Hidden Figures

After wasting hours on La La Land and Moonlight, we finally watched a terrific movie last night, Hidden Figures. I had been told that this was really the top film, and of the ones I’ve seen, it’s no contest. (Synopsis: The story of African-American women who played a vital role in the unprecedented calculations required to launch and retrieve astronauts from orbit after the Sputnik scare put urgency into our space program, and the womens’ shabby treatment in the white, …


Lights, Camera, Little Action

My wife and I watched four movies over the past couple of days: Moonlight: This won the Oscar for best picture, and I wouldn’t even recommend watching it on a 16-hour plane ride unless you needed help sleeping. It’s unbearably slow, trounces its point into the ground, and is acted and directed with a sloth-like, glacial speed. Vastly overrated, I’m sorry I spent the time. It’s about an African-American kid with an addicted mother and no father and his homosexuality, …


The Critic

We just got around to seeing Moonlight, the Oscar winning film, and I found it tedious and self-indulgent. It’s as if someone found unfinished notes and published them as a book, not bothering to make connections, meaning, or dramatic tension. I’m not sure how you write, direct, or act with such a total lack of energy or insight. On another note, one of my former favorite TV shows, Homeland, has abundantly jumped the shark. This season’s arc ranged from the …


Gabriel Kreuther: Dining Review

When we asked the concierge at the Baccarat for a good pre-theater restaurant we’ve never tried, she told us there was a terrific French restaurant on West 42nd. A good French restaurant on West 42nd?! Seriously?   We’re adventurous and wound up at Gabriel Kreuther, a fantastic space with plenty of room (as opposed to the packed Le Bernadin, for example) and an open kitchen where 15 chefs were preparing their tasting menu. And, yes, we had a four-course tasting …


Overdone Smug Conceited Arrogant Revolting: OSCAR

I’ve been watching the Academy Awards since I was a kid on black and white television, with Bob Hope hosting. I was always in awe of the glamour and good humor. After we were married, my wife and I made it an annual ritual and I tried not to travel on that Sunday. Last night’s Oscar ceremony was a self-congratulatory excess of self-importance. It starts with the absurd Red Carpet and lasts for about seven hours. Women in loaned dresses …


The Mountaintop

Trinity Rep is currently performing The Mountaintop by Katori Hall (directed by Kent Gash). It takes place in a single 100-minute act in the motel room outside of which Martin Luther King was shot on the balcony. It is a supernatural play about a hotel maid cum angel (Mia Ellis) who prepared King (Joe Wilson, Jr.) for his death. Wilson is a Trinity actor of long-standing and great versatility (he was the emcee in Cabaret, for example) and this is …


The Wrong Page

I would pay anything to see on stage, together, Nathan Lane, John Slattery, John Goodman, Jefferson Mays, Holland Taylor, Robert Morse, Dann Florek and a gaggle of other fine actors. So I was happy to pay “normal” price for two, tenth-row, center orchestra seats for The Front Page, where all these talents are gathered in a limited run. The Ben Hecht/Charles MacArthur contribution to America’s play Hall of Fame was first written and performed in 1928, and it’s still set …


Arcadia

The GAMM theater in Pawtucket, a jewel of a regional acting group, tries and usually succeeds at daring productions. The theater’s size (perhaps 150 seats) creates an intimacy. Our front row-center subscription often creates the illusion that we’re in the play. My son is an equity actor who now heads an acting school in LA, his wife is an actor, and I’ve served in the past on two theater boards (including GAMM). My wife and I are regulars on Broadway …


Trinity Slays Beowulf

Take a cauldron, add in Cabaret, Rent, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Hair, then blow it up, and you’ll find yourself immersed in Trinity Rep’s brilliant Beowulf, now being performed through October 9 in Providence. You don’t walk away from this performance humming any tunes, but then again, I didn’t from In the Heights or Hamilton, either, and they’re merely two of the finest musicals of the past decade. To quote the immortal Seinfeldia lore: This show is Broadway-worthy. …


Four Movies

I recently traveled about 40,000 air miles, to Sydney and back and then to Rome and back. So I watched four movies of fairly recent vintage. My reactions: Hail Caesar: This was the best of the four, a funny satire of old Hollywood and Communist idealists, with Josh Brolin superb as a studio enforcer and coverup guy. George Clooney was wasted in the lead—anyone could have played it—but the spoof of the Communist writers, usually such subjects of empathy (see Trumbo, below), was …