This "Rigoletto" run represents the final serving of Verdi that opera goers will get from the Met Opera during the legendary composer's bicentennial birthday celebration. A vibrant production combined with nuanced and emotional performances makes this the ideal final hurrah for a truly successful commemoration of one of opera's greatest contributors and heroes.
The production is likely to continue dividing viewers and while it never feels ground breaking, it almost forces greater emphasis on the singers. Fortunately, this is a major positive as there is nothing more one could want than the splendid cast and conductor compiled by the Met. Even if the machine fails to deliver any new insight on Wagner's legendary works, the performers make up for it with their own nuanced displays. What more could the legendary composer want on his 200th birthday celebration?
All in all, "Kon-Tiki" is a riveting journey that showcases the classic story of the underdog trying to prove himself against the doubters of the world. Even if the result seems inevitable and predictable, the path it takes features a number of engaging turns that will keep the viewer in fascinated suspense.
There is certainly an audience for this aimless and rambling work, but it is probably only for those interested in Lifetime movies. Those hoping for a mature portrait of a great writer will be agitated to find the creation of her works manipulated into hokey montages while those expecting a mature representation of lesbian relationships will be appalled at is adolescent and catty portrayal. For those expecting a riveting experience filled with unique characters and drama will be bored by the repetitive cycle that the film wears out. "Reaching for the Moon" never gets off the ground and crashes disastrously from the get-go.
Ultimately, "At Any Price" amounts to nothing more than a soap opera with unlikeable characters and dumb plot devices. The film's major problem is that it attempts to incorporate a plethora of American themes such as capitalism, father and son relationships, and even broken marriages and families, but fails to unite them in a coherent fashion that is clear for the viewer. The result is a film that feels directionless and inserts all sorts of melodramatic clichés to move the plot to its predictable and unearned conclusion.
While the immigrant story is familiar to many viewers from other similar portrayals, it provides a refreshing angle that has not been given much attention in modern-day cinema. Unfortunately, the larger context and storyline of the film gets little dramatic attention and ultimately hinders the quality of the work.
Those expecting a non-stop, in-your-face thriller will be pleased by the ride, but could leave the theater questioning what the whole point of it was. For those with more patience, the film will surely require multiple viewing to explore its endless secrets.
Returning to the question that started this critique; is "The Host" good enough for those who care little for Stephenie Meyer's work? The resounding answer is NO. The tremendous talent of Ronan gets wasted behind a vague premise and false stakes. For those hoping for a silver lining, here it is: "The Host" is better than the "Twilight" movies. But is that really saying much?
Even if the film feels uneven and unbalanced at times, there is no denying Cianfrance's ambition and innovation or his cast and crew's strong deliveries.
"Spring Breakers," one of the season's most anticipated movies, hit theaters this week in New York before its national release this Friday. The film features young starlets like Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens showing some serious skin and proving that they're more than ready to shed their Disney personas and break into more serious Hollywood roles. Trailers suggested that the movie would contain suggestive themes, but fans could never have imagined to what extent.
A few days ago, this writer stated that "Otello" was the ideal birthday present for Verdi's 200th anniversary celebration. The addition of "Traviata" to that moniker makes for an unstoppable one-two punch at the Metropolitan Opera that makes March a wondrous commemoration of one of the greatest composers of the opera world. Damrau's "Traviata" is mesmerizing to experience, but it will only improve as she garners more experience in the role; this fact alone makes this theatrical experience a winning ticket.
When audiences think of a revenge film, they think of guns and shootouts filled with plenty of action sequences and over the top music. However for his directional debut "Gimme the Loot," Adam Leon subverts the revenge premise by transforming it into a subtle urban drama.
The performance showcased the ideal "Otello:" it was filled with great singing, wondrous acting, and plenty of dramatic insight and power that was riveting and revelatory. As part of the 200-year celebration of Verdi's birthday, this performance of the venerable masterpiece was a glorious present to the celebrated composer.
"Francesca" offers the opera lover a rare opportunity to experience a seldom-performed gem of the repertoire. Each act lasts little over 30 minutes, making the experience all the more manageable for the uninitiated. Ultimately, the singers, conductor, and exquisite production make this a great revival at the Metropolitan Opera.
Don Carlo is a long opera, but it felt eternal under the guidance of Maazel and lackluster production of Nicholas Hytner. Fortunately, the singers brought committed performances that under better circumstances would have created an unforgettable evening. For those who want great singing, there is a lot to be found in this performance, but those looking for great Verdi on his 200th birthday celebration should look elsewhere.