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When, on Dec. 30, David Sheward filed his critique of the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players' production of "The Mikado," the reviewing year ended for Back Stage. During 2010, Sheward and co–head critic Erik Haagensen reported on more than 250 theater and cabaret shows and, thanks to their responsibilities as members of the New York Drama Critics' Circle and the Drama Desk, saw many other offerings they didn't review. Rather than present yet another top 10 list of the "best" shows of the year, Sheward and Haagensen decided that a publication serving actors should salute actors.What follows is each man's selection of 10 memorable performances—by five women and five men—seen in 2010. Not the "best," not the "most," not ranked in any order, simply 10 performances that were so outstanding they wanted to salute them. Ten is an arbitrary limit. Without question, there were other performances that were as memorable as these. »
A Broadway production of Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown is to close three weeks early following low ticket sales.
But after weeks of disappointing box office takings, producers have decided to close the show on 2 January, according to the New York Times.
Broadway shows have seen a slump in tickets sales over the last few weeks and bosses have been forced to bring the curtain down on a number of high profile productions.
The Broadway heavyweight-packed production Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is shuttering its doors at the Lincoln Center Theater three weeks earlier than scheduled, according to the New York Times
The musical, which stars Patti LuPone, Sherie Rene Scott, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Laura Benanti, is based on Pedro Almodovar's 1988 film. It opened in November to mixed reviews and was slated to run until January 23.
However, the $5 million show has been among the lowest performing productions on Broadway. For eight performances for the week ending on December 26 it took in only $241,849. »
With all the hullabaloo about the deeply troubled Broadway musical adaptation of "Spider-Man" -- what with the near-deaths and actresses quitting and near-deaths and all -- it seems like a lot of pop culture lovers didn't even notice that another high-profile adaptation opened recently on Broadway: "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," based on the film by Pedro Almodóvar. So few noticed, in fact, that the show is closing on January 2 according to The Associated Press, three weeks ahead of its original closing date. So if you're curious, you better get moving in a hurry. And if you are curious, I've embedded the Almodóvar film's trailer as well as an extended preview of the musical.
- Matt Singer
The only truly amazing aspect to "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" is what it's missing, a showstopper.
To understand what absolute squandering of talent this is, their careers need to be remembered. When LuPone shot to fame in "The Robber Bridegroom," then "Evita," 35 years ago, she had audiences on their feet nightly. A couple of seasons back, as Mama in "Gypsy," people were screaming themselves hoarse, shouting her praise. LuPone is that magnificent.
As is Stokes. He has a rich, powerful voice, the sort that washes over the audience and makes them realize they are in the presence of greatness.
Except in this show, running through Jan. 23.
Based on Pedro Almodovar's movie, the musical has a fabulous set. It feels as if »
It seems like only yesterday that the American Film Institute released their 100 Years...100 Movies  list. Actually though, it was over 10 years ago when we first got our look at that "definitive" list of the 100 best American movies. They then did a ten year anniversary of it in 2007 with only minor adjustments and both years Citizen Kane held the number one place as the best American movie. Of course, the problem with those lists is that they only list American films. While Hollywood might be considered the epicenter of film, the art form itself spans the globe, way beyond American borders. That's why the Toronto International Film Festival came up with their Essential 100 movies. Created by merging lists made by Toronto Film Festival supporters along with another made by their programmers, these are supposed to be the 100 essential movies every cinephile must see. And it starts off with a bang as Citizen Kane has been toppled. »
- Germain Lussier
Okay, so it may be a little early to talk about the best films of next year. But based on the number of high-profile auteurs with new works on the horizon, 2011 looks like it will be a banner annum for art cinema. While Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life" is already trailering around the world and Sundance will parade a number of hot new projects from American indie stalwarts (Miguel Arteta, Tom McCarthy) and doc-makers (Eugene Jarecki, Steve James), look abroad to the next Berlin or Cannes and you're likely to see the most thrilling examples of contemporary cinema. Here are ten films we believe could top the best-of lists 12 months from now (in no particular order):
"This Must Be the Place"
Directed by Paolo Sorrentino
Though not yet known much outside of his home country or the festival circuit, Italian auteur Sorrentino received considerable acclaim -- including a »
- Anthony Kaufman
Ferzan Özpetek, a Turkish director trained and living in Italy, made his impressive debut in 1997 with Hamam, in which a handsome middle-class Italian and his pretty wife inherit an old Turkish bathhouse in Istanbul that spectacularly transforms their lives. His elegant, deeply romantic films since then have mostly been set in Rome and evoked comparison with Pedro Almodóvar. But his new one, Loose Cannons, takes place in Lecce, the capital of Puglia, a southern, culturally conservative city in the heel of Italy. Tommaso, an ambitious would-be novelist long absent in Rome, returns to his wealthy family determined to break the news that he is gay. Unfortunately at the dinner party he's chosen for his bombshell, his brother Antonio, who manages the family's world-renowned pasta factory, gets in first to announce his gayness. Dad has a heart attack, Antonio is banished, and Tommaso has to take over the firm.
