Yvonne Korshak reviews Off-Broadway, Broadway, Film and Art

Category: Film Page 3 of 5

Film Note | The King’s Speech Starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter | Directed by Tom Hooper

Let’s Talk Off-Broadway is very grateful to have received, 2/16/11, from Mark P. Haggard, Guest Blogger, comments on The King’s Speech, written from his humanistic as well as specifically British point of view:  his comments have been added following Yvonne Korshak’s of 12/13/10 …

… We’re all in it together — sometimes …

Don’t miss The King’s Speech.  It’s a wonderful, and through-and-through enjoyable movie.

Albert, the second son of George V of England, has a severe stutter, which clips his wings as a royal prince and causes him immense embarrassment in carrying out his public duties.  In an acutely painful early scene, Albert, in front of a large crowd, struggles to utter his encouraging words at the opening of a new factory — he simply can’t get the words out.  With his earnest desire to do good, his pain at failure, and his good looks we’re totally on his side.

Film Note | Vision | Starring Barbara Sukowa | By Margarethe Von Trotta | Drawn from the Life of Hildegard Von Bingen

… a woman of Vision …

Hildegard Von Bingen was a remarkable woman of the 12th Century, administrator, author, artist, physician, musician and composer, and councilor to leaders of state.  The film stresses two personality traits — her determination and emotional volatility — at the expense of her strong, thoughtful intellect.  It also seems odd that, as visual art, the film makes no use of her vibrant manuscript paintings.

Film Note | You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger | Written and Directed by Woody Allen

… another wonderful Woody Allen movie …

What is it about the camera angles, the light and the naturalness of the actors that immediately let you know you’re at a Woody Allen film and you’re in good hands?

We’re in London, and in the midst of troubled relationships in two parallel couples, one old, one young.  Pairs and parallels count a lot in this movie.

Film Note | A reader writes in about “Mao’s Last Dancer”

“DO NOT MISS “MAO’S LAST DANCER”  FANTASTIC!   At the  Paris.   Oh, boy, oh boy!

and P.S.  Very few people there last night–it needs some good publicity!”
                                                                        Irma B. Jaffe  08/28/10

Here’s a comment on this post that came in — you can read it in the comment section (scroll down) but am including it here since it gives more information about the film:

I saw it! You can’t believe how a film about a male ballet dancer can grip you! The background is the Chinese Communist Revoution and what a view you get about the repression in China during those years under Mao! I hope the dancer that played the role of the fabulous Li Cunxin will be taken up by the American Baller theater! I would love to see him dance on the stage!  I  really hope the ABT will get that dancer Chi Cao to dance with them in NY.

n.b. The Paris, located in NYC in midtown Manhattan at 58th Street near Fifth Avenue (4 W. 58th St) is the longest continually operating art film theater in the United States.  Some of the great all-time films have opened there.  They play one film at a time — kind of a relief!

Film Note | The Kids Are All Right | Directed by Lisa Cholodenko | With Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson

… politically correct … but unkind …

This is a pleasant movie to watch but sentimental, and very unfair to men.  It’s a well acted comedy with canny observation of recognizable “types” engaged amusingly in an odd ball “modern family” situation — in a southern California environment of sunny decks and patios, lush foliage and organic food.  There are problems, sure, but then how bad can anything be with great kitchens with granite counter tops and warm wood shelving and everybody cooking really well?  It’s in the genre of It’s Complicated.

Film Note | Inception with Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page | Written and Directed by Christopher Nolan

… Special Defects …

Never mind the hoopla, this is a really bad movie.

In case you have somehow escaped knowing this, Dom Cobb (DiCaprio) is hired by a Japanese businessman to help break up a rival business conglomerate by going beyond even his extraordinary capacity to share the dreams of others.  His new task:  to instill a new idea, the break-up of a business, into the dream of the heir to the other guy’s conglomerate.  “Inception” refers to instilling a new idea into somebody else’s head through a dream.

Film Note | Agora Starring Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, Oscar Issac | Directed by Alejandro Amenábar

… twilight of the gods …

Agora is as powerful a movie about sectarian violence as I think has ever been made. That it takes place long ago intensifies its power because it’s so much like what’s happening in the world today.

Review | The Habit of Art by Alan Bennett | Directed by Nicholas Hytner | Starring Richard Griffiths and Elex Jennings | Simulcast of the Play Presented by the National Theatre, London

I saw The Habit of Art “live” in a cinema well outside London, as did thousands across North America, though not on Broadway, under the new NTLive initiative, using high-definition satellite relay. This is a new technological compromise between live theatre and cinema (long-focus lenses and ingeniously unobtrusive camera technique ensure a better view than from the stalls). It’s worth a debate in its own right (does one clap and laugh aloud ?) However, the play’s the thing.

Film Note | The Last Station | Starring Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren | Directed by Michael Hoffman

The Last Station is about the last phase in the long life of the great Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, when writing novels has faded in importance for him, and what matters most is the utopian movement that had his name — Tolstoyan.  Count Tolstoy has come to detest privilege, hence his support of his movement with its focus on social justice.  The movie gives us views of his endlessly vast lands and of his serfs engaged in back breaking labor, reminding us that this is a reasonable development in the the thinking of an intelligent and compassionate author.  In line with his ideals, he’s about to sign a will that will leave all future royalties on his books to the Russian people.

Film Note | The Road | Starring Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee | Directed by John Hillcoat

The current issue of Scientific American (Jan 2010) has an article called Local Nuclear War, Global Suffering.  The authors, Alan Robock and Owen Brian Toon, calculate that the effects of a nuclear war between, for example, India and Pakistan could be enough to blot out the sun, the ultimate source of all our food:  we’d shiver and starve as we and most of the rest of life on earth wound down.  A major nuclear war between the U. S. and Russia isn’t needed — a smallish one could do the job.

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