BACKSTAGE PASS
Girls just wanna have fun
by Lanz Leviste - November 3, 2006 - 12:00am
Of the intricate rituals and customary acts of baroque mundanity, Marie Antoinette says, "This is ridiculous." The curtsies and the hierarchies of the Bourbon court in Sofia Coppola’s Marie...
September mourn
by Lanz Leviste - October 20, 2006 - 12:00am
Five years on, and the need for safety, for a protective sheath of emotional antiseptic – from terrorists on planes, from misguided world leaders, from gullibility to hatred – is still as requisite...
Hell hath no fury
by Lanz Leviste - September 1, 2006 - 12:00am
In The Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep is Miranda Priestly, and Miranda Priestly is Meryl Streep. This is a Meryl that glares and deadpans and acts her ass off in a turn of devilish understatement, giving the best...
My 20 fave films
by Lanz Leviste - July 28, 2006 - 12:00am
In his May 2006 essay on the greatest American novel of the past quarter-century, New York Times critic A.O. Scott commented on the "deplorable modern mania for ranking, list-making and fabricated competition"...
The fast and the furious
by Lanz Leviste - June 9, 2006 - 12:00am
The screening of Pixar’s Cars that I attended was preceded by trailers for RV, that awful Robin Williams vehicle, and Open Season, Sony’s first foray into CGI-animated films. Accordingly, I grated my teeth...
There’s something about Mary
by Lanz Leviste - May 26, 2006 - 12:00am
The Da Vinci Code, in its Hollywood incarnation, tries so hard not to offend anyone that despite the incendiary claims that lay basis for Dan Brown’s bestselling fact-fiction amalgamation, the film verges on...
‘Poseidon’ is a disaster, and it’s no Cruise liner
by Lanz Leviste - May 12, 2006 - 12:00am
You know that clever little narrative device that J.J. Abrams uses at the very beginning of many Alias episodes? The one where Sydney is being beaten up while tied to a chair or about to fall off a train or in...
In a musical, nothing dreadful ever happens
by Lanz Leviste - March 31, 2006 - 12:00am
From the very beginning of his hiring, Chris Columbus adapting Jonathan Larson’s Rent for the screen, the past decade’s seminal musical of American theater, was like having Lindsay Lohan cover Debbie Harry:...
Anything can happen on Oscar night
by Lanz Leviste - March 3, 2006 - 12:00am
This year’s Academy Awards (no, it’s not "Oscar Awards," and please never use that grating phrase; just say "Oscars" if you rather) was pushed back a week to March 5th to make room for...
Home and heartbreak on the range
by Lanz Leviste - February 17, 2006 - 12:00am
This is the love story every human being with a beating heart should get to see. Brokeback Mountain, based on the short story by Pulitzer Prize-winning Annie Proulx, is a film that itself does not recognize or remotely...
A dish best served cold
by Lanz Leviste - February 10, 2006 - 12:00am
Just like in the way Updike novels deconstructed the sunny-side-up Brady Bunch smiles of ‘70s suburbia and attacked the era’s celebration of sanguine post-Vietnam middle-class domesticity, Steven Spielberg’s...
Red state blues
by Lanz Leviste - February 3, 2006 - 12:00am
The comparison is inevitable, if unfair: unlike Ray, an epic, sprawling biopic expanding Ray Charles’ life into a decades-long struggle for black civil rights, Walk the Line remains determinedly concentrated...
And the Oscar should go to…
by Lanz Leviste - January 27, 2006 - 12:00am
It really does not take a lot to win a best picture Oscar. Put together a pedigreed cast, a wildly praised yet woefully overrated director, and a 140-page screenplay either based on a true story or classy middlebrow...
The best films of 2005
by Lanz Leviste - January 6, 2006 - 12:00am
Let’s skip talk of the disastrous box-office slump and focus on the pertinent: 2005 was one hell of a year in film, full of gay cowboys, a mighty ape and politics, politics, politics. Agendas were abundant...
All’s well that ends Newell
by Lanz Leviste - November 18, 2005 - 12:00am
The Harry Potter series is distinctly British literature, and the hiring of Mike Newell, the franchise’s first English director, to helm the fourth book’s screen adaptation is as obvious as it is wise....
The show must go on, Act 2
by Lanz Leviste - November 11, 2005 - 12:00am
I can’t really explain it, I haven’t got the words It’s a feeling that you can’t control I suppose it’s like forgetting, losing who you are And at the same time something makes...
The show must go on, Act 1
by Lanz Leviste - November 4, 2005 - 12:00am
The musical theater blockbuster, up to a few years back, just seemed like cliched ’80s Cameron Mackintosh nostalgia of singing Jean Valjeans and Munkustraps and Christine Daaes, of helicopters landing on stage...
Fool me twice, shame on Emmy
by Lanz Leviste - September 30, 2005 - 12:00am
I love to hate the Emmys. Some years, I just love to hate to love the Emmys. Felicity Huffman beat out catfight du jour Marcia Cross and Teri Hatcher for the Best Actress in a Comedy statuette? Lynette must be popping...
Oh, the horcrux!
by Lanz Leviste - July 29, 2005 - 12:00am
(Note: If you have yet to finish Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and would not want any key plot points revealed, do not continue reading.) OXFORD, England – Hogwarts is just down the street from me....
Illegal aliens
by Lanz Leviste - July 1, 2005 - 12:00am
War of the Worlds is, many times, hardly engaging, cold and detached from an audience in confused awe so terrified to question the cinematic authority of Steven Spielberg. He is, of course, the biggest filmmaker...
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