Arts & Life

Theater
5:42 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

'Testament Of Mary': A Familiar Mother, In First Person

Fiona Shaw rehearses for her role as the Virgin Mary in The Testament of Mary. Irish novelist Colm Toibin's one-woman play opens April 22 at Broadway's Walter Kerr Theater.
Hugo Glendinning

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 7:55 pm

How do you play a character who's been depicted more than nearly any other character in all of Western civilization?

That's the challenge currently facing Irish actress Fiona Shaw, who in the past has played such well-known fictional characters as Harry Potter's Petunia Dursley and Marnie Stonebrook on HBO's True Blood -- not to mention titanic classical roles from Euripides' Medea to Shakespeare's Richard II.

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Movie Reviews
5:29 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

A Film So Sumptuous, 'Renoir' Himself Might Have Helped Out

Jean (Vincent Rottiers) assists his ailing father, the artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet), in his studio on the French Riviera.
Samuel Goldwyn Films

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 7:55 pm

The year is 1915. A beautiful young woman bicycling through sun-dappled woods passes under an effigy of a German soldier and seems entirely unfazed. World War I is raging elsewhere in Europe, but here on the French Riviera life is serene.

The cyclist, Andree, is on her way to pose for an elderly Impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet), whom she somewhat startles by claiming to be an artist herself.

"An artist," wonders the great man.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
5:18 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

R&B Singer Aaron Neville Plays Not My Job

Courtesy of Aaron Neville

Originally published on Sat March 30, 2013 11:15 am

There might be a prettier voice in the world than Aaron Neville's, but if there is, it belongs to a bird, and there's no way that bird looks as good in a leather jacket. Neville has sung duets with Aretha Franklin, has a bridge in India named after him, and has had his voice prescribed by British social workers to help people with depression. He has a new album called My True Story.

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Architecture
4:36 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Self-Taught Architect Behind Brooklyn's 'Broken Angel' Faces Eviction

Over the past three decades, Arthur and Cynthia Wood turned their four-story home into a work of art. They purchased the brick tenement at the intersection of Downing and Quincy streets in 1979 for $2,100 in cash.
Courtesy of Chris Wood

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 7:55 pm

A New York landmark of sorts is in danger of being wiped off the map. The building now known as Broken Angel was an ordinary 19th-century brick structure until self-taught artist and sculptor Arthur Wood started building on top of it in the late 1970s. Now Wood faces eviction from his own masterpiece — a towering structure that looks like a cathedral built out of salvaged junk.

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Movie Reviews
1:48 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

A Film So 'Wrong' It's Almost ... Um ... Wha???

The bewildered Dolph (Jack Plotnick) is just as baffled about the bizarro plot of Wrong as most of the audience will be. He's searching for his missing dog — or something like that.
Drafthouse Films

Writer-director Quentin Dupieux's last film came with its own viewing guide, a warning in the form of a to-the-camera prologue given by a flippant floppy-haired police officer: "All great films, without exception, contain an important element of no reason."

The cop's argument is too sweeping, and its examples too transparently nonsensical, to be taken seriously: Why is E.T. brown? For no reason. Why did the guy in The Pianist have to hide? For no reason!

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Fri March 29, 2013

Family, Intolerance And Dealing With Disaster In 'Burgess Boys'

iStockphoto.com

How often does the family car really kill one of its regular passengers? It's a recurring trope in literary fiction — the parent's moment of inattention that changes a household's fate forever — but in Elizabeth's Strout's novel The Burgess Boys, her follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize–winning Olive Kitteridge, that accident is flipped on its head. Here, it's the father who's been killed, at the hand of a child lured by the tempting gearshift, and the lives of the children that are changed forever.

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The Salt
3:05 am
Fri March 29, 2013

Homemade Peeps, And More Easter Treats, A La Thomas Keller

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Marshmallow eggs made with homemade flavored sugar are a colorful treat at Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery in Beverly Hills, Calif. To make them, pipe homemade marshmallow into hollow plastic eggs (see recipe, below).
Doriane Raiman for NPR

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 11:14 am

After 40 long days of Lenten abstention, Easter is a time for indulgence. And for those of us who don't observe Lent — well, who can resist all those chocolate bunnies? It's a time for sweets, with or without an excuse.

But if you're looking for Easter indulgences that are a little more refined than Peeps and jelly beans, take a cue from renowned chef Thomas Keller, whose Bouchon restaurants are as famous for their baked goods as they are for their bistro fare.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

There's Madcap, And Then There's Plain 'Mental'

Shaz (Toni Collette), a hotheaded stranger new to the Australian town of Dolphin Heads, becomes the unlikely answer to a local politician's problems when she steps in to nanny his children.
Dada Films

Human beings are imperfect — which is one reason we have the movies.

The Australian comedy Mental, written and directed by P.J. Hogan — the man behind the 1994 hit Muriel's Wedding — is filled with troubled people who, like most of us, strive not for perfection but at least for some understanding.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

'The Place Beyond The Pines': It's A Far Piece

Angsty stunt performer Luke (Ryan Gosling) quits the circus and becomes a busybody father after a former girlfriend reveals she's had his child.
Focus Features

There are moments, as Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine informed us, when the barely controlled rage that is masculinity can be tempered by feelings for woman and child. But eventually the male Id will erupt, and everything will go to hell.

That happens more than once in Cianfrance's new The Place Beyond the Pines, a would-be epic that shifts from character to character and story to story to show how fury passes from fathers to sons. But too much of this seething drama is devoted not to characterization but to posturing.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

'Retaliation': Harsh Payback For Poor G.I. Joe

Duke (Channing Tatum) and Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson) are live-action G.I. Joes in the big-screen franchise's latest thoroughly disposable installment.
Jaimie Trueblood Paramount Pictures

What's the difference between an action figure and an action star? Very little in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which features no performances of note, even from such combat-tested thespians as Bruce Willis, Jonathan Pryce and Dwayne Johnson.

The sequel to 2009's G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the latest Joe is a near-surrealistic mashup of serious themes and juvenile humor, realistic locations and cheesy CGI. Adapted to 3-D after it was shot, the movie is also one of the most aggressive examples ever of the chucking-stuff-at-the-viewer aesthetic.

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