Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tribes at Ensemble Theatre Company

The best cast in over a decade performs an emotionally spellbinding play

     Nina Raine’s Tribes examines what happens when a deaf son who has been raised in a hearing family, no matter how loving and supposedly accepting it has been, pushes for his independence. It works on many levels, but there won’t be many dry eyes in the audience at its end.  We went to a

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

American Horror Story: Coven

Is it All About Eve taken by the wind?

The Coven Mansion in New Orleans
     Glee hit a groove that turned into a rut that has become a ditch whereas Ryan Murphy’s other current major creation keeps being reinvented annually as a half season.  After the charnel house set of last year’s Asylum – so grim that I gave

Saturday, January 25, 2014


A dark, overlooked gem available on Movies on Demand

     Prisoners was released in September and received great reviews and then disappeared by the time we could have seen it.  Earlier this week, it was overlooked by the Academy.  Dang!  Really?  It’s the creepiest mainstream movie that I can think of since The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and it moves like lightning, though it’s two and a half hours long.  Aaron Guzikowski’s script is a corker and reminiscent of some of

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Louise Erdrich: The Round House

A middling work by a revered writer

     Louise Erdrich won the National Book Award for The Round House last year over Ben Fountain’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, a work that I found to be astonishing in its mix of scrappy realism, pop cultural satire, and keen political observation.  Erdrich has won major awards in the past (National Book Critics Circle Award – the most adventurous

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


For some Cincinnatians, it's dining Mecca. 

Dexter Leaving Boca
      It's appropriate that Boca has moved into the previous home of the Maisonette.  (For those who aren't from Cincinnati, it WAS restaurant Mecca after a 41 consecutive year run as a five-star establishment in the Mobil Travel Guide).  The inside has been literally gutted and the outcome
is jaw-dropping.  The center of attention is the massive chandelier that even the Phantom of the Opera would covet.  We were there to celebrate our birthdays with Lisa, and seated on the second level next to the all glass railing and eye level with the chandelier.  The furnishings are like a set from

Friday, January 17, 2014

Oscar nominations for 2013 movies

The snubs intrigue more

     Do there have to be nine movies up for Best Picture?  It means that each movie was nominated as the best of the year by at least 5% of the voters.  If all of the Academy members voted, then at least 300 selected Philomena.  It’s a good two-hander (Judi Dench and Steve Coogan) with an excellent

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Walkabout" and "Picnic at Hanging Rock"

Australia’s art cinema put it on the world map in the 1970s

     Walkabout (1971), directed by Nicolas Roeg, was the first major movie to show the rest of the world what Australia was all about.  It’s a well-known work for cineastes, but it wasn’t successful financially when first released.  Many Australians didn’t like it because of how it critiques the ways in which the European civilized world attacks

Monday, January 13, 2014

Dallas Buyers Club

A harrowing docudrama featuring two great performances

     Dallas Buyers Club recaptures a moment in history that hasn’t passed, though we don’t talk about AIDS for different reasons now than we didn’t talk about it in the mid-1980s.  I thought C. Everett Koop should have been made Surgeon General for life when he displayed the courage of going

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A January Night in Downtown Cincinnati

The Aronoff Center with Reflections from the 21C,
Prints from the Birthday Series by Vee Speers
      With months of anticipation after ordering tickets, The Book Of Mormon opened at the Aronoff Center.  It's everything you might have heard, but what you may not expect to see is a

Thursday, January 9, 2014

J.G. Farrell

An Anglo-Irish novelist 
who died young and really was all that

     Three years ago, the Man Booker Foundation was prompted to give an award to a book published in 1970 because that year the rules changed for the awards period.  The Booker is like the Pulitzer and the National Book Award

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Inside Llewyn Davis

Funny, sad, disconcerting, 
and beautifully sung, this might be a classic

The Cat (Llewyn Davis' Conscience) Threads the Movie
     One hour into the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, I said to myself, “You’ve just lost me.”  About five minutes after it ended, I thought it was the best 2013 movie I’ve seen at a cinema so far (I haven’t seen 12 Years A Slave, Gravity, or Her).  In 2000, with T Bone Burnett’s superb music curatorial skills, the Coens broadened their cultural reach with the musical O Brother, Where Art Thou?  I know people supposedly hate musicals, though they sit through

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Ruth’s Parkside Café

A winner in Northside 
that pays homage to, but exceeds, Mullane’s

Dexter Waits for Us to Arrive at Ruth's Parkside Café
     Many former patrons remember Mullane’s and Kona Bistro fondly.  Ruth’s Parkside Café combines the best of both of those former establishments.  It’s in the American Can Building in a part of Northside that’s Bohemian cool, rather

Friday, January 3, 2014

Saving Mr. Banks

Reviving the tasteful A-movie 
while referring to a timeless classic

Hanks and Thompson as
Walt Disney and P.L. Travers at Disneyland
     Saving Mr. Banks is Disney’s clever way of referring to its glorious past, while also maintaining a quality present through co-producing an excellent script by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith.  It’s the story of making the 1964 movie classic Mary PoppinsMary Poppins, whom Tom Hanks, as Walt Disney, desperately tries to woo for twenty years with genial,

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Is Ben Stiller’s extraordinary talent enough?

     After we saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Kaylee said, “I didn’t realize Ben Stiller was so hot,” and this gave me hope.  Hope that twentysomethings can relate to a prodigiously talented, yet somehow underrated, fortysomething who has something very real to say about what it means to live a small