It's overlong »
- Philip French
Faced with the MPAA's dreaded Nc-17 rating, film-makers voluntarily self-censor so as not to be ignored come Oscar time – but now they're fighting back
Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance had two nightmares as a child. One was that his parents would get divorced, the other that nuclear war would break out. The first happened when he was 20-years-old; this year it inspired a film, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. The second hasn't happened yet. But when the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) gave Blue Valentine an Nc-17 rating for a controversial sex scene, a battle between the studios and the censors began that has only this week revealed a victor. "I was shocked", said Cianfrance at the London film festival in October, "because I think we really tried to respect the audience in this film. It's relatively tame I think, it's just intimate and it's emotional."
If you’re a film lover and don’t feel the desire to go to the Cannes Film Festival then you’re really not much of a film lover at all. And one of the many reasons this is true is because of the great lineup they’ve got there. And the first names announced of who will be there next May are almost unanimously the names of greats.
It was tweeted by Cédric Succivalli, known as a “Cannes insider” (found by GordonandtheWhale) that some of the filmmakers we can expect there are Wong Kar Wai, Pedro Almodovar, Lynne Ramsay, Paolo Sorrentino, Lars von Trier, Virginie Despentes and Terrence Malick. You don’t even have to like all of those people (I don’t) to not be excited by their presence in the South of France in about five months.
Of course Malick is finally showing The Tree of Life »
- Nick Newman
Noupe interesting overview of current movie poster design trends.
Black Book interviews the lovely Farran of 'Self Styled Siren' on classic movie blogging.
Cinema Blend Emma Stone gone blonde for Spider-Man's "Gwen Stacy".
Back Stage Blog Stage Rob Reiner wants to make the stage musical Next to Normal into a movie. He wants this badly.
Low Resolution makes a case for an undersung Twilight player Jackson Rathbone. Wait, what? "It's seriously that shallow of a post. I can't defend it." Hee.
Oscar buzz Cinema Blend Winter's Bone collected two more trophies at the Torino Fest. It's all about the little wins.
New York Mag Speaking of that Ozarks drama. It tops David Edelstein's top ten for the year though »
- NATHANIEL R
<p><a href="http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/~a/wDOXQ-jM468lEYPw9-fpK8Jka74/0/da"><img src="http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/~a/wDOXQ-jM468lEYPw9-fpK8Jka74/0/di" border="0" ismap="true"></img></a><br/> <a href="http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/~a/wDOXQ-jM468lEYPw9-fpK8Jka74/1/da"><img src="http://feedads.g.doubleclick.net/~a/wDOXQ-jM468lEYPw9-fpK8Jka74/1/di" border="0" ismap="true"></img></a></p><span class="mt-enclosure mt-enclosure-image" style="display: inline;"><img alt="RaroVideo.jpg" src="http://twitchfilm.com/news/RaroVideo.jpg" class="mt-image-left" style="float: left; margin: 0pt 20px 20px 0pt;" width="190" height="158" /></span> <div>Exciting news for fans of international cult film with word that Italy's RaroVideo - one of the finest boutique video labels in the world - is coming to the Us. I have a handful of Raro titles in my collection at the moment and their reputation for delivering the highest quality product, both in terms of transfers and extras, is very well deserved in my opinion. Here's the official announcement:<br /><br /><blockquote><blockquote><blockquote><i>Hailed by cinephiles for expertly restoring rare films by influential filmmakers and publishing them with compelling extras, Italian DVD label RaroVideo announces the company will begin distributing its acclaimed DVDs in the U.S. for the first time ever in February 2011 through E One Entertainment.</i><br /><br /><i>To launch RaroVideo in the U.S., the company will spotlight two powerhouse directors of Italian cinema with Federico Fellini's hard-to-find The Clowns (1970) and The Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection, a four-disc set that »
Family dysfunction among the rich and incestuous is at the heart of Gods (Dioses), a dark new comic drama from Peru. Writer/director Josue Mendez’ exploration of the debauchery, desire, and social climbing of the Peruvian privileged class calls to mind the melodramatic films of Pedro Almodovar. Gods is an engrossing film with fine performances from a most attractive cast and is highly recommended.
Gods begins with sexy teen Andrea (Anahi de Cardenas), dancing to techno music with several men while her shaggy-haired slightly younger brother Diego (Sergio Gjurinovic) watches angrily from the sidelines, ultimately berating her first chance he gets. This unhealthy sibling relationship (made a bit more obvious in a later scene where Diego masturbates over her passed out body) is at the center of Gods, which focuses a family in Peru rounded out by the teen’s wealthy father Augustin (Edgar Saba) and his live-in ‘trophy wife »
- Tom Stockman
Spanish film-maker best known for his satire Bienvenido, Mister Marshall!
