Archives for December 2012

Film review: Hooper’s Dizzy Gimmickry Hampers ‘Les Miserables’

Few recent films have stirred up passions like the long-awaited movie version of the Les Misérables musical has. That’s not surprising given the show’s world-wide following – more than 60 million people in 43 countries have seen it on stage since 1985. Now Tom Hooper (Oscar-winning director of The King’s Speech) has helmed a star-studded […]

Film review: Ultraviolent ‘Django Unchained’ a Provocative Tall Tale

Django Unchained is Quentin Tarantino’s latest historically tinted genre mashup (following 2009’s Inglorious Basterds). This time, slavery in the pre-Civil War South is the focus as Shaft meets A Fistful of Dollars in an ultraviolent, provocative tall tale. To get it out of the way (at least in this review) I think Spike Lee has […]

Film review: ‘Parental Guidance’ Provides Pleasant Predictability

Like many reviewers I generally don’t compliment a film by calling it “predictable.” In the case of Parental Guidance I’m making an exception. Why? Well, perhaps it’s just generosity spurred by the holiday season. Perhaps it’s nice to see a film that doesn’t vex the mind with the thought that our post-9/11 world is filled […]

Film review: Mid-Life Angst Hollywood Style in ‘This is 40’

With no apology to the late F. Scott Fitzgerald for altering his line, those Hollywood folks are different from you and me. Hardly a revelation, I know, but the latest evidence comes in the form of Judd Apatow’s This is 40. I guess that short title looks better on a poster than This is 40 […]

Film review: Retread Hero ‘Jack Reacher’ Shoots Blanks

I so enjoy action films that find new ways to stretch the genre. And that’s why Tom Cruise as a supremely self-confident hero who plays by his own rules is so refreshing (yes, I’m being facetious). What to say about his latest feature Jack Reacher? Well, it’s certainly this era’s answer to Dirty Harry (and […]

Classical review: Rejoice greatly, O fans of ‘Messiah’

After an absence of nearly two months, Giancarlo Guerrero returned to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Thursday night, and he brought with him his favorite musical Christmas card. That would be Handel’s Messiah, the beloved Baroque oratorio that’s the focus of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra’s final classical subscription concert of 2012. Guerrero conducts Messiah every […]

Nashville Opera Presents Rossini’s ‘Cinderella’ in Grand Style

Will the beautiful Cinderella make it to the royal ball and capture the heart of the handsome prince? Will her evil stepsisters stand in the way of her dreams? Gioachino Rossini’s 1817 opera Cinderella (La Cenerentola) tells the beloved story while adding some original twists and unexpected turns. Nashville Opera plans to present the piece in grand […]

Boiler Room Theatre Mans ‘Les Mis’ Barricades Next August

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The musical version of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables opens Christmas Day in movie theaters, but Boiler Room Theatre (BRT) will present the stage show that inspired that cinematic adaptation in 2013. The nonprofit theater troupe announced today that a full production will be mounted Aug. 8-10 as a special three-performance benefit for BRT. Quite […]

Jazz Plus: Ron Wynn surveys the latest jazz CDs, books and DVDs

Ernest Dawkins, Afro Straight (Delmark) Though usually pegged as strictly an outside/avant-garde type, saxophonist and bandleader Ernest Dawkins’ musical interests are much broader, as this fine new disc demonstrates. He’s as accomplished on standards and ballads (“God Bless The Child,” “Softly As In A Morning Sunrise”) as on his own pieces (“Old Man Blues,” “Juju”), […]

Nashville Opera Names Pensacola’s McKern as New Ed Director

Nashville Opera today announced that Chandra McKern has joined its 14-person staff as Director of Education and Outreach. A highly-regarded educator and performer, McKern will oversee Nashville Opera’s popular seven-week education tour throughout Middle Tennessee, manage the Mary Ragland Young Artist Program  for apprentice opera singers and develop educational programming in the community. McKern served […]

