Sting and six other members of the cast of The Last Ship signed the CD of the musical on stage after the matinee performance at the Neil Simon Theatre for Sting's delighted fans.
The live HD transmission of The Nutcracker, music by Tchaikovsky, choreography by Yuri Grigorovich, by the Bolshoi Ballet, was a joy to behold. The dancing was superb by the entire company, but, especially, by the two leads, Anna Nikulina as Marie and Denis Rodkin as the Nutcracker-Prince. They were a perfect couple. The two splendid dancers were magnificent in their Pas de Deux of the second act. Nikulina displayed a wonderful technique, and her turns, jumps and speed were spectacular. Rodkin was equally as good. It was one of the finest performances of the popular ballet that I have ever seen, and I have seen at least forty by different companies.
Film Society Lincoln Center is presenting press screenings of the 24th Annual New York Jewish Film Festival January 14-29, 2015. The Muses of Isaac Bashevis Singer, by Shaul Betser and Asaf Galay, Israel 2014, is a penetrating look at the Nobel Prize Winner, who wrote in Yiddish. In order to reach an English speaking public, he employed many female translators. A number of them are interviewed on camera. As he was sexually obsessed, he took advantage of some of them. He is portrayed as an egomanic, who did not want to share anything with anyone. He only wanted to satisfy himself. The filmmakers have to be congratulated for their their revealing film.
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, by Ronit & Shlomi Elkabetz, France/Israel/Germany, 2014, is a powerful film, showing the desire of a wife (a superb Ronit Elkabetz) trying to obtain a divorce from her husband. In Israel, this can only be achieved in a rabbinical court. We follow the trial proceedings over five years. The film is an indictment of a system, which treats women unfairly. To obtain a divorce the husband must give his permission, which, in this case, he refuses. The acting is first rate, and the film leaves a devastating effect on the viewer. It is a wonderful film, which the viewer will never forget.
The King of Nerac, by Guy Natanel &Annie Sulzberger, UK/Denmark, 2013, is about a successful, middle-aged English painter/sculptor David Breuer-Weil, whose modern paintings and sculptures have been exhibited around the world. The title refers to the imaginary world he inhabits in his mind since childhood. Throughout the film, he never stops talking about his life and ideas, some of which are interesting, but, unfortunately, most of his remarks are repetitious, and reflect a mind that might only entertain a psychiatrist. The photography is good, and his paintings show talent. The scenes of his visits to Denmark, are peaceful and serene, when he wanders around a lake, and in fields with sheep, who, fortunately, have nothing to say.
Felix and Meira, by Maxime Giroux, Canada, 2014, is a sentimental love story about a young Hasidic wife and mother (a very convincing Hadas Yaron), unhappy and frustrated by her restricted life and dominated by her her husband in Montreal. She embarks on a relationship with an irreligious, single man, who seems to have but one interest, to visit Venice. That this mismatched couple begins a love affair is portrayed sympathetically, but one wonders what the future holds in store for them after they flee to Italy.
Film Society Lincoln Center is presenting Let There Be Light: The Films of John Houston, December 19-January 4, 2015. Chinatown, by Roman Polanski, USA, 1974, is a fine mystery with an outstanding performance by Jack Nicholson as a private investigator. As he pursues problems of the water shortage in California in 1937, he encounters many suspicious and violent characters, including Faye Dunaway as the wife, whose husband is murdered, and John Huston as her extremely wealthy father. The acting is excellent, the dialogue clever and humorous. and the story is engrossing
The Man Who Would Be King, by John Huston, UK/USA, 1975, is an adventure story about two British ex-soldiers (Michael Caine and Sean Connery) in India. The photography is lovely, and the scenes of markets in India are exotic, like a perfect travelogue. The film will delight undemanding teenagers as the two leads go searching for treasure, risking danger and fighting enemies constantly. For adults, it is the joy of watching two fine actors, plus Christopher Plummer asRudyard Kipling.
MoMA is presenting a retrospective of 50 programs of Robert Altman from December 3, 2014-January 17, 2015. 3 Women, USA, 1977, is about three very strange women, who end up living together. Shelley Duvall works in a geriatric facility in a barren California town, where a mysterious Sissy Spacek is hired. They become roommates. Janice Rule, who hardly says a word in the film, is married, and paints weird paintings, while running a bar on a firing range. Although, it is a peculiar film, it holds one's attention, and the three actresses are superb.
A Perfect Couple, USA, 1979, is another film about strange people. An older man Paul Dooley is looking for a new lover, and becomes involved with a young Marta Heflin, a singer in a Rock band. He, even, follows her group, while the band is touring. After many ups and downs, they get together, and, I suppose, will live happy ever after. However, the film is very, very funny, and is filled with original music, some of which is quite good. It is a very enjoyable film.
Children and adults will enjoy Paddington, by Paul King, UK, 2014. It is one of most delightful films for the entire family. I highly recommend it, and you will not be disappointed. It is a tale of an adorable little bear, who finds himself in London from the Peruvian jungle, looking for a home. He is fortunate to be helped by a sympathetic family, when they encounter him lost in Paddington train station. His adventures in London and his life in the home of this sweet family are shown with great imagination and invention. The splendid cast includes many of the best English actors, like Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville, and Ben Whishaw as the voice of the little bear, plus an evil Nicole Kidman. I have rarely enjoyed such a perfect film entertainment. Do not miss it.