During the Franco years, the survival of independent cinema in Spain was thanks to the "Three Bs" — Luis Buñuel, Juan Antonio Bardem and Luis García Berlanga. The last of these irreverent, original film-makers, who has died aged 89, Berlanga was pivotal in reviving the Spanish film industry after the end of the civil war, despite his many tussles with Franco's censors.
In 1953 he established himself with ¡Bienvenido, Mister Marshall! (Welcome, Mr Marshall!), a masterful comedy about the hopes of Spanish villagers that the Marshall Plan will make them rich. In 1961 Plácido, a satire about a poor man invited to dinner in a wealthy household on Christmas Eve, was nominated for the Oscar for best foreign-language film. But his caustic brand of comedy probably reached its apogee in 1963's El Verdugo (The Executioner) about a young man desperate to get a job »
Javier Bardem joined his pregnant wife Penelope Cruz for a casual lunch in London this week. Javier hugged her close and the two were rarely not in physical contact during the sweet Pda-filled date. They have been taking care of business in the UK, where we've gotten to see her baby bump in many black ensembles. Javier also popped up in Spain on Wednesday, where he submitted a document signed by 230,000 Spanish citizens asking their Prime Minister to help the continuing conflict in the Western Sahara. Among the thousands of signatures collected were those of Javier, Penelope, and their close friend, director Pedro Almodóvar. Javier's work with another director, Alejandro Gonzalez, in their emotional drama, Biutiful, is already garnering Oscar attention, though he may be occupied with his new dad responsibilities when award season rolls around. View 15 Photos › To see more of Javier and Penelope's affection, just read more. View »
- Katie Henry
Lincoln Center Theatre, New York
"The world is a perfect place, except for one thing – men abandon and cheat on women": this is the world view of Pedro Almodovar. Well, so claimed Bartlett Sher, director of the Broadway musical adaptation of Almodovar's brilliant 1988 film, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, which opens next week.
That Almodovar himself has been involved has added to the load on the heavily padded shoulders of this largely female cast. But Sher's somewhat simplistic take on the Almodovarian mentality was not the only sign that it would not live up to fans' expectations. Preview performances have been pushed back twice, and opening and closing songs are still being juggled, suggesting it's not only the women having the nervous breakdown but the cast and crew.
The story – the play sticks to the film's plot almost scene-by-scene – focuses on Pepa, who has just »
- Hadley Freeman
Banderas’ production company Green Moon will fund the project, with filming expected to commence next year for a 2012 release.
Banderas is currently shooting Pedro Almodovar’s new film The Skin I Live In. »
- Jamie Neish
We know that Antonio Banderas is a very busy these days.
biopic and he will voiced Puss in Boots again.
But his next film also is is a psychological thriller Solo and he will not be just the star of the movie, he will also direct it.
According to Variety, Solo is “a psychological thriller with sci-fi touches turning on a Spanish colonel suffering post-conflict trauma.”
Banderas will play the colonel and direct from an orginal screenplay by Erik Jendresen.
Banderas’ third film as a director will »
Throughout the year we've heard about quite a few different projects for Antonio Banderas. In addition to appearing in You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger from Woody Allen, he also still has Steven Soderbergh's Haywire (formerly known as Knockout), Jean Jacques-Annaud's Black Gold, Pedro Almodovar's The Skin I Live In and a biopic of Boabdil, the last Muslim ruler of Granada, Spain. Now Variety reports Banderas will next direct and star in Solo, a psychological thriller with a touch of science fiction. The story focuses on a Spanish colonel suffering post-traumatic stress disorder but it's not clear where the sci-fi comes into play. The original screenplay comes from writer Erik Jendresen who previously wrote The Big Bang for Banderas as well as Goleor: The Scales and the Sword, an animated film for the actor's Spanish animation studio Kandor Moon. I wouldn't expect the sci-fi portions of »
- Ethan Anderton
Antonio Banderas is a busy man these days. Currently, the Desperado star has five projects in various forms of production including Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin That I Inhabit due next year. Variety is now reporting that Banderas has also committed to the psychological thriller Solo, which the star will direct as well. This will mark Banderas’ third-outing as a director, having helmed 1999’s Crazy in Alabama and the 2006 film Summer Rain.
Written by Erik Jendresen, who penned the currently-in-development The Big Bang, also starring Banderas, Solo is said to be a sci-fi thriller about a colonel suffering from post-conflict trauma. Banderas is set to star as the colonel in the film, which is slated to shoot next year for a 2012 release. Solo will be produced by Banderas’ Green Moon label. »
- Jeff Ames
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