This American Life — Live on Screen May 10

Posted on April 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm

The popular WBEZ Chicago radio show This American Life and host Ira Glass bring radio to the big screen with This American Life – Live!, a special live performance from the Skirball Center at New York University.  This event will broadcast to movie theaters nationwide on Thursday, May 10 at 8:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. CT and tape delayed to 7:00 p.m. MT / 8:00 p.m. PT, HI and AK, with an encore in select theaters on Tuesday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m. local time.

The event will include stories by writer David Rakoff, comedian Tig Notaro and Snap Judgment host Glynn Washington. Together they will perform a live stage version of the radio show, centered on the theme “The Invisible Made Visible.” The performance will also feature a new short film by Mike Birbiglia, live music by the rock band OK Go, a dance performance by Monica Bill Barnes & Company, original animation and illustration, and special surprise guests.

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“Passion of Mind” — Like Tonight’s Premiere TV Show, “Awake”

Posted on February 29, 2012 at 9:31 am

Jason Isaacs (“Harry Potter’s” Lucius Malfoy) stars in “Awake,” a new drama series premiering tonight on NBC.  He plays a man who survived an automobile accident that split his life in two. In one, his wife was killed in the crash but his son survived.  In the other, it is his son who was killed, but his wife survived.  In each, he sees a different therapist (Broadway stars Cherry Jones and BD Wong).  He knows that one must be a dream and one must be real, but he cannot tell which is which.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDbF8b9wkMs

 There’s a Demi Moore film with the same theme called Passion of Mind, and I consider it a guilty pleasure. The plot is “Sliding Doors” crossed with the fairy tale of the dancing princesses with a touch of “Truly Madly Deeply.” Demi Moore plays a woman with two lives: Marty, a successful New York career woman and Marie, an American widow living in the French countryside with her two daughters. Every night, when Marty goes to sleep, she dreams of Maria’s life in France, and when Marie goes to sleep, she becomes Marty in New York. Both wonder which is real, and each is afraid to find out. The two lives echo each other, and each seems to provide something missing in the other. But one thing is missing in both – love. Marty meets Aaron (William Fitchner) and Marie meets William (Stellan Skarsgård). At first, the two storylines provide counterpoint. One relationship becomes physically intimate. The other becomes emotionally intimate because she tells him of her double life. Then both relationships deepen and the two lives begin to provide some resolution for one another. Items from one life begin turning up in the other. She begins to understand that she can take what she needs from her dreams and make it work in real life. It is very schmaltzy. But I found myself beguiled by its unabashed romanticism. There are some nice subtle touches – the clusters of hats, Marty’s relationship with her therapist, Marie’s relationships with her daughters and her confidant – and the resolution has some psychological validity, at least in movie terms. I’m glad to see those themes being explored in this new show.

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List: Movies for Your Valentine

Posted on February 13, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Some of my favorite movie romances are just right for Valentine’s Day.  Cuddle up with your valentine and a bowl of popcorn and enjoy these movies about how love makes us crazy and immeasurably happy at the same time.

1. Moonstruck Cher won an Oscar as the bookkeeper who has given up on love until she meets the brother of her fiance, who tells her:

Love don’t make things nice – it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren’t here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and *die*.

2. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet find that they really don’t want to forget each other, no matter how painful love can be.

3. You’ve Got Mail This third version of the story of a couple who are at war in person, not realizing that they are tender lovers through the mail, updates the story to the computer age. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan have so much chemistry on screen that we know from the first moment what it will take them the whole movie to discover — they are meant to be together.  Be sure to watch the earlier versions, The Shop Around the Corner with James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan and the musical In the Good Old Summertime with Judy Garland and Van Johnson.

4. The Philadelphia Story On the eve of her wedding, socialite Tracy Lord’s ex-husband shows up with a couple of journalists and we get to watch three of the greatest stars in Hollywood history sort out their affections. This movie has everything: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart (who won an Oscar), George Cukor as director, wit, heart, and romance and an important lesson about how sometimes it is not about falling in love but recognizing that we have already fallen.

5. To Have and Have Not As tough guy Humphrey Bogart meets the even-tougher Lauren Bacall (only 19 years old when this was filmed), we get to see the real-life romantic sparks that gave the on-screen love story some extra sizzle. Watch her tell him how to whistle.

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Next Stop Wonderland

Posted on January 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Brad Anderson made two small romantic gems and I was delighted to see that one of them, “Next Stop Wonderland,” is now available on Netflix streaming.

Hope Davis plays a nurse named Erin from Boston who has just been dumped by her boyfriend — on video (a brief hilarious appearance by Philip Seymour Hoffman).  She plans to stay single for a while but her mother (Holland Taylor of “Two and a Half Men” and Anderson’s aunt) places a personal ad on her behalf.  While she suffers through some terrible dates, we begin to follow a plumber and would-be marine biologist.  We know long before they meet that they will be perfect for each other, all to the wonderful soundtrack of Brazilian music.  The title refers to the last stop on the subway line.

Anderson played around with the themes of destiny and romance in “Happy Accidents,” also featuring Taylor, with Marisa Tomei and Vincent D’Onofrio as a couple who find each other with the help of either a time machine or the delusion of one.

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After the kids go to bed Date movie Neglected gem Romance

The 5th of July

Posted on July 5, 2011 at 9:06 am

This filmed version of Lanford Wilson’s Fifth of July is a brilliantly acted story of the complicated relationships of a group of friends and relatives who get together over the 4th of July holiday.  It centers around the relationship of Kenneth Talley, Jr. (Richard Thomas), a disabled Vietnam vet in a wheelchair and his partner Jed (Jeff Daniels), his sister June (Joyce Reehling) and recently widowed aunt Sally (Helen Stenborg), and his old friends, a  wealthy couple named John and Gwen (Swoosie Kurtz in her Tony award-winning role).  It is a searing but ultimately hopeful and healing story of very real characters and also a thoughtful commentary on the Vietnam era.  This is one of three plays the gifted Wilson wrote about the Talley family, and it is a part of the superb series of Broadway Theater Archive productions that brought the best of live theater to Showtime audiences in the early 80’s.

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After the kids go to bed Based on a play Drama Family Issues Neglected gem
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