The Peony Pavilion is one of China's most famous operas, but uncut performances of this romantic 16th century work can take more than 22 hours. Chinese composer Tan Dun, who's best known for his Academy Award-winning score for the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, has adapted the work into a compact 75 minutes.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 7:51 pm
Otelo, a lanky, reticent 16-year-old, is standing on the beach outside Durban, South Africa, watching in disbelief and envy as his friend and periodic rival — the older, aggressive Mandla — does what Otelo has only heard of white people doing. Mandla is surfing.
"That's what people mean when they talk about freedom?" Otelo asks, half-heartedly trying to minimize what he's seen as Mandla, elation on his face, rides in on a wave.
The latest movie from versatile Hong Kong director Peter Ho-Sun Chan has been given not one but two generic titles: In China, it's Wu Xia, which means "martial hero" and is the overall term for kung fu films; in this country, it's called Dragon, which has similar connotations.
George Higgins was a Boston-based crime novelist and former assistant U.S. attorney who wrote meaty, swaggering dialogue that seems tailor-made for the movies, though until now only one of his books had been made into one.
Ungracefully aging rockers have long been stock figures of fun at the movies, with Bill Nighy topping the burnout charts in Love, Actually. Lately, though, a slew of former rock kings have enjoyed fresh renown via documentaries like Anvil, The Other F-Word and the upcoming Beware of Mr. Baker, many of which chart a Christ-like saga of meteoric rise, catastrophic fall and painfully slow resurrection. That's if their shot livers don't kill them first.
For those who had come to dread yet another installment of the Saw series and its ilk — not out of fear, but from boredom at the films' dull repetition of elaborate torture and murder methods — 2009's The Collector was a breath of if not fresh, then at least less stagnant air.
Director, producer and screenwriter Robert Zemeckis is known for the Back to the Future films — which marked his arrival onto the Hollywood scene in the mid-1980s — as well as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Forrest Gump. His latest film, Flight, stars Denzel Washington as William "Whip" Whitaker, a heroic airline pilot with a dark secret.
It's that time of year again — the leaves have fallen, the dark comes early, the air brings with it a certain chill — and I've been piling up books on my reading table, books I've culled from the offerings of the past few months, which because of their essential lyric beauty and power stand as special gifts for you and yours.