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Entertainment

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

"Into the Woods" is very dark.

The feature film based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tales is dark not only in subject matter. It's also dark literally.

Agreed: A majority of the movie's action takes place in the woods. However, filmmakers can make allowances.

With "Into the Woods," director Rob Marshall (Oscar director nominee, "Chicago," 2003) has filmed many of the scenes in shadow, with characters' faces dimly lit, and under the towering blackened bark of trees.

"Into the Woods" is all about what happens after the "happily ever after" happens.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

It is, after all, called "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies."

So, why should it be surprising that about one-third of the nearly two and one-half hour latest installment of "The Hobbit" seems to be taken up with fighting and battles?

Right from the start of "The Battle of the Five Armies," Smaug, the dragon monster, is laying waste to Lake-town. The film picks up where "The Desolation of Smaug" (2013), sequel to "An Unexpected Journey" (2012), left off.

No spoiler alert here: Smaug is slain early on. Where can the film go from here?

Battles.

Friday, January 2, 2015
SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS The Premiere Paul McCartney Concert Experience will be presented at 8 p.m. Saturday at The Mauch Chunk Opera House, located at 14 W. Broadway in Jim Thorpe. Tickets are $30.

The Mauch Chunk Opera House, 14 W. Broadway in Jim Thorpe, announces upcoming events. See www.mcohjt.com or call 570-325-0249 for more information.

Doors open at 7 p.m., show begins at 8 p.m.

Saturday The McCartney Years: Praised by Beatles promoter Sid Bernstein the guy who brought the original Beatles to North America as "the best on the scene today," The McCartney Years is a note-for-note faithful re-creation of a mid-1970s Paul McCartney concert. Tickets $30.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Miracle of miracles, "Exodus: Gods And Kings," is actually quite good.

There are plenty of miracles in Director Ridley Scott's reimagining of the Torah story, beginning in 1300 B.C., about the Jews' travails and travels to Canaan, the "Promised Land."

You want miracles? "Exodus: Gods And Kings" got miracles.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

There was no way that the teenaged Butchy Sochorow would miss the final concert of his first tour with the Grateful Dead, his favorite musical tribe. It was one of many examples of "Deadication" for Sochorow, who attended more than 200 shows by the Grateful Dead from 1984 to 1995, the year the band disbanded after Garcia died.

Sochorow and his Splintered Sunlight mates will perform Friday at the Mauch Chunk Opera House, where 15 months ago they re-created a Dead Halloween gig from 1980, which is preserved in a free download on the opera house website.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"It looks like a penguin," goes the Monty Python line.

It looks like a whole lot of penguins in "Penguins of Madagascar."

In one of the opening scenes of the animated feature film, there's a line of penguins as far as the eye can see.

The four most important penguins are Skipper (voiced by Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Private (Christopher Knights) and Rico (Conrad Vernon).

The four penguins, who are secret agents modeled along the lines of James Bond and Austin Powers but with the tuxedoes on all the time, have super powers but are not super smart.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) – Joan Rivers left her daughter in charge of her fortune in a revocable trust.

Rivers' 2014 will was filed in New York state Surrogate's Court. In it she made her only child, Melissa Rivers, the executor with "the broadest and most absolute permissible direction" over a fortune estimated as high as $150 million.

The late comedienne asked that her business manager Michael D. Karlin and interior designer Robert Higdon be named co-executors of the living trust.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The producers and filmmakers of "The Hunger Games" were smart to cast Jennifer Lawrence as the protagonist Katniss Everdeen.

Prior to the first installment, "Hunger Games" (2012), Lawrence distinguished herself with a break-out actress Oscar-nominated performance in "Winter's Bone" (2010).

Lawrence received an actress Oscar for "Silver Linings Playbook" (2012), was a supporting actress Oscar-nominee for "American Hustle" (2013) and has dazzled as Raven-Mystique in "X-Men" (2011, 2014).

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"The Theory Of Everything" has everything going for it: amazing story, fine acting and superb filmmaking.

If that's not enough for Oscar consideration, the film also tugs at the heartstrings. "The Theory Of Everything" represents a triumph of the spirit, of mind over matter and, yes, of faith versus fate.

Monday, December 1, 2014

"Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" is brutal.

"Birdman" transcends realism.

"Birdman" inaugurates a new genre of cinema: Brutalism.

In "Birdman," Riggan (Michael Keaton) is a former superhero blockbuster movie star, the Birdman of the movie's title, trying to revive his career with a dose of acting reality.

What better way than to direct and star in a stage adaptation of the Raymond Carver short story collection, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" (first published in 1981).