The Arts

Carole King Musical Doesn’t Sing

Despite a strong performance from Jessie Mueller, ‘Beautiful’ never quite coheres.

01/14/2014
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If ever pop music could be said to define a generation, it was in the 1960s, a time of social ferment set to the beat and rhythm of youth. Carole King, working with her husband Gerry Goffin, helped to set the tone for that era with her catchy tunes about the elusiveness and slipperiness of love. In “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” which opened last Sunday at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, King’s music shines through the decades. But the musical itself, which stars Jessie Mueller in a scintillating performance as the composer, never quite coheres into a satisfying show.

Jessie Mueller as Carole King and Jake Epstein as Gerry Goffin in “Beautiful.” Joan Marcus

Closing With A Bang At Annual Jewish Film Festival

Strong final-week offerings include a meditation on Jews and Poles, Amos Gitai’s latest and a documentary on Jews living under the Shah

01/14/2014
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Note: This is the third of three articles on this year’s N.Y. Jewish Film Festival.

They truly saved the best for last. In a strong lineup of new films and restorations, this year’s New York Jewish Film Festival closes with three of its very strongest offerings — a beautiful, mysterious and austere meditation on the barbed relationship between Jews and Poles, Amos Gitai’s most accessible film in years, and a smart documentary on a little-known aspect of Israeli-Iranian relations.

Yuval Scharf in Amos Gitai’s “Ana Arabia.”

This Land Is …

01/14/2014
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There may be only a handful left today, but less than a century ago, there were tens of thousands of Jewish Communists in New York who decried the gap between rich and poor in the city. Now comes Billy Yalowitz’s “East Towards Home,” a 90-minute play that uses dance, live music and animation to connect the Yiddish-speaking, left-wing Jews of New York to the music of Woody Guthrie, whose folk tunes gave voice to the parched people of the Dust Bowl during the Depression.

David Kremenitzer and Eleanor Reissa in Billy Yalowitz’s Woody Guthrie-inspired “East Towards Home.” Jonathan Slaff

Master Of The Turnaround

In his just-published biography of Ariel Sharon, David Landau chronicles the transformation of a hawk.

01/14/2014
Culture Editor
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When Ariel Sharon was elected prime minister of Israel in 2001, David Landau was almost in mourning. He and his left-leaning friends thought of Sharon as a disaster, a warmonger. But Landau changed his mind, as he witnessed Sharon’s own transformation as a leader, ultimately breaking with his past and directing Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

New biography of the late Ariel Sharon by veteran Israel journalist David Landau, paints a  picture of the politician-warrior.

‘Generation War’ Hampered By Form

Five-hour WWII combat/Holocaust film too bound up in genres’ conventions.

01/14/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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There is no art without limits, as Orson Welles once observed. Creativity has its birth in constraint, and all art is bound by conventions. This is nowhere truer than in film genres, those collections of familiar images, settings, themes and tropes that serve as a guide for both filmmakers and audiences.

Ludwig Trepte and Katharina Schutter in "Generation War." Music Box Films

‘Generation War’ Hampered By Form

Five-hour WWII combat/Holocaust film too bound up in genres’ conventions.

01/13/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
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There is no art without limits, as Orson Welles once observed. Creativity has its birth in constraint, and all art is bound by conventions. This is nowhere truer than in film genres, those collections of familiar images, settings, themes and tropes that serve as a guide for both filmmakers and audiences.

Ludwig Trepte and Katharina Schutter in "Generation War." Music Box Films

Arik Shaon: Master Of The Turnaround

In his just-released biography of Ariel Sharon, David Landau chronicles the transformation of a hawk.

01/10/2014
Culture Editor
Story Includes Video: 
0

When Ariel Sharon was elected prime minister of Israel in 2001, David Landau was almost in mourning. He and his left-leaning friends thought of Sharon as a disaster, a warmonger. But Landau changed his mind, as he witnessed Sharon’s own transformation as a leader, ultimately breaking with his past and directing Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

Arik, The life of Ariel Sharon

'The Most of Nora Ephron' Serves A Feast

01/10/2014
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The Most of Nora Ephron is a one-stop shop for all your Ephron needs. The work anthologizes huge portions of the author’s career, publishing selections from her life as a Newsweek feature writer, an essayist, blogger, novelist, Oscar nominee for the screenplay When Harry Met Sally, and Tony award winner for her play “Lucky Guy,” about Daily News reporter Mike McAlary’s work on the Abner Louima story.  

The new Nora Ephron anthology was published posthumously but begun before her death.

She Moved The Pop Music Earth

How a Brooklyn girl named Carol Klein bridged cultures in the ’60s and rewrote American popular song.

01/08/2014
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She took an unconventional route to superstardom, but it was a soulful road that Carole King traveled.

Born Carol Klein in Brooklyn in 1942, she did not set out to become a performer. In “Beautiful,” the new musical about King that opens this Sunday on Broadway, King’s career as a budding songwriter comes to the fore. Starring Jessie Mueller (“On a Clear Day You Can See Forever”) as King, the musical opens a window on a pivotal 1960s era in pop music in which a group of mostly Jewish composers and lyricists wrote for mostly black performers, changing the face of American culture in the process.

King of American Pop: Play looks at her career. Getty Images

‘Waltzing’ Into The Future With Bashir's New Film

‘Waltzing With Bashir’ director’s new science-fiction film, five years in the making, is a confusing vision; films about Amy Winehouse, ‘the Jewish Cardinal’ and a Molly Picon retrospective.

01/07/2014
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This is the second of three articles on this year’s N.Y. Jewish Film Festival.

Ari Folman’s 2008 animated film “Waltz With Bashir” was a breakthrough effort on many levels, one of a series of Israeli films to be nominated for the best foreign-language Academy Award, and a tough-minded work that helped forge a new subgenre of animated documentaries; it was a film that confirmed what some of us knew for a long time — that a “cartoon” could be serious and demanding. Anyone with an interest in film was eagerly awaiting Folman’s next project.

BBC documentary about the late Amy Winehouse focuses on one of her concerts.
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