Monday, October 31, 2011
Tilda Swinton’s extreme exasperation is always a cinematic treat, but We Need to Talk About Kevin looks like it will achieve record levels of mania. As the mother of a sociopathic son (Ezra Miller), Swinton is giving it her all, which makes her underdog status in the Best Actress race a bit disappointing. Here, watch as Kevin tortures his mother to the tune of Buddy Holly’s “Everyday” and adds some believable terror to your Halloween. Cannot wait for this movie. Possessed, evil children are always good on screen. The full spectrum from The Exorcist to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Veruca is craycray!) is memorable, and Kevin will fit right in — and maybe outdo all contemporaries. ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ Trailer [YouTube]
Fox, Direct TV logos DirecTV and Fox Networks reached a last-minute agreement Monday to avoid a blackout that would have included FX, several regional sports networks and other Fox-owned cable channels, The NY Times reports. "Fox Networks and DirecTV have reached an agreement for DirecTV to continue carrying all Fox Networks," the two companies said in a joint statement. "We both know the past 10 days have been challenging, but we're pleased that both sides could eventually come together to ensure our viewers continue to enjoy Fox programming." Kurt Sutter takes on DirecTV over possible blackout with choice words Fox and DirecTV had been engaged in a public battle since Oct. 21. Fox claimed that DirecTV sent the company a proposal that stipulated that Fox agree to their pricing terms or else DirecTV's 19 million subscribers will lose access to more than two dozen Fox cable. DirecTV claimed that Fox was seeking a 40 percent increase in subscriber fees. They came to an agreement just nine hours before the Nov. 1 deadline. In the days leading up to the possible blackout, Kurt Sutter - the creator and executive producer behind FX's Sons of Anarchy, took to his blog to share the script of a promo he had written himself, but had not been approved or filmed. "Starting November 1st, DirecTV is pulling FX from your box. That means you'll miss the last five episodes of Sons this season. Perhaps five of the most critical episodes of the series," he said. "I know Fox has a horse in this race, but they're trying to negotiate in good faith. DirecTV is shutting down all conversation and using their customers as leverage. In the process, you're getting f---ed over. They're running ads with their corporate shill telling you how much 'they care about your business,' that dude's got one sincere hand on his heart while the other greases your unsuspecting backside. Because they're about to flip you over and f--- up the a-- till you bleed." DirecTV has 19 million subscribers. Are you happy Fox and DirecTV avoided the blackout?
Tom Donovan, a director in early television and later a producer who also played a key role in the 1960 merger between the Screen Directors Guild and the Radio Television Directors Guild, leading to the formation of the DGA, died in Englewood, N.J., on Oct. 27. He was 89.Directors Guild of America president Taylor Hackford said, "Tom's mark upon the new DGA was indelible. He was president of the NY Local of the RTDG when discussions first began in the late 1950s about forming a new, unified organization to represent film and television directors and the teams that support them under one roof, and then in 1962, he chaired the committee that organized a restructuring of the new guild that eased regional friction and consolidated power in a National Board in which both the East Coast and the West Coast were fully represented -- an organizational structure that continues today."Donovan first got a call about a possible merger between the respective guilds for film and TV directors from Frank Capra in 1958. Donovan agreed to meet Capra and others at NY's 21 Club. Donovan was initially skeptical about the benefits of such a merger for TV directors but eventually came around.During the 1950s and early '60s, Donovan directed a 1954 episode of "Danger," several episodes of "Studio One in Hollywood" and "The United States Steel Hour," adaptations of "The Hasty Heart" for "The DuPont Show of the Month" and of "The Devil and Daniel Webster" for "Sunday Showcase" as