissing »

‘Storytelling’: Sex, lies and creative writing more

March 8, 2002
The first rule of screenwriting is never (ever) write phone calls into your movie. They’re often boring, never visual, and annoyingly overused. Thankfully, Todd Solondz ’81 likes breaking rules. He writes and films phone calls ruthlessly, brilliantly. They appear in his works in order to expose how people lie when they don’t have to see »

‘Dido and Aeneas’ Sumptuous direction by Paul Koch ’01 stirs audience.

February 1, 2002
One only shudders to think what Baz Luhrmann would have done with Thursday’s magnificent performance of “Dido and Aeneas.” Dido might very well have burst into Roxette’s “It must have been love.” Mercifully, Michael Lewanski ’01 (conductor) and Paul Koch ’01 (director) have no trace of Luhrmann’s posturing postmodernism. Their “Dido and Aeneas” runs twice, »

Gruesome ‘In the Bedroom’ fails to meet expectations

January 18, 2002
There is no ideal spectator for “In the Bedroom.” Viewers without children cannot possibly comprehend the depth of the main characters’ grief at the death of their only child. Viewers with children probably could not bear to watch at all. The great dilemma of Todd Field’s new film is precisely this imprecision which colors every »

Race relations fail to come into ‘Focus’

November 9, 2001
Arthur Miller and Alfred Hitchcock: both great champions of the white male antihero, both preoccupied with vision, voyeurism and vice. Both are everywhere in “Focus,” the first film from director/artist Neal Slavin. Miller’s influence is obvious: he wrote the 1945 novel on which the film is based; his language saturates the work; his characters are »

Offensive ‘Hell’ is well-made but weak

October 26, 2001
“Torture the women,” prescribed playwright Victorine Sardou. It can’t hurt a film to have tits and a scream. So hire an actress and make her pay. Hitchcock did. De Palma did. And now the Hughes Brothers (“Menace II Society”) do in “From Hell,” a half-historical gore-fest about Jack the Ripper. Set in 1888 London , »

‘Together’ paints sad portrait of Marx

October 19, 2001
Stockholm, Sweden, 1975 — a commune is coming apart. Klas loves Lasse, who doesn’t love him back but is still willing to experiment with homosexuality. Anna loves Elisabeth, mostly for political reasons. Tet and Stefan smoke cigarettes (they’re only ten) but aren’t allowed to eat meat or get Christmas presents. Too bourgeois, you see. And »

‘L.I.E.’ explores homosexuality, family and twisted suburban life

October 5, 2001
“Don’t Say a Word” gives you what you crave. The pseudo-witty banter; the shriek-prompting surprises; the affirmation of family, hard work and the Law — it’s all there. Good little Hollywood film. Even pornography isn’t this predictable. Michael Douglas plays Dr. Nathan Conrad, a brilliant clinical psychiatrist. His newest case involves Elisabeth Burrows (Brittany Murphy), »

A world of adolescence, disappearing in the ghostly mist

September 21, 2001
Amidst the cluttered and campy landscape of director Terry Zwigoff’s new film “Ghost World” protrudes the marvelous bosom of Thora Birch. Jutting into the space of the frame, Birch’s breasts dare the audience to ignore the incipient womanhood they so glaringly represent. Enid’s (Birch) is a reluctant maturation. Indeed, at the core of Zwigoff’s masterful »

The schmaltz grows on trees in cliche-filled ‘Bread and Tulips’

September 7, 2001
I have heard it said that there are three universal human fears: shame, losing control, and being abandoned. Since our story begins as housewife Rosalba Barletta (Licia Maglietta) is forgotten by her family and tour bus at a rest stop and then abusively chided for allowing herself to be left behind, we ought to have »