"Nymphomaniac Vol. 2" needs to be watched with the first installment in order for the viewer to truly experience the full power of Van Trier's intricate character study on human degradation. The film is far from easy viewing, but those courageous enough to traverse along its rocky road will come away transformed. The four-hour saga is a defining masterpiece that will be discussed for years to come.
None of the pieces on the program are regularly performed. But the execution of the American Classical Orchestra made a compelling case for the place of these works within the standard repertoire to be reconsidered.
Despite surprisingly solid acting, especially from Shailene Woodley, "Divergent" misses the mark throughout. As a standalone film, it is an utter failure that feels like a rip-off of other superior novels and movies; as the first part of a trilogy, it is a bland and boring entry. Fans of the book will likely flock to see and give the movie its approval, but most other moviegoers will likely be turned off by the plodding pace and generic execution.
The most important conclusion however is that Bellini's "Sonnambula" is worth seeing for Damrau and Camarena alone. Despite the poor production, these two great artists and their colleagues make the evening fulfilling on an emotional and musical level.
The film will undoubtedly be unwatchable for many. And even those brave enough to take on the film will likely find some moments objectionable and excessive. However, Von Trier ultimately frames the first part of his examination of sexual addiction with unique commentary and fascinating insight.
A review of Vittorio Grigolo's triumphant recital at the Metropolitan Opera on March 9, 2014.
Wes Anderson, the true hero of "The Grand Budapest Hotel," manages to imbue his ever-quirky style with potent humanity and vibrancy that keeps the viewer not only immersed in his fantasy world (arguably his most fantastical film to date), but also grounded in the emotional realism that it portrays. Anderson's films seem to be getting better and better and with this film he has set a new standard.
The Met Opera's new "Werther" is easily one of the most fulfilling artistic experiences that this writer has ever attended. Every detail is delivered with utmost intelligence, polish and passion and it is impossible not to be utterly transformed by it. The 2013-14 season has featured a plethora of operatic highlights, but the revival of Massenet's masterpiece may be the best of them all.
Anyone that views "Prince Igor" may find some level of frustration but Tcherniakov and company manage to imbue the work with riveting imagery and some psychological insight. One wonders if this production will ever appear again (will they have to reshoot all of the video with another singer if Abdrazakov's schedule is not able to fit in another run of the work?), which makes it essential viewing for any lover of opera or even Russian culture in general.
Fans of Hitchcock's masterpiece "Vertigo" will surely appreciate this deft reimagining thanks to two strong performances from Benning and Harris. The start of any calendar year usually represents a dip in quality of the film industry. However, "The Face of Love" represents one of the few exceptions.
The Met production for this "Elisir d'Amore" may still feel unnecessary, but the singers themselves have reminded the viewer that productions do not make an opera. They do.
"Rusalka" is a glorious opera and one that should certainly be experienced, opera lover or not. Unfortunately the current Met revival is unable to deliver the dreamy and ethereal quality of Dvorak's wondrous score.
Despite its faults, the Met Opera's new "Fledermaus" is tremendous fun, thanks to committed performances from the cast members. The evening will be long (Saturday's performance clocked in at just under four hours), but it will provide the viewer with a surplus of unforgettable laughs and a plethora of tunes to whistle for following days and possible weeks.
The three-hour running time says it all. The film is excessive in every possible way, but a true treat for those will to accept Scorsese's epic on his terms. The director does not pull any punches and his terrific cast does everything to take the viewer on an unforgettable journey. Easily one of the best film's the cinematic legend has made in the last two decades.
"August: Osage County's" sloppy scripting is ultimately a strong actor-driven work. Streep and Roberts are the foundation and pillars that hold up the film, but their co-stars do a tremendous job of filling out the world and conflicts that permeate the drama. The film is worth watching if only for the extensive dinner scene at its core.