well as telepic adaptations of "The Bells of St. Mary's" and "Ninotchka."Many shows were moving to Los Angeles, but Donovan remained in NY.Later he produced and directed episodes of the show "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing," helmed an entry in the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" series and directed episodes of the daytime soap "Ryan's Hope."In 1981 Donovan directed his single feature film, "Lovespell," a take on the Tristan and Isolde story that starred Richard Burton and Kate Mulgrew, among others.Most recently he helmed episodes of the daytime soap "Another World" in 1997 and produced and directed an episode of "General Hospital" in 2006.Donovan served on the first national board of the newly formed DGA, eventually holding nearly every board position over the next 33 years including national VP. He also served five terms on the DGA's Eastern Directors Council and as trustee of the DGA Foundation.For his contributions to the guild, Donovan was made an Honorary Life Member in 1985 and picked up the Robert B. Aldrich Award for extraordinary service to the DGA and its membership in 2001.Hackford called Donovan "a beloved father figure here at the guild" who "took great pride in everything he helped set in motion all those years ago -- a single, unified guild that helped protect and improve working conditions, creative rights and economic benefits for all guild members."Donovan was also a trustee of the Actors Fund for 13 years beginning in 1993, playing key roles on the audit, human services and executive committee.In 2006, he and his wife, Marie, retired to the Actors Fund's Lillian Booth Actors' Home in New Jersey. She died in August.He is survived by a son and a daughter. Contact Variety Staff at email@example.com
Friday, October 28, 2011
Bill Condon rang Movieline today for a special early chat about The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part One, and while the full interview will post this weekend, we’ve got a snippet to whet your appetite. Between talk of vampire weddings and critical expectations and such, Condon shared a particularly fond memory of the time when, during filming of an epic battle scene from the simultaneously-filmed Breaking Dawn Part Two, the guy from The Fall led his entire cast in an impromptu flash mob dance-off to the sounds of the Eurythmics. Hear the tale after the jump! Word on the street was that filming on The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn was interrupted by a pre-meditated prank, pulled on Condon, by nearly his entire cast — a choreographed dance-off that took the director by surprise in the middle of a key battle scene. “It was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen,” Condon told Movieline. He explained how it all happened. “In that second movie, as you know from the book, a half-hour of it takes place in this one location, this one field,” Condon said. “We shot there for, when you include the second unit, a couple of months — but the first unit was there for many weeks.” “When we came to the last, widest shot, with 80 vampires on one side and 27 vampires on the other, I’m sitting up the ladder and suddenly you hear this music — ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).’ And the Cullen side starts this incredible, West Side Story-kind of rumble. The other vampires then start to dance back. It was unbelievably big.” Who was responsible for the vampire dance-off? “I know Myanna Buring was behind it, and Lee Pace,” Condon said. “There were a couple of others. I should figure out exactly who. But they kept it a secret! They rehearsed this number for a week, and kept it a secret. It was so great.” Luckily, Condon adds, “there was a lot of B-camera rolling.” There’s a very good chance it’ll make it onto the eventual Breaking Dawn DVD/Blu-ray, but there’s just one catch: It’s part of Breaking Dawn Part Two, which brings the saga to a close on November 16, 2012 — which means it could be over a year until the footage sees the light of day on home video. Check back this weekend for more of Movieline’s early chat with Condon (with even more Breaking Dawn Part One interviews to come in anticipation of the film’s November 18 release). See Movieline’s gallery of new images from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1. Follow Jen Yamato on Twitter. Follow Movieline on Twitter.