Boy enslaved: ‘Buoyancy’ (2019)

Film · Reviews
A real stunner — and a stunning achievement for a first-time feature-film director named Rodd Rathjen — Buoyancy, the Australian entry for Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards. At age 14, Charka (Sarm Heng) chomps at the bit to escape his daily labor in Cambodian rice paddies under his father’s tyrannical command. ...

Reviewing ‘The Report’: Adam Driver to next play Martha Graham? 1

Dance · Film · Reviews
The two faces of Martha We just endured the earnest-but-meh new movie, The Report (2019), written and directed by Scott Z. Burns with the backing of producer Steven Soderbergh. The film’s noble mission is to recount yet another norm broken in our once-shining nation: the Geneva Convention. A ‘backstage drama’ (an underground “scif” in CIA’s ...

Talking Ben Hecht

Film · Language & ideas · Reviews
One of the greatest American screenwriters, Ben Hecht was a renaissance man of dazzling sorts—reporter, novelist, playwright, crusader for the imperiled Jews of Hitler’s Europe, and propagandist for pre-1948 Palestine’s Jewish terrorist underground. He was also a balletomane and auteur (wrote, produced and directed) the ballet-noir, Specter of the Rose (1946). Whatever the outrage he ...

REVIEW: Twyla’s back and Herman’s got her, in ABT’s ‘A Gathering of Ghosts’

Dance · Reviews
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Aran Bell, Calvin Royal III and Catherine Hurlin in Twyla Tharp’s A Gathering of Ghosts. Photo: Rosalie O’Connor. Twyla Tharp is back working with American Ballet Theatre. So for at least one evening — Wednesday’s much-anticipated premiere of her new ballet at the David Koch Theater — all seemed right with the world. Her prior ...

REVIEW: BODYTRAFFIC’s Wallis residency opens strongly

Dance · Reviews
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BODYTRAFFIC performs (d)elusive minds by Fernando Hernando Magadan (l-r) Guzmán Rosado, Tina Finkelman Berkett. Photo by Don Lee. Some dance performances give us gorgeous bodies, abstract movement and music we can hum: an escape from politics, madness and murder. Others use dancers for polemics and not much else; these may be worthy, but hard to watch. On Friday, ...

REVIEW: A ‘Royal’ August at the Joyce Theater

Dance · Reviews
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Calvin Richardson, Joseph Sissens in Christopher Wheeldon’s “Within the Golden Hour” The Royal Ballet has come to town – or rather, a small but potent ensemble of eight Royal Ballet dancers, who have taken up residence at the intimate Joyce Theater for the first of four Joyce Ballet Festival programs. Curated by RB artistic director ...

REVIEW: Go to ‘Royal’ hell, in Wayne McGregor ballet

Dance · Reviews
edward watson & artists of the royal ballet, photo: cheryl mann In the first of my two viewings of choreographer Wayne McGregor‘s explosive and brilliant dance collaboration with composer Thomas Ades and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, “The Dante Project Part 1 [Inferno]” danced by The Royal Ballet as a world premiere for Glorya Kaufman Presents ...

REVIEW: ‘Mayerling”s tornado at the Chandler

Dance · Reviews
Kiss of Death: Natalia Osipova as Mary Vetsera, Ryoichi Hirano as Rudolf in Mayerling at the Royal Opera House. Photograph: Helen Maybanks Last night, at 8:20 pm, most of Los Angeles experienced a 7.1-magnitude earthquake. But those viewing Kenneth McMillan‘s sprawling historic dance-drama, Mayerling, performed by the Royal Ballet at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of ...

Review: a Bowl-ful of Playboy jazz

Music · Reviews
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angelique kidjo, photo credit: matthew imaging The Playboy Jazz mold was set a long time ago. Saturday openers are for socializing and getting the crowd up and moving. Sunday is where the bulk of the serious jazz ensembles and features will be heard. That framework continued unabated, at the 41st anniversary edition of the Playboy ...

The pursuit of ‘Love & Happiness’ with Al Green

Music · Reviews
photo credit: Al Green facebook page He struggled. Both with his voice and his body. Argh, that gorgeous, sexy young man got fat. The voice was often not there. He reached for signature falsetto trills, swooping octave-length slides, and growls, and came up with memories. Rather than whisper, he croaked. He relied on the audience ...