Arts

5:03pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Movie Reviews

A Sin City Comedy That Comes Up Snake Eyes

Jeremy (Joshua Jackson) and Beth (Rebecca Hall) enjoy the sun and sin of Las Vegas.
Frank Masi Radius, TWC

Based on Beth Raymer's memoir, Lay the Favorite has a cheeky, double-meaning title that sets up the story and the irreverent tone with impressive efficiency; the reference is both to the gambling practice of betting for the favorite and to the heroine's generous sexual proclivities.

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5:03pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Movie Reviews

'Playing For Keeps,' But Without Much Panache

In Gabriele Muccino's romantic comedy, a former pro soccer player (Gerard Butler) starts coaching his son's soccer team — and reconnects with his ex-wife (Jessica Biel).
Film District

As Hollywood movies increasingly strive for immaculate blankness, they have come to resemble Rorschach ink blots. For example, Playing for Keeps, a new movie about a divorced couple who just might reunite: Is it a heartwarming romantic drama? Or a cynical sex and sports comedy? There is no wrong answer, dear ticket buyer.

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5:03pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Movie Reviews

A Relationship Drama That's A Little Too 'Cheerful'

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 10:24 am

On the day of Dolly's (Felicity Jones) wedding, a former flame returns to stir up doubts about her decision.
IFC Films

Something like deja vu takes hold during the opening shots of Donald Rice's debut feature, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding. With the insistent, urgent push of orchestral strings in the background, he offers up establishing shots of a bucolic English country manor, early 20th-century automobiles, and a bell ringing down in the servants' hall. That feeling of anticipation rising in many viewers' chests may be their hearts readying themselves for the tense post-Victorian drama of the popular TV series Downton Abbey, which is what that opening rather too directly recalls.

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5:03pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Movie Reviews

'Deadfall': Sibling Mischief In The Michigan Woods

Addison (Eric Bana) and Liza (Olivia Wilde) run for the Canadian border after a casino heist gone wrong.
Jonathan Wenk Magnolia Pictures

Everyone gets roughed up pretty bad in Deadfall, a pop-Freudian thriller set in Michigan's north woods. But nobody comes off worse than the out-of-towners: Australian star Eric Bana and Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky.

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12:27pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Movie Interviews

In 'This Is 40,' Family Life In All Its Glory

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 5:22 pm

"Were going to blink and be 90," Debbie tells Paul. "We have to make a choice to make things different."
Suzanne Hanover Universal Studios

Since earning a cult following for his acclaimed television show Freaks and Geeks, writer, producer, and director Judd Apatow has become a brand name. He has a new movie out this month — This Is 40 — and also guest-edits the January "Comedy Issue" of Vanity Fair.

He's an executive producer for the HBO show Girls and previously wrote, produced and directed the 2005 comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

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11:44am

Thu December 6, 2012
Theater

'Pullman Porter Blues' Travels Back In Time

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 5:01 pm

Left to right: Actors Cleavant Derricks (as Sylvester), Warner Miller (as Cephas) and Larry Marshall (as Monroe) star in Pullman Porter Blues.
Kevin Rosinbum Arena Stage

Today, people board jets or hybrid minivans to travel cross-country. But from the late 19th to mid-20th century, people traveled by train. And that's where they met the legendary Pullman porters.

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7:03am

Thu December 6, 2012
Best Books Of 2012

Time Passages: The Year's Best Historical Fiction

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 12:04 pm

Long dismissed as genre fiction, the historical novel has now established itself in the literary mainstream, thanks in part to heavyweight authors like two-time Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel. For me, more than any other medium, historical fiction brings the past to life and makes it matter.

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5:12am

Thu December 6, 2012
Around the Nation

Big Gator Head Premieres At Miami Art Fair

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 10:23 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now to a hundred-foot-long alligator in Miami. Art Basel Miami Beach, one of the nation's largest art fairs, opens today. It's a citywide event that has spawned dozens of satellite shows and art happenings that have transformed the area with gigantic installations, including, as NPR's Greg Allen tells us, a very big alligator.

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3:44pm

Wed December 5, 2012
Movies

Revisiting, Reappraising Cimino's 'Heaven's Gate'

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 9:38 am

Jeff Bridges as John L. Bridges, Isabelle Huppert as Ella Watson and Kris Kristofferson as James Averill in the 1980 Western Heaven's Gate, a director's cut of which was released in November.
Criterion Collection

The director Francois Truffaut once remarked that it takes as much time and energy to make a bad movie as to make a good one. He was right, but I would add one thing: It takes extraordinary effort to make a truly memorable flop.

The best example is Heaven's Gate, the hugely expensive 1980 movie by Michael Cimino that is the most famous cinematic disaster of my lifetime. It's part of that film's legend that it not only took down a studio, United Artists, but was the nail in the coffin of Hollywood's auteur filmmaking of the 1970s.

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12:22pm

Wed December 5, 2012
Monkey See

The Spatter Pattern: Does All The Good Television Have To Be So Bloody?

Aaron Paul plays Jesse Pinkman on AMC's Breaking Bad.
Ursula Coyote AMC

[This piece contains information about the plots of lots of contemporary TV dramas, probably most notably a context-free discussion of an incident during the most recent season of Breaking Bad, as well as general comments on the plot of the film The Grey.]

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