Arts

The Two-Way
6:38 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Book News: Caro Wins His Third National Book Critics Circle Award

Robert Caro, who won the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography, at a gala at the Norman Mailer Center in New York.
Andy Kropa Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Fine Art
1:38 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Vermeer's 'Woman In Blue' Brings Her Mystery, Allure To L.A.

The Getty Museum is the last€” and only U.S. stop on the world tour of Woman in Blue Reading a Letter.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. On loan from the City of Amsterdam (A. van der Hoop Bequest) Courtesy of the J. Paul Getty Trust

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 4:41 am

Johannes Vermeer's Girl With a Pearl Earring is easy to fall in love with β€” she's young, dewy, beautiful (Scarlett Johansson played her in the 2003 movie about the painting), and she looks right at you. But the 17th-century Dutch master's Woman in Blue Reading a Letter is different β€” her face is shadowed and she stands in profile, totally absorbed in her letter.

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Movie Reviews
4:13 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

'Jack The Giant Slayer': A Fun, Fractured Fairy Tale

Nicholas Hoult plays the young Jack, who must wage battle against an ancient race of giants in Jack the Giant Slayer.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Great deeds start out as current events, move on to history, and eventually, with some craft and embellishment, become folklore and legend. This process is central to the structure of Bryan Singer's Jack the Giant Slayer, which merges elements of the familiar folktale of "Jack and the Beanstalk" with the less ubiquitous "Jack the Giant Killer." It sets the story as a kind of midpoint between one "true" story that has become a legend for Jack, just as the events of Jack's "true" story have supposedly passed into the realm of a simple folk story.

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Movie Reviews
4:12 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Adolescent Angst Turns Deadly In 'Stoker'

Evelyn and India Stoker (Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska) slowly descend into icy paranoia after their family patriarch dies through suspicious circumstances in the horror thriller Stoker.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

It's a mark of a great filmmaker when a movie is felt first and understood later, allowing audiences to intuit their way through a fog of mystery and sensuality before finally getting a clear view of the landscape. Best known for an operatic trio of revenge thrillers β€” the second, Oldboy, won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2004 and a fervent cult following β€” South Korean genre maestro Park Chan-wook expresses florid emotion in cool, impeccable, gothic language.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

'Hava Nagila: The Movie' Pays Homage To Unlikely Jewish Touchstone

Young newlyweds are serenaded with the strains of "Hava Nagila." The unlikely origins of the popular Jewish standard are explored in Roberta Grossman's documentary feature Hava Nagila: The Movie.
International Film Circuit

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 7:47 am

I grew up on "Hava Nagila," and I'll admit it's not the catchiest of tunes. The ingenuous Hebrew lyrics ("Come! Let us rejoice and be happy!") don't wear well in our age of knowing irony and ennui.

Hip young Israelis wince at the very mention of the song, and for many Diaspora Jews, a few bars of the tune are all it takes to recall that excruciating moment late in a fancy wedding or bar mitzvah, when the band invites all remaining guests (tipsy uncles included) to kick up their heels β€” and then go home already.

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