February 7, 2013 |
The split-level house of American dreams and boomer memories probably has never been used so evocatively or been as central to a movie as it is in "The Playroom. " In the 1975-set coming-of-age drama - a kids'-eye view of adult malaise - that house is essentially a character, showcasing the generational disconnect through a cataclysmic night for one family. Directed by Julia Dyer from a script by her late sister, Gretchen Dyer, the film uses the upper-middle-class setting effectively, even as it resorts to heavy-handed symbolism and melodrama in its dour, mostly unforgiving portrait of parental dysfunction.
September 5, 2013 |
CASPER, Wyo. - One man describes finding salvation by adopting a small bird during his years in a World War II internment camp. A former highway patrolman explains his friendship with the felon who shot and nearly killed him 30 years ago. And a veteran ranch couple discuss their early years on the American prairie. The disparate stories share a single thread: They all take place in Wyoming. An effort to collect the oral histories of ordinary residents - from longtime natives to unlikely foreign transplants - is being launched in this wide-open Western state, showing that although the landscape may be flat, the depth of life and experience here is decidedly multidimensional.
March 28, 1986 |
"Lucas" (selected theaters) is as irresistible as its slight, brilliant, bespectacled 14-year-old hero (Corey Haim), a kid who in his spare time catches insects in a net--but only to study them, not to kill them. He's quick to explain this to Maggie, a pretty 16-year-old redhead (Kerri Green) when he comes upon her at a tennis court in their affluent suburban Chicago neighborhood to which she has just moved.
November 19, 2006 |
ON a sweltering evening several Ice Ages ago, my bride, Maggie, and I arrived on Isla Mujeres, a so-called virgin paradise off the coast of the northern Yucatan, Mexico. It had all the makings of a storybook honeymoon, or so Maggie's Uncle Rich, the travel agent, had said. Vast stretches of pristine sand. Rare aquatic birds known only to the enthusiasts of crossword puzzles. Exotic tropical fruits. And a cottage by the sea for pennies a day. Believing that story required a kind of gullibility of which I've always been capable.
February 17, 2014 |
Last week's episode of "The Walking Dead" focused exclusively on Rick, Carl and Michonne, so it makes total sense that this week's episode, "Inmates," brings us up to speed with the rest of the surviving members of the cast. This episode wasn't full of compelling plot twists (well, maybe a couple) and it didn't do a deep dive into the psyches of the main characters. Instead, it was more of a housekeeping episode, doing the necessary taking stock of the large cast in the aftermath of the chaos of the prison's destruction.
April 16, 1993 |
Anyone who saw Neil Simon's "Jake's Women" on Broadway will detect little difference in the robust production that opened Thursday at the Doolittle Theatre. All but the director are present and accounted for and doing what they've been doing in New York since March, 1992. But those who only saw "Jake's Women" in San Diego in 1990 (with actor Peter Coyote in the title role) owe themselves a trip to the Doolittle to see how far that play has come.
December 2, 2012 |
Season three of "The Walking Dead" has had a decidedly John Wayne bent to it. The bad guys are evil, the good guys are complicated, and the elements are constantly threatening. What is a post-apocalyptic zombie landscape but another frontier, after all? This week's mid-season finale followed familiar Western logic: Rick and his team of prison misfits would finally face a showdown with the Governor over Glenn and Maggie. Though "The Walking Dead" is a show that's ostensibly about zombies, it's at its best when it balances the constant heart-in-your-throat horror with the brutality of the survivors, what part of humanity the characters are forced to sacrifice in order to stay alive.
February 9, 1992 |
Here comes the "R" word again. Relationship! Time was when people just had one. Now they talk about relationships more than they succeed in them, and the divorce rate shows it. As young people in the '50s thought that they invented pop music, as young people in the '60s thought that they invented marijuana, young people today think that they invented the relationship. They dissect it, they examine it, they talk about it.
October 21, 1999 |
Neil Simon's semi-autobiographical "Jake's Women," presented by Actors Alley at the refurbished El Portal Center for the Performing Arts' Studio Theatre, is an audacious but problematic play in a checkered production. Jake (John Hugo), a renowned writer, is so accustomed to thinking in dialogue that he's having trouble distinguishing between reality and the fantasy voices in his head.