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By Leonard Pitts Jr | October 24, 2013
The film surprises you with vast silences. It is an emptiness that at first seems jarring to sensibilities trained to believe every moment must be crammed. By contrast, this movie takes you into moments of pregnant stillness: no movement on the screen, no dialogue, no swelling music to cue your emotions. At one point, the camera takes what feels like a minute to study Solomon Northup's face as he absorbs the awfulness of his predicament. He does nothing. He says nothing. He simply is. It is silence as respite, silence that gives you room to contemplate and feel.
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NEWS
By Leonard Pitts Jr and By Leonard Pitts Jr | April 24, 2014
It was an angry book. Much of the response was angry, too. Some towns banned it, some towns burned it. Every town talked about it. "The Grapes of Wrath" was published 75 years ago this month, a seminal masterpiece of American literature that seems freshly relevant to this era of wealth disparity, rapacious banks and growing poverty. John Steinbeck introduced readers to the Joads, a poor, proud clan of Depression-era Oklahoma farmers who...
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ENTERTAINMENT
By J. Wynn Rousuck | September 2, 1999
The Shakespearean masterpiece "King Lear" opens the season at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre on Tuesday. Company member Ted van Griethuysen stars as the tragic monarch, under Michael Kahn's direction.Portraying Lear's daughters, Regan and Goneril, are Jennifer Harmon and Baltimorean Tana Hicken. Monique Holt plays Cordelia, the youngest daughter. Holt, who is hearing-impaired, is signing her lines, which are spoken by Floyd King, the actor playing Lear's Fool."King Lear" is currently in previews.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | March 12, 2014
For years, Peabody Opera Theatre has made valuable contributions to the city's cultural life. That is especially true when the company turns to repertoire that gets little attention here, as in the case of this season's focus on two mid-century masterpieces. Last fall, there was a production of Francis Poulenc's "Dialogues of the Carmelites" from 1957, its first local staging since the old Baltimore Opera Company presented it nearly three decades earlier. This week, Peabody Opera revisits Benjamin Britten's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," a 1960 work the troupe last performed 13 years ago. (As far as I can tell, Britten never made it onto Baltimore Opera's radar.)
FEATURES
By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | July 21, 2006
The hero of Jean-Pierre Melville's masterpiece, Army of Shadows, Philippe Gerbier (Lino Ventura), establishes a Resistance cell in the grisly early days of Nazi-occupied France. Gerbier does more than "live in the moment." He knows that each moment in life includes and creates memories - and that memories can turn awful and tragic even if they're based on experiences that seem elating and inspiring. The rock-hard greatness of Army of Shadows goes beyond the tension of French rebels scrambling to preserve a remnant of civic virtue during the reign of the Vichy government.
FEATURES
By Linell Smith and Linell Smith,Sun Staff Writer | March 26, 1994
small group of people at the Walters Art Gallery have embarked on a long and cautious journey. They are painstakingly making their way across the cracked and dulled surfaces of "King Jugurtha Brought Before Sulla," the magnificent historical painting by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo that hung over the gallery's marble staircase for years.Last week, art conservator Catherine Rogers inched her way up a ridge of buckled paint that formed a piece of sky and succeeded in smoothing the heavens. Next week she will "mend" the cloak and upper body of a Roman soldier with the help of a new technique that allows brittle, 18th-century paint to relax onto the canvas without cracking.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | January 30, 2004
Scarlett Johansson's distinctively laid-back and inertia-ridden relationship to the camera suggests unknowable depths. When she has a director who knows how to aim a floodlight at them, as Terry Zwigoff did in Ghost World, she can be sensational. But in Girl With a Pearl Earring, even more than in the overrated and lethargic Lost in Translation, she's used for her ability to conjure an aura rather than her skill at revealing character. First-time feature director Peter Webber obviously picked her to play Griet, a maid in the home of Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth)
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | January 30, 2004
Buster Keaton's sixth feature comedy, Seven Chances, starts as a modest, chucklesome farce about a man's race to get married in one afternoon so he can inherit $7 million. It builds into a paranoid epic that induces euphoria. This often overlooked masterpiece demonstrates how beautifully Keaton, as star and as director, united comedy and moviemaking. (It plays at Creative Alliance at the Patterson tonight at 8, with live accompaniment by Anne Watts and Boister - see Carl Schoettler's feature article from yesterday's editions at www.sunspot.
NEWS
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,michael.sragow@baltsun.com | July 10, 2009
A masterpiece of avant-garde filmmaking becomes a masterpiece of restoration with Manhatta. Film historian Bruce Posner spent almost four years on this inspired salvage job, using some of the same cutting-edge digital tools developed to restore better-known pictures such as Kurosawa's Rashomon. The labor paid off: This print renews the sharp, gritty luminosity of the 1921 collaboration between photographer Paul Strand and painter Charles Sheeler. It plays Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art, a perfect setting for a quintessential art film.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,michael.sragow@baltsun.com | December 25, 2008
Brad Pitt runs Shakespeare's "seven ages of man" in reverse in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which ranks with the best films about youth (say, Hope and Glory) and mortality (say, The Dead). It starts in 1918, when Benjamin Button is born with an old face and dilapidated plumbing and wrinkled skin over an infant body, and ends in 2005, when his true love, Daisy (Cate Blanchett), completes the telling of his story. Every chapter in between brings with it a fresh air of discovery. And the movie's emotional completeness leaves you poised between sobbing and applauding - it comes from a full comprehension not just of one man's life, but of the intersection of many lives over the course of the 20th century.
