No Concessions: Rational and “Irrational Man”

As literary figures go, Sherlock Holmes, birthed in 1887, has been well-served by 20th century media. Looking through my DVD and Blu-ray shelves I can find numerous good adaptations, some traditional and some free, ranging from the Basil Rathbone pictures in ...

Exit Lines: Bard Games

It’s that time of the year again here in New York–Shakespeare in the Park time, so get on line early in Central Park, pack a picnic lunch after you’ve obtained your tickets (you can get good sandwiches at the Delacorte before ...

No Concessions: Dino Sore

Though the competition is great, I vote the sequence where the T-rex emerges from the rain and the darkness in Jurassic Park as the best directed and most suspenseful action sequence in all of Steven Spielberg’s movies, including my beloved Jaws. ...

Exit Lines: Last Call

After the Tony Awards, comes the reckoning, as fading shows that came away empty-handed fold up their tents. Thank heaven for little girls? In the case of Gigi, with High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens, the answer would be “no.” ...

Exit Lines: Tony Time 2015

I meant to file a couple of preview/prognostication pieces before Sunday’s night’s big, big show. But…twas not to be, as a man of the theatre once said.

It started like this…

“The Tony Awards are upon us…and where plays are ...

No Concessions: “Love & Mercy”

1988’s Brian Wilson is one of my very favorite albums. Around the time of its release, I read in Rolling Stone or Variety or maybe both that a biopic was in the works, with William Hurt as Wilson, who had come ...

Exit Lines: “The Spoils”

When you’ve seen a show, and afterwards you obsess about punching its playwright and star in the mouth–well, something has gone wrong. Or, maybe, that’s what its playwright and star wants you to obsess about. He pretty much says as much ...

Exit Lines: The 2015 Drama Desk Awards

New York’s theatre awards season wraps up next Sunday with the Tonys, broadcast on CBS. Last night, my member organization, the Drama Desk, celebrated its 60th anniversary, which can still be enjoyed here.

The Drama Desk is the only ...

No Concessions: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Mad Max: Fury Road is, among other positives, a time machine for film critics of a certain age. A few minutes in and I was back in front of HBO circa 1980 watching the original Max Max (1979), probably for the ...

No Concessions: “Maggie”

In Maggie, Arnold Schwarzenegger has a teenage daughter who’s a zombie. Not the usual, comatose-on-the-couch, waiting-for-a-boy-to-call zombie, but a zombie zombie–a victim of the “necro-ambulatory virus,” which, having ravaged our cities, is burning through the heartland, killing all plant and animal ...

No Concessions: “Furious Seven”

“Cars don’t fly,” Brian (Paul Walker) tells his son early on in Furious 7, which caps, if not concludes, the boxoffice phenomenon revved up by The Fast and the Furious (2001). That is, of course, a joke–shiny, expensive cars spend more ...

Exit Lines: “Hamilton”

Broadway’s top ticket is Larry David’s Fish in the Dark, which has set a record for advance sales. (Pretty, pretty good!) Off Broadway, it’s…Alexander Hamilton? Founding father, Federalist Papers, Treasury Secretary, Aaron Burr...that Alexander Hamilton? Yes–but not your great-great-great-etc. grandmother’s Alexander ...

No Concessions: My Oscar Ballot, 2014 Edition

Two-bit analysis follows.

This year’s ballot:

Best Picture: Birdman

Best Director: Alexander Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman

Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Best Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Best ...

Spinning Discs: An Animated Discussion

Cabin fever set in? Home video can help. Here’s an alphabetical guide to get you through a few more weeks of winter.

But first: the kids. Them. My friends in Boston are practically home-schooling these days, due to weather-related disturbances. Fortunately there ...

Exit Lines: “Come Look at the Freaks”

Where does one of the world’s sexiest men go to transform himself into one of the more celebrated grotesques in history? Why, Broadway, of course–where Bradley Cooper, following in the footprints of David Bowie and Billy Crudup, is covering himself in ...

Exit Lines: Leading Lights

In an era dominated by superheroes and other non-human factors, stars don’t mean much at the movies these days–if they did, would the likes of Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, and Robert De Niro be turning up in slenderly budgeted VOD obscurities. ...

No Concessions: “Big Eyes”

Last week’s national nightmare is over, sort of, as Sony puts The Interview into release–in a few, mostly out of the way theaters, and on a handful or so of balky streaming platforms. That’ll show ya, Kim! Likely to be playing nearer your ...

Exit Lines: Ships Coming In

“You know what the biggest problem with that show is?” said my friend after we had exited The Last Ship, Sting’s first foray into musical theatre. “Its biggest problem is that its main character is an asshole.”

The “asshole problem” ...

No Concessions: Cancelling “The Interview”

On paper, The Interview looked–well, maybe not great, but half-decent, a rare attempt by a Hollywood studio at a comedy with satiric bite. Think co-director Seth Rogen and James (“I’m creating as fast as I can”) Franco as a contemporary Bob ...

Exit Lines: Going Off

Before diving into the 2014 part of the 2014-2015 Broadway theatre season, let’s look at some of the shows running Off Broadway. In the land beyond the Great White Way, it’s war.

Suzan-Lori Parks’ Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts ...

Spinning Discs: All the Trimmings

I don’t do holiday gift guides. Not my bag. But–’tis the season and everyone’s having big sales from now until the end of the year, so rather than be Scrooge about it, feel free to stuff your stockings with new releases from ...

Spinning Discs: Witches Brew

Halloween festivities started early for us, as Maleficent arrived a few days ahead of street date–and when Angelina Jolie knocks on your door, you open it. The closest thing we have to a queen of the world, Jolie enjoyed a huge ...

No Concessions: Blood on the Festival Floor

The 52nd New York Film Festival saw more of me than in the past few years, as fortunate scheduling allowed me to see eight films during the event, which ended on Sunday, and one more entrant outside Lincoln Center. Of course, ...

Exit Lines: “King Lear”

Here in New York we’re in the middle of what’s called the “Off” season–that is, the Off Broadway season, full of festivals and other theatrical diversions now that Tony season is well over. Broadway still offers a show or two, but ...