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Mamma Mia! is a celebrated American film where Meryl Streep tries to convince you she’s brain-damaged for 108 minutes. She has no guess as to who birthed her blonde, blue-eyed, ABBA-squawking daughter, but she’ll storm about a sunny Grecian isle until we all agree to forget she’s doing this for an obese stack of cash. What a Swedish fishy musical this is! It gives Stockholm Syndrome to thinking people. Let’s watch it 30 times, channel Agnetha and Anni-Frid using ethereal harmonies and beige lipstick, and recount the five greatest musical numbers in this insane, aquamarine spectacle of light, sound and sheer embarrassment. I nearly forgot: The youthful star of Mamma Mia is Amanda Seyfried, who leads this week’s new release In Time with a “futuristic look” (code for “Bridget Fonda haircut”). That movie looks unbearable, but Seyfried makes Mamma Mia a pleasure using her Tila Tequila-shaped head and physique. She’s supported by an exhausted cast of veterans wind-burnt by time and sitcom pilots. Together they’re a mysteriously savory blend, and they create a movie that is pretty much Glee for Adderall addicts, or Kidz Bop for chocolate-crazed, Fabio-literate adults. The ridiculous paternity narrative is irrelevant — I’m hopped up on pure ABBA euphoria after re-watching Mamma Mia!, and here are the five covers worth revisiting on this droopy Wednesday. 5. Christine Baranski’s husky, libidinous “Does Your Mother Know” Christine Baranski has graced the pages of Bad Movies We Love before, but here she comes into her own as a barky she-wolf with a legendary mandible. In the hard-veined hands of Baranski, ABBA’s “Does Your Mother Know” bursts with powerful horniness. Watch as this goody-goody Good Wife player juts and thrusts with the chutzpah of a much older raptor. 4. Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper’s “Lay All Your Love on Me” “LAYLOM” is ABBA’s secretly nastiest jam, and the most unsettling. The chrous’s druid incantation doubles as a sex-slave shanty, and these two oiled-up lovers chirp it with gusto. Well, Seyfried does. Dominic Cooper hoots like a nervous chorus boy trying to impress his sophomore girlfriend, but Seyfried’s Nordic glee gives way to sexy bliss. Don’t go wasting your emotions on him, Amanda! 3. Julie Walters’ utterly irrelevant “Take a Chance on Me” Well after Mamma Mia! has given up on plot and sense, Julie Walters gallops up on a table and begs a dude to love her. This is just like life for many of us. ABBA’s entrancing, rolling beat is not as hypnotic when it’s shoehorned into this already-crammed runtime, but Julie’s confused rendition is unforgettable, for better or for worse. 2. Meryl Streep spends her “Money, Money, Money” on singing lessons and this year’s overalls. “Money, Money, Money” belongs in My Fair Lady or another Lerner & Loewe jamboree, not an ABBA musical full of evocative disco mood pieces. As the movie kicks off, Meryl charges around her island estate like Ricardo Montalban and gripes about how poor she is. This is another farfetched idea, in case you’re keeping track. Please bear witness as Sophie’s Choice’s Polish pixie has to choose between dignity and insanity while a tantalizing Swedish beat plays the odious kommandant in charge of her fate. Spoiler: The Europop wins. Throw your dignity in the back of a train car and watch as your inhibitions go chug-chug-chugging away! 1. Pierce Brosnan’s so-so-so-so-so-so-so-aptly titled “S.O.S.” Daniel Craig revived James Bond’s sexuality even though we didn’t know it had withered away long ago. Who ruined 007’s naughty streak, you ask? Hint: Here, Pierce Brosnan yelps the lyrics to “S.O.S.,” and it seems like his last hit of Viagra is on the line. Remington Steele is just a bizarre choice for a singing part in any film, and when Brosnan’s belting power notes like a balladeer, it’s hard to watch. Hell, it’s hard to live. I won’t burden you with the video — the audio track of his weirdly accented, gurgly rendition is enough to give you license to kill yourself. Because your landlocked, deprived existence can’t get better than this. Awful. And incredible. Follow Louis Virtel on Twitter. Follow Movieline on Twitter.
