January 10, 1987 |
The title of NBC's Sunday night movie, "Mercy or Murder?," refers to the question of motive put before the jury at the nationally publicized trial of 75-year-old Roswell Gilbert, who had admitted killing his wife of 51 years. There is no such ambiguity in the film itself, however: The jurors delivered their verdict; the film makers deliver another. Indeed, viewers who complain about TV movies that waffle on controversial subjects will be heartened at how decisively this one takes a stand.
May 7, 1993 |
The problem with most movie biographies of famous stars is that the wattage of the impersonators is rarely as bright as the originals. The exceptions--Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice, for example, or James Cagney as George M. Cohan--only prove the rule. What's exciting about "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" (citywide) is that, in Jason Scott Lee, the movies have created a new star out of an old star.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 8, 1995 |
Local residents' reaction was mixed Wednesday night to a proposal by Sherman Oaks Fashion Square to replace The Broadway store with Bloomingdale's. At the meeting, community activists and aides to City Councilman Michael Feuer learned from mall representatives of their plans to expand The Broadway store by 42,000 square feet to accommodate Bloomingdale's.
June 1, 1995 |
The Old Globe Theatre's shimmeringly lovely production of "Dancing at Lughnasa" offers a timely reminder of the quiet desperation of women in more limited times. The genteel poverty of the five hard-working Mundy sisters in 1936 Ballypeg, Ireland, is bluntly captured by Ralph Funicello's set--a poor, worn kitchen without walls, surrounded by the wilds of the fields outside. It suggests their absolute vulnerability to the vicissitudes of the outside world.
January 31, 1986 |
If power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, why is Sidney Lumet's "Power" (selected theaters) the sexless diatribe that it is, all high-tech visuals and no emotional grounding? Its sole juiciness comes from Gene Hackman as a raffish Southern media consultant, well-cured in bourbon and branch water. The outlandish daring of his performance is almost rave-up enough to recommend the movie. Almost.
January 12, 1996 |
With "Three Tall Women," a play first produced in Vienna in 1991, Edward Albee strides into the mature stage of an erratic career. And how better to show off accumulated wisdom and style than by focusing on the two big Ms--Mortality and Mother. It seems fair to speculate that Albee, now 67, has reached a point at which he can begin to understand the adoptive mother from whom he was estranged for most of his adult life.
April 13, 2001 |
Crossing from one gender to another is such a dramatic journey that it's surprising there haven't been more plays on the subject. Jane Anderson's "Looking for Normal," getting its world premiere at the Geffen Playhouse, manages the task of covering one such journey with a light touch, yet without making fun of the protagonist or anyone else. It also offers a compassionate and convincing case that human ties can transcend gender.
March 24, 1999 |
When Joe Orton saw Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" in 1967, he acknowledged in his diary that Stoppard's riff on "Hamlet" contained "a wonderful idea . . . how I wish I'd stumbled upon it." Orton imagined richly ironic possibilities, with Shakespeare's graduate students yakking away while the world goes to hell. Four months later, the most notorious English dramatist of the '60s was murdered by longtime companion Kenneth Halliwell.
July 18, 2000 |
If Neil Simon and Anton Chekhov had a baby. . . . It sounds like the setup for a literary joke, and in a way that's what "The Good Doctor" was when it opened on Broadway in 1973. A collection of sketches--mostly comic--that Simon adapted from stories or other jottings by Chekhov, the finished product ended up looking a lot more like one parent--Simon--than the other. This impression hasn't changed over the years.