Author Archives: Josh G.

Women in Love, in Pain, in Death

He based her on his mother. The cantankerous, mischievous, elegant dowager, 92 years old–or only 91, by her admission–that leads Three Tall Women is Edward Albee’s invocation of the woman who never accepted him. He left home, like the son in the play; we can assume his being gay had something to do with it. (There’s one fleeting reference to walking in on him with others.) And possibly he never forgave her, at least in life. “A” never forgives her son, either. They reconcile when she’s older, when she needs him, but they never dig deep enough for absolution.

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He’s Your Feller and You Love Him

Is there a classic musical more divisive than Carousel? With its transcendent score pitted against a 1940s take at gender politics, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s show returns to Broadway when we’re all anxious how abusive Billy Bigelow and the quietly devoted Julie Jordan will land.

A Quiet Place

Spring can be a drab time to go to the movies, but some well-made genre movies and smaller gems find a way to stand out. While Black Panther crushes it on the superhero front, John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place has become a surprise box-office hit. Even with the presence of two married stars, this horror movie feels […]

Best Picture Revisited: Grand Hotel (1931-1932)

“I want to be alone.”

These memorable words, in Greta Garbo’s Russian-accented delivery, are part of her enduring image. She was the reclusive actress who shied from fame and publicity throughout her estimable career. In the context of Grand Hotel, directed by Edmund Goulding, Garbo’s depressed ballerina urges her handlers to leave her, so that she can remove her costume and forget the disappointing crowd at the performance. Garbo doesn’t employ any dramatics to get our attention in this scene; she doesn’t need to.

Oscars Week: My Final Predictions

Whatever happens, I’m pretty certain Kobe Bryant will be an Oscar winner by Monday morning.

Oscars Week: Recapping the Movies of 2017

Let’s start with the nine Best Picture nominees. If you asked me to predict the leading contenders months ago, I wouldn’t have anticipated a standoff between The Shape of Water and Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. But though neither is #1 on my ballot, both movies, in their own way, are representative of the 2017 movie landscape.

Oscars Week: Why Weren’t They Nominated?

I’m kicking off the Oscars Week countdown with a few performances that shouldn’t have been overlooked this awards season.

Molly’s Game

Eight years in Hollywood, two years in New York. Movie stars, celebrity athletes–and Russian mobsters. With Molly Bloom as our guide, we gain access to an exclusive club, where the money flows freely and the rich and famous meet once a week to gamble their wealth away. It’s prime Aaron Sorkin territory, sweeping back the curtain on the garish underworld of high-stakes poker like he did for politics, television, and Silicon Valley. And for two-thirds of Molly’s Game, he delivers a smart, sleek movie that works his crisp repartee into the glitzy adrenaline of the game. But when Molly’s poker career folds, Sorkin squanders his own hand by playing the wrong cards.

BPM (Beats per Minute)

The last five minutes of BPM (Beats per Minute) are extraordinary. Director Robin Campillo takes all the strands of his story and cuts them together into an intoxicating, heartbreaking montage. Men and women are dancing their hearts out at a nightclub, while a man whose lover died spends the night with a friend, pouring out his grief in bed; all the while the ACT UP community makes one more triumphant political statement. The personal and the political are not separable…

Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread, with Daniel Day-Lewis’s alleged final performance, is as mysterious as its title suggests. Like much of Paul Thomas Anderson’s work, the movie is hypnotic, engrossing–and restless. Watching one of Anderson’s movies can be an exercise in surrender: the path can feel circuitous, and the destination sometimes unfathomable.