NEWS
December 26, 2013
It's been more than a year since the Baltimore Museum of Art discovered that a small painting by 19 t h -century French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir that it had it reported stolen more than 60 years ago was being auctioned in Virginia by a woman who claimed to have found it in a box of junk at a flea market. The improbable story related by Martha Fuqua, a 51-year-old driving instructor from Loudoun County, Va., never made much sense, however, and papers filed by her attorney in U.S. District Court in Alexandria last week offered nothing of substance to dispute the BMA's ownership of the work.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Richard Gorelick, The Baltimore Sun | November 14, 2013
On a recent Saturday night, diners strode into Charleston 's main dining room with confident smiles. They couldn't wait for the evening to start. They knew, either firsthand or by reputation, that they were in extremely capable hands. When Charleston opened in 1997, diners were primed for something wonderful. The new restaurant's co-owners, Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman, were coming off a first success, Savannah, in the Admiral Fell Inn. When Savannah closed, Wolf and Foreman took a chance on a nearby Lancaster Street location.
NEWS
By Leonard Pitts Jr | October 24, 2013
The film surprises you with vast silences. It is an emptiness that at first seems jarring to sensibilities trained to believe every moment must be crammed. By contrast, this movie takes you into moments of pregnant stillness: no movement on the screen, no dialogue, no swelling music to cue your emotions. At one point, the camera takes what feels like a minute to study Solomon Northup's face as he absorbs the awfulness of his predicament. He does nothing. He says nothing. He simply is. It is silence as respite, silence that gives you room to contemplate and feel.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Edward Gunts, The Baltimore Sun | March 22, 2012
When Nancy Dorman and Stanley Mazaroff first saw the old stone farmhouse in northern Baltimore County, it had holes in the walls and raccoons in the basement. But it stood in the middle of 85 acres of farmland, with cows grazing in the distance and sweeping views of rolling countryside all around. That's what convinced them to buy it as a second home. "We always wanted a place in Maryland that reminded us of our trips to France and Italy," Mazaroff said. "This was a little bit of Italy in Baltimore County.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson, Special to The Baltimore Sun | March 8, 2012
St. Anne's Church in Annapolis was filled last weekend with the miraculous sound of the Annapolis Chorale Chamber Chorus, joined by the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra and six guest soloists for two great performances of Johann Sebastian Bach's Mass in B-minor. This performance of Bach's medley of masterworks was the first by Live Arts Maryland music director J. Ernest Green and his chorus, lending the added luster reflected by their joint discovery of its musical secrets. Regarded as a supreme achievement by music scholars, Bach's Mass is also an enigma, a Latin work composed by the Protestant "Cantor of Leipzig," and finished in the last year of his life.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun | December 15, 2011
The Walters Art Museum has been putting its stamp on the nation for more than 77 years — but never in quite the way that it's doing this holiday season. The museum's "Madonna of the Candelabra," a painting by Raphael with a romantic past, has been chosen by the U.S. Postal Service as an official Christmas stamp for 2011 and 2012. At least 600 million of the rectangular stamps with "The Walters Art Museum " printed clearly below the image are expected to end up in the mailboxes of American homes and businesses over the next 12 months, according to Postal Service officials.
FEATURES
By David Bianculli and David Bianculli,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE | November 27, 2004
The enthusiasm that follows for Pollyanna, tomorrow night's Masterpiece Theatre offering, may surprise you, because it surprised me. This tidy two-hour comedy-drama is a perfectly crafted little TV jewel, and the best depiction of an effusive young heroine since the original miniseries version of Anne of Green Gables. In Eleanor H. Porter's 1913 book, the bubbly Pollyanna is a whirlwind force of nature affecting the residents of a small New England town, who, in turn, rise to the challenge of cheering up Pollyanna when her own irrepressible optimism is challenged by personal tragedy.
NEWS
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF | September 1, 1996
WASHINGTON -- Back in the early '70s, director Lewis Milestone was talking with a fan about his masterpiece, the classic anti-war film "All Quiet on the Western Front."Nearly five decades had passed since that seminal film dominated the Academy Awards, saved Universal Studios from bankruptcy and began earning its reputation as one of the greatest movies of all time. Prints of "All Quiet" were suffering from nearly a half-century of accumulated cuts and scratches, of censors' attacks and ill-considered edits, of cheaply made copies and midnight showings on TV stations that really didn't care what it looked like.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Jonathan Pitts, The Baltimore Sun | July 15, 2011
As an oil painter in college, Elizabeth Cook expected to pursue the life of the typical aspiring American artist: get an advanced degree, move to a big city, embark on a future of creative struggle. Then she attended an exclusive arts workshop in New York. "Here I was, right in the center of the contemporary art world, and I saw that in addition to talent, you had to have a big ego and be comfortable selling yourself," says Cook, a Louisiana native and a 2008 summa cum laude graduate of Louisiana State University.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun | March 25, 2011
The 4-inch-tall vinyl doll with the aquarium for a head contains two chubby, bug-eyed puffer fish floating in shellac sea. In one corner of the tank is a tiny wire and nylon fishing net. Below the neck, the doll resembles a Japanese chef. One hand grasps a fillet knife. Parkville artists Jim Lasher and Ayumi Yasuda are trying to replicate a typical puffer fish restaurant in miniature, so a second vinyl doll has been transformed into a beer vending machine. Inside the case are cans about the size of a shirt button, adorned with the labels of common Asian brands.
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