Divided Texas Supreme Court Evades Deciding Gay Divorce Issue

With a ruling on same-sex marriage from the United States Supreme Court just days away, the Texas Supreme Court finally acted on June 19, 2015, on a pair of appeals argued nineteen months ago in November 2013, holding in State v. Naylor, 2015 Tex. LEXIS 581, that the state’s attorney general did not have standing to appeal an Austin trial judge’s order granting a judgment “intended to be a substitute for a valid and subsisting … <Read More>

“Noah” – The Film (Caution: Plot Spoilers)

It may seem strange to mention “plot spoilers” in connection with a cinematic presentation of one of the most famous old stories from the Book of Genesis, but anybody whose familiarity with the story of Noah derives solely from that source is going to encounter some surprises in this film. One could be outraged, especially if one believes that “The Bible” is presented as a literal source of history of Divine Inspiration with which one … <Read More>

Philomena – The Film

Visiting my Mom in Houston this past weekend. Usually that involves taking her out to see a movie, which she loves to do, after a Chinese lunch. True to form, we had a Leonard family Chinese lunch with all the Houston relatives, and then across the street to the movie theater to see “Philomena,” just the sort of film my Mom would enjoy. And me, too!

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan are fantastically good in … <Read More>

Busy Culture Week: Kill Your Darlings, A Time to Kill, Peoples’ Symphony Concerts (Borromeo Quartet & Richard Stoltzman), Thor

A little bit of this, a little bit of that….  I already wrote about the Ned Rorem 90th Birthday Concert that I attended on Tuesday night (Nov. 5), but wanted to mention my other expeditions of the week.

On Monday night, I saw “Kill Your Darlings” at Film Society of Lincoln Center.  I thoroughly enjoyed this tale based on real events.  It focuses on Allen Ginsberg’s first year as a student at Columbia University, and … <Read More>

Recent Movies: Rush, Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, Captain Phillips. . . And Not So Recent: Tennessee, and Adopt a Sailor

I’ve managed to squeeze in theater visits to see several of the recent big movie releases over the past three weeks, and have been saving up my comments.  Of the four mentioned above, I think “12 Years a Slave” is the most consequential and should be first on anybody’s list, even though it is not as yet quite so easy to find.

The company marketing this movie is rolling it out slowly, hoping that good … <Read More>

The New Season Begins – Opera, Symphony, Film, Theater

My new culture season is duly launched.  As of last night, I’ve taken in: “Anna  Nicole,”  apparently the last production of New York City Opera, presented in collaboration with the Brooklyn Academy of Music on September 21; the new film “Don Jon” by Joseph Gordon-Levitt at the AMC Theater on Broadway at 84th Street on September 29; a memorial celebration for my friend, the late Ari Joshua Sherman, at the DiMenna Center for the Arts … <Read More>

NewFest: The NY LGBT Film Festival for 2013

Three groups came together this year for a consolidated LGBT film festival in New York City: Newfest, Outfest, and Film Society of Lincoln Center, which played host in its Walter Reade Theatre, a classy location but unfortunately not providing as many seats as a large commercial theater might have done.  I add this caveat because by the time I got around to obtaining tickets, many of the shows I wanted to see were already sold … <Read More>

Some Recent Films – Blue Jasmine, Elysium, The Butler

I’ve recently seen these three new films, and I would have to rank The Butler as the best of them.  Forest Whitaker plays a man who served as a butler in the White House from the Eisenhower Administration through the Reagan Administration.  The film is based on a true story, although names are changed and I don’t know how much of the detail of the film is true or imaginary.  Oprah Winfrey plays his wife.  … <Read More>

Hugh Jackman in “Wolverine”

Saw the new Wolverine movie.  The big question – are those really Hugh Jackman’s muscles, or is this CGI at work?  Actually, this is a fast, sometimes confusing, CGI-afflicted succession of stunt scenes.  You will stay awake, but at the end you will wonder what it was for.  I think CGI has gone too far now, and it has made it altogether too easy for filmmakers to go over the top and not even bother … <Read More>

A “Multicultural” Weekend in NYC: The Yankees, City Center Encores!, and “The Lone Ranger” Movie

I use the term “multicultural” in a special sense here, not referring to different ethnicities but rather to different forms of our modern entertainment culture – major league baseball, musical theater, and major Hollywood motion pictures!  My Friday and Saturday this past weekend combined these three different cultural experiences.

First up: Major League Baseball.  As a delayed birthday present, my usual theater and concert-going companion arranged to buy skybox tickets at Yankee Stadium for Friday’s … <Read More>