Friday, October 21, 2011
“Despite [Dark Bloodstream director] George Sluizer’s declare that he's been interacting with River Phoenix’s family regarding delivering River’s last film, Joaquin Phoenix and the family haven't experienced communication using the director nor can they participate by any means.” Bummer. Nevertheless, the Laying Dutchman is a nice good nickname if Sluizer wants it. [Deadline]
Friday, October 14, 2011
On Feb. 17, 1984, a movie referred to as 'Footloose' was released into theaters near people who have been alive in 1984. On March. 14, 2011, a movie referred to as 'Footloose' continues to be released into theaters near individuals who're alive today. Relating to this monumental 27-and-a-little-more-than-half-a-year anniversary in the original, does the earth need a new 'Footloose'? Might be the planet ready for just about any new 'Footloose'? Just like a service, here's an reaction to every question you may have in regards to the new 'Footloose.' Q: Are you currently presently spending so much time? A: Yes, really, on a means to properly assess the new 'Footloose.' Up to now, without results. Q: Are you currently presently punching your card? A: No, I do not have to submit a period of time card to document how lengthy I put in the 'Footloose' screening. Q: Eight several hours? A: 'Footloose' is nowhere near eight several hours extended. Q: That? A: I request myself that every day. Q: Oh, tell me a few things i got? A: Well, you've got a brand-new 'Footloose' movie, which, remarkably, is greatly like the first 'Footloose' movie. I'm speaking relating to this in a great way. Despite similar figures, including Ren McCormack, now carried out by Kenny Wormald. (Also, you've very bad grammar, that's also everything you have.) Q: Does Kenny Wormald hold the feeling? A: I am unsure relating to this, but Kenny Wormald (overpowering the role that Kevin Sausage made famous) does look a little as being a youthful The Actor-kaira Pitt. Q: Does Ren believe time is holding him lower? A: Similar to inside the first film, Ren McCormack moves (from Boston, rather than Chicago) for the small capital of scotland - Bomont after his mother dies. Q: Will Ren hit the ceiling? A: No roofs are hit through the 'Footloose' remake. Q: So he tears within the town? A: Well, Ren is frustrated because, just like the initial film, dancing remains outlawed in Bomont -- that's now in Tennessee rather than an not named western condition. "Tear up" can be a strong approach to word it -- though he's doing search for a basic Riot album. Q: Does he participate in it? A: No, as they finds a vintage 33 LP record, but, oddly, Ren has Quiet Riot's "Metal Health" already on his ipod device device. Q: So awesome? A: Searching back, I'm not really sure Quiet Riot was ever that awesome. But Ren rocks ! as it is 2011 and he's hearing Quiet Riot. Ren also wears an elegant skinny tie to his first day's school in Bomont, that's awesome. It's also just a little pretentious. Also pretentious is the fact Ren is carried out having a guy who's 27-years-old. Q: Does Ren obey every rule? A: Well, similar to most 27-year-old teens, Ren has a bit of the ornery streak. Just like a former gymnast, Ren states "no" to dope -- but does not have problem breaking city noise violations which annoying outlaw on dancing. Q: Does Ren search an easy method lower into any hearts? A: Ren becomes a tad smitten with Ariel (Julianne Hough), who includes some unfortunate baggage: Not only is she the area preacher's (Dennis Quaid) daughter -- whose older brother died in the terrible vehicle accident (proven on-screen this time around around around) which introduced for the town stop on dancing -- she also provides a dick-ant boyfriend named Chuck. Q: And burning... A: Similar to inside the original 'Footloose,' the intense problem of std's aren't addressed. Q: No... burning, yearning for a person to see him... A: He looks too old to become secondary school student? Q: No, that existence ain't passing him by? A: Um... I suppose. I'm speaking about, he's doing become pals getting a classmate named Willard (Miles Teller). A classmate who, when the were reality, wouldn't, be pals with Ren McCormack. Q: I'm trying to show you. A: I'm listening. Q: It'll if he doesn't even try. A: Being fair, Ren does try. I'm speaking about, he even participates a very dangerous bus race around the figure eight style track (rather than very slow moving trucks). Q: Yoooo oh oh ohhhh oh. A: Wait, what? Q: Yoooo oh oh ohhhh oh. A: Are you currently presently in discomfort? You appear like you are in discomfort. Q: First, we have got to inform you around. A: The