'The Tempest' marks Julie Taymor's latest effort to pour old wine into stylish new bottles. Shakespeare's comedy has been filmed before, but never with quite the spin she gives it here.
Allan Metcalf's new book claims that the word "OK" is America's greatest invention. This offers a pair of provocations. How can "OK" be an invention? On a certain day, a certain guy just dreamed up the expression that has become the most frequently spoken word on the planet? And even if it is an invention, can one little word really be greater than jazz, baseball, and the telephone? Is it better than The Simpsons?
When I play reverse time travel and imagine historical figures turning up today (what would Ben Franklin say about the iPad? Or Jane Austen about Jersey Shore?, etc.), James Baldwin's name comes to mind. The essayist and novelist spent four decades picking at the scab of American race relations.
After Kline's more than three decades on stage and screen, it's no surprise when he turns in a fine performance. He glides from heavy drama ("The Ice Storm") to really heavy drama ("Sophie's Choice") to silly comedy ("The Pirates of Penzance") to really silly comedy ("A Fish Called Wanda"), to say nothing of all that he's done onstage. Through all these roles, a distinctive Kline-esque style has emerged.
Lucy Walker has made a horror film about the slaughter and wreckage of a nuclear attack. "Countdown to Zero" has all the essential flourishes of the genre: explosions, screaming crowds, buildings falling to ash. That the film is a documentary—an awfully persuasive one, at that—makes it all the creepier.
"This is not theater," declared President Obama on the Today show last week. He was defending his response to the BP oil spill, which he insisted was designed to get actual results, not to put on a show.
From the no-nonsense tone to the rolled-up sleeves, Obama looked and sounded the part of the engaged chief executive, so the pundits who all but ordered him to the gulf should be satisfied. But his implied threat of punitive action is beginning to have a familiar ring—too familiar.
Seventy years after it sweated and struggled to funnel troops to the front line, New York City has become the front line. Lower Manhattan still bears the scars of the 9/11 attacks, and if the Times Square bomber hadn't been so feckless, midtown would have its own crater and makeshift shrine.
The acclaimed Green Day album comes to the stage, and drags rock and roll along with it.
Film opens Nov. 25: It must have seemed that black had turned white and upside had turned down when Orson Welles, a man used to being praised as the youngest this and most brilliant that, began to hear himself mocked as "an international joke" and "the youngest living has-been." When Walter Kerr made that savage assessment in 1951, Welles was only 36.
Shakespeare had the good fortune to write Hamletbefore anyone could tell him how to fix it. Were he working today, the playwriting system—in this country, at least—would exhaust itself trying to improve the thing.