The Scottish Play Is Next Up For Nashville Shakespeare Festival

As its winter offering the Nashville Shakespeare Festival will present Macbeth featuring Nashville Ballet at Belmont University’s Troutt Theater. The show runs Jan. 10-27. “Macbeth is a timeless and timely tragedy about a man whose ambition outweighs his judgment,” Nashville Shakespeare Festival Executive Artistic Director Denice Hicks says. “The talent involved with this production is a potent […]

Jazz review: NJO, Blair Big Band celebrate the holidays

The Nashville Jazz Orchestra joined forces with the Blair Big Band Friday night to celebrate the holiday season and reaffirm that there’s plenty of vitality left in the classic swing/big band idiom. While each ensemble’s menu was heavily rooted in ’40s material, the most interesting aspect was hearing the young players covering tunes far older […]

Belcourt Screens ‘Mother of George’ as part of Sundance USA

Belcourt Theatre has been selected by the Sundance Film Festival as one of only 10 venues in America to screen a specially selected film on Thursday, Jan. 31 as part of Sundance Film Festival USA. It’s the fourth year Sundance has picked the Belcourt for such a screening. The film this year is Mother of […]

ArtsNash Partners with The Clyde Fitch Report to Spotlight the Arts

ArtsNash is excited to announce a new partnership with The Clyde Fitch Report (! Twice a month beginning in January, we’ll post arts stories from the Report, which bills itself as “the nexus of arts and politics.” CFR, meanwhile, will spotlight articles from ArtsNash, which will provide Nashville’s various arts organizations with much deserved national exposure. The […]

Dance review: Music and magic abound in ‘Nashville’s Nutcracker’

The Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition of 1897 was a wondrous event. Located on 132 acres of land on the western fringe of Nashville, this amazing fair took visitors on a global tour, providing them with glimpses of exotic Cuban and Chinese villages, an Egyptian pyramid and the Athenian Parthenon. The exposition attracted nearly two […]

Mark Cabus and His Solo ‘Carol’ Return to Nashville This Week

Former Nashvillian Mark Cabus may now be an Atlanta resident but he visits the Music City from time to time. This week the veteran actor/director is bringing his critically-acclaimed and audience-beloved one-man stage version of A Christmas Carol with him. Cabus plays 18 characters in his faithful adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale of transformation and redemption at two separate […]

Jazz review: Nashville Jazz Workshop meets Mr. Lucky at the Jazz Cave

The parking lot was packed outside the Nashville Jazz Workshop on Friday night, and that meant just one thing. Mr. Lucky was inside the building. Actually, the proximate cause of all that congestion was one Don Aliquo, saxophonist extraordinaire. Aliquo was holding forth inside the workshop’s intimate Jazz Cave, performing in the final Snap On […]

Theater review: Studio Tenn’s ‘Christmas Carol’ is Transcendent

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – It’s understandable to think there are no surprises left in the oft-told classic A Christmas Carol. Studio Tenn’s transcendent take on this beloved tale happily proves that’s not true. The stage of the historic Franklin Theatre pulsates with 18 players weaving through, over, on and around a turntable-centered space (kudos to Peter Vaque […]

Classical review: Lin ignites musical fireworks at Nashville’s Steinway Gallery

Pianist Jenny Lin seemed almost apologetic before the start of her concert Thursday evening at the Steinway Piano Gallery of Nashville. “I haven’t abandoned classical music,” Lin assured the audience. “In fact, all of the pieces I’m playing tonight were arranged by famous classical pianists.” The noted Taiwanese-born American pianist was in Music City this […]

Film review: ‘Hitchcock’ a Superficial Look at Master of Suspense

The trailer and ads for Hitchcock are slick and enticing. At first glance, so is the film, but ultimately it’s the hungry-soon-after equivalent of what passes for Chinese food in much of this country. Why? Well, let’s start with the casting of its leads. There are few actors more appealing in the right roles than […]