completely new version of 'Footloose' did turn me around. Honestly, I'd no desire whatsoever to find out this movie, yet, with the finish, I used to be completely aboard. Q: Second, put your foot on the ground. A: It absolutely was difficult to keep my foot on the ground taking into consideration the music inside the film! But which includes a lot associated with the fact a few the first tunes -- Kenny Loggins' 'Footloose' (that's stuck throughout my thoughts at this time around for reasons uknown) and Deniece Williams' 'Let's Participate in it for your Boy' -- are used, which are great to hear again in the theater. Also, we have an appliance cover version of 'Holding Out for just about any Hero' and Ren works his angry warehouse dance for the White-colored Stripes. Q: Third, are in possession of a their hands on your soul. A: I've been thinking about this. Possibly I have no soul -- it's possible -- but against all odds, I really did like the new 'Footloose.' A good deal. Which I hesitate to even think of it as a remake -- it's really an appreciation letter for the original. (Also, I have got a sense I realize how this piece will finish.) Q: Will you change it loose? A: OK, I certainly know where that is going. Q: Everybody cut, everybody cut... everybody cut, everybody cut... everybody cut, everybody cut. Everybody cut footloose! A: Christ. You'll be able to contact Mike Ryan on Twitter. [Top photo: Vital] Where Is It Now: The Cast of 'Footloose' Kevin BaconLori SingerChris PennJohn Lithgow and Dianne WiestSarah Jessica ParkerKenny LogginsDean PitchfordHerbert Ross See All Moviefone Galleries » Follow Moviefone on Twitter Like Moviefone on Facebook RELATED
First Published: October 14, 2011 11:10 AM EDT Credit: CBS Caption Katie Holmes and Josh Radnor on CBS How I Met Your Mother, October 2011LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- How I Met Your Mothers Slutty Pumpkin character, played by Katie Holmes in an upcoming Halloween episode, doesnt appear to be all that risque! Fans are getting the first look at the actress dressed as the shows elusive character, which has been referenced on the CBS comedy for six seasons. Katies Slutty Pumpkin character met Ted (Josh Radnor) during the shows first season at a Halloween party, but the pair lost touch. Ted has been searching for his tantalizing orange minx ever since. When Katies casting was announced earlier this month, series co-creator Craig Thomas told NY Magazines Vulture blog they were excited to bestow Katie with the honor of the role. Katie is a lovely and talented actress, which is why weve saved for her perhaps the most classily named character in our shows history, Thomas said at the time. Katies How I Met Your Mother Halloween episode airs on October 31 at 8 PM on CBS. Copyright 2011 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Monday, October 10, 2011
BURBANK, CA, October 10, 2011 James Cameron and Vince Pace, Co-Chairmen of CAMERON | PACE Group (CPG) announced today that industry veteran O.D. Welch has joined the company as Chief Operating Officer. Based out of the companys Burbank headquarters, Welch will be responsible for leading CPGs global expansion, focusing on strategic planning and execution, international business development, and worldwide operations of the group.In his new role, Welch will prepare the company for this expansion by streamlining products and services offerings, adapting overall operations to be easily replicated internationally, and turning CPGs recent partnership alliances (i.e. ARRI & Grass Valley) into new, and even more efficient 3D production solutions. Prior to joining CAMERON | PACE Group, Welch served as President of Evolve Consulting in Los Angeles where he oversaw strategic and financial advising to the companys entertainment and media clientele. In addition, he has held roles as Chief Operating Officer, North America for Prime Focus Group, Chief Operating and Financial Officer for the ComputerCafe Group, and President of 525 Studios among others. As Production Executive on nearly three dozen feature films, Welchs credits include Iron Man, Speed Racer, Spider Man 3, Pans Labyrinth and King Kong. He is also a member of the Producers Guild of America, the Visual Effects Society and the Hollywood Post Alliance.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
London-- Paddy Considine's directing debut "Tyrannosaur" and John Michael McDonagh's "The Guard" won two prizes apiece at the 22nd Dinard British Film Festival, France's leading showcase for UK cinema. "Tyrannosaur" picked up the Golden Hitchcock award for best film and the Allianz award for best screenplay. "The Guard" took the Kodak Award for best cinematography and the Prix Public, voted by the audience. The Golden Hitchcock provides financial help to the French distributor and the filmmaker, along with a promotional campaign on the Cine+ channels at the time of the film's theatrical release. This year's Dinard fest opened Oct 6 with David Mackenzie's "Perfect Sense," and closed Oct 8 with Sue Bourne's "Jig." The jury was chaired by French actress Nathalie Baye. Kristof Bilsen won the best short film award for his doc "White Elephant." The prize is chosen from a selection of shorts from the UK's National Film & TV School and its French equivalent FEMIS. Contact the Variety newsroom at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, October 7, 2011
NY (AP) At 74, Bill Cosby says he doesn't want to dawdle."When you hit the 70 mark, some of your friends have been destroyed or are dead," the comedian and activist says by phone. "You keep going, but you do have a feeling that as you're walking forward, someone's turning the lights out behind you."One of America's most beloved and groundbreaking joke-tellers, Cosby has leveraged his fame he is the first black actor to win a lead actor Emmy and beloved for his groundbreaking series "The Cosby Show" to give back."We really don't want waste time," he says of his septuagenarian peers. "I just don't want to leave without thanking those who are doing good. It doesn't have to be a big thing."Cosby has found one of those things in an Oct. 13 benefit for the organization Art Start at NY City's 1,500-seat Town Hall. The comedian will be joined by Chita Rivera and Mark Nadler for a one-night-only performance of "Laugh, Sing, Dance.""I'll do part of my show that I've been doing around the country," says Rivera, 78, who is an old friend of Cosby's. She'll be singing songs from musicals she's most famous for, including "Kiss of the Spider Woman," ''Chicago," ''West Side Story" and "Bye Bye Birdie."Art Start, now celebrating its 20th anniversary, has been providing visual and performing arts programs for NY City's most at-risk youth, offering an outlet for children who are homeless, leaving jail or coping with parents in crisis."Many of these children are homeless. Many are feeling strongly unempowered, not having a choice about anything," Cosby says. "Through touching, feeling, hearing, seeing, these kids may be able to disappear from the gloom in their heart."Nadler, a singer and pianist who is a member of Art Start's board of directors, brought the two acclaimed performers together for the event. Ticket prices range from $35 to $150.Tony Award-winning Rivera was most recently on Broadway in "Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life" and was recently seen in the Signature Theatre's production of "The Visit." She's doing a reading for a new musical and is slated to continue her concerts. Cosby is awaiting the release of his new book, "I Didn't Choose to be Born (But I'm Glad I Was)," which comes out Nov. 1.For Cosby, helping kids is a mission and getting to work with Rivera is just icing on the cake. "She has one of the greatest laughs. Period. Especially at our age," he says. "She just laughs so hard so it's my pleasure.Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Samuel L. Jackson has led indelible performances towards the oeuvre of Quentin Tarantino, most particularly because the awesome Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, which nabbed him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar jerk, and because the unhinged L.A. gun-runner Ordell Robbie (“O-R-D-E-L-L R-O-B-B-I-E”) in Tarantino’s follow-up, Jackie Brown, which received him a Golden Globes nomination. Jackson even given his voice to 2009’s Inglourious Basterds and can come in the approaching Django Unchained. But which film does the frequent Tarantino player think about the director’s best, by which “the action plays out all of a sudden and completely for each character?” Watch Movieline’s exclusive clip, obtained from an unreleased interview shot for that Pulp Fiction Blu-ray release: That's it! I’ve reached accept Jackson his favorite Tarantino can also be my personal favorite Tarantino. (Should you skipped it, read our interview with legendary actress and QT muse Pam Grier.) Meanwhile, catch more behind-the-moments information and nostalgic interviews about this week’s Blu-ray releases of Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, both out today.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
First Launched: October 2, 2011 1:26 PM EDT Credit: Getty Images Caption Harry Connick, Junior. and Morgan Freeman cope with towards the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures Dolphin Tale in Westwood, Calif., on September 17, 2011LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- A dolphin has dethroned The Lion King within the weekend box office. The Warner Bros. family film Dolphin Tale organized well with $14.2 million within the second weekend to think about at No. one in the Lion King, the Disney reissue which were the most effective movie the last two weekends. Studio estimations Sunday shown The Lion King sliding to 3rd-place with $11.millions of, just behind Sonys Kaira Pitt baseball tale Moneyball, which was No. 2 within the second weekend with $12.5 million. The Three holdover films held off a rush of latest wide releases. In the photo finish for your No. 4 place were Summit Entertainments cancer comic drama 50/50, starring Ernest Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, with $8.85 million and Sonys Christian-designed police drama Courageous with $8.8 million. (Copyright 2011 by Connected Press) Copyright 2011 by NBC Universal, Corporation. All rights reserved. These elements is probably not launched, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
A Shotgun Players presentation of a play in two acts by Adam Bock. Directed by Rose Riordan. Set, Nina Ball; lighting/projections, Lucas Krech; costumes, Valera Coble; props, Chelsea Pegram; stage manager/sound, Hannah Birch Carl. Opened Sept. 24, 2011, reviewed Sept. 29. Running time: 100 MIN.Paulie Patrick Alparone Antonio Keith Burkland Catherine Catherine Castellanos Taylor Cindy Im Olibia Trish MulhollandProbably the most conventional play Adam Bock has premiered in the Bay Area before or since his move to NY City, "Phaedra" spells out its source loud and clear in the title. But what's on stage is a distinctly contemporary spin that diverges considerably from the blueprints provided by Euripedes, Racine and others. Rose Riordan's Shotgun production offers a compelling work that could still stand fleshing out; at present, Bock raises more issues than he truly explores, making for an evening that's tersely involving but doesn't have much emotional resonance given the eventual extremity of acts committed. It's certainly a far cry from the brightly absurdist constructs this playwright established himself ("Five Flights," "The Thugs," "The Typographer's Dream"), or even the compressed semi-realism of "The Shaker Chair." Here everything is as straightforwardly readable as the tasteful beige decor of Nina Ball's posh two-floor suburban home interior: At first glance we grasp it's a stage set for people role-playing (and/or fighting) some stilted, inorganic notion of privileged propriety. Descending the stairs from bedrooms to livingroom like a California-moderne Elizabeth Taylor circa 1972 is Catherine (Catherine Castellanos), who controls every detail of this sterile environ even as she seems strangled by it. The love has long gone from her marriage to conservative judge Antonio (Keith Burkland), a pompous windbag; offering some semblance of bustling everyday life is gabby English housekeeper Olibia (Trish Mulholland, channeling Hermione Gingold). But the dead air in this domestic mausoleum is stirred by prodigal son Paulie (Patrick Alparone), a troubled youth on probation from a drug rehab program. He's determined to start afresh this time; but dad is condescendingly doubtful, Catherine imperially disapproving. (Olibia aside, Paulie's sole ally is a jaded recovery buddy played with terrific comic disdain by Cindy Im.) Why his stepmom is being so hostile is revealed just before intermission, when she makes a late-night confession sure to screw with his head and bring disaster upon all. Often cast in raucous working-class parts, Castellanos lends her central figure a glacial, studied elegance that is its own gilded cage. Yet vivid as she and the other players are, we don't quite buy the grotesque passion Catherine hides for Paulie, or its catastrophic consequences, as more than tragic contrivance. This "Phaedra" could well portend that key revelation at greater leisure, develop Paulie's hapless character further, and expand upon the political commentary implicit in Antonio's boorish arbiter of "justice." The show doesn't feel rushed (oddly, the thing that works least in Riordan's assured staging are a few mannered "slo-mo" movement passages), but it plays a tad thinner than it should. Design contributions are astute, with particularly evocative input from Lucas Krech's subtle lighting and projections. Contact the Variety newsroom at email@example.com
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