Don’t tune out the music behind the movement
In Laura Bleiberg’s article about costumes for ABT’s revival of Harlequinade [“Like Works of Art to Move in,” Jan. 13], we learned all about the costumes, all about Marius Petipa’s original choreography as reconstructed by Robert Perdiziola, all about ABT, but the poor slob who wrote the music is not mentioned. What’s with that? Why is ballet so conspicuously uninterested in the music that gives dance its raison d’etre?
The full story should be told
I so appreciated Laura Bleiberg’s well-crafted review [“Like Resplendent Poetry in Motion,” Jan. 12] of the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s recent performance at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and for the real estate the Calendar section gave to it.
Yet I was dismayed in reading of the storied Windy City dance company’s historical background — namely that Claire Bataille, founding member and former director of the Lou Conte Dance Studio, was conspicuously omitted from being credited as a vital force in its creation and legacy, especially as Claire passed away only a mere few weeks ago. Lou Conte himself was quite effusive in his appreciation of Claire and was quoted in her obituary as saying, “It’s very probable there would not be a Hubbard Street Dance Chicago had it not been for Claire Bataille.” He is not alone in that assessment.
Why so down on ‘The Upside’?
I rarely react to reviews of movies. But film critic Justin Chang’s mean-spirited critique of “The Upside” [“Really, There Is No ‘Upside’,” Jan. 11] with Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart and Nicole Kidman, has moved me to react. While “Upside” will not win any Academy Awards, it was entertaining and, although a bit uneven, funny. All three actors do an excellent job in what was, simply, a comedy. Too bad Mr. Chang was too busy hating to appreciate that fact.
‘Green Book’ is the real deal
Glenn Whipp’s article about the movie “Green Book” [“Rocky Journey,” Jan. 11] does a great disservice to a wonderful film. It accentuates the negatives behind the scenes that are pure Hollywood gossip. The script, the clothes, cars, buildings and the people represent very closely to how I grew up in an Italian neighborhood. The acting is superb. It’s nice to see genuine acting by Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. The best review was the huge ovation the audience gave at the end of the movie I attended. And I can bet you there were few Italian New Yorkers in the audience.
I have not met a person yet who has seen “Green Book” that doesn’t agree it is Oscar-worthy in many categories, including best movie. It manages to expose the evils of American structural racism and segregation in an entertaining cinematic experience. Yet in the most self-defeating example of phony controversy and political correctness, some in Hollywood have turned against it.
Rhapsodizing over the Globes
Chiming in on The Times’ Golden Globes coverage [“Opening Doors,” Jan 7]. I thought “Bohemian Rhapsody” was wonderful and absolutely deserving of best picture. Also deserving were Rami Malek and Glenn Close. I like the Golden Globes because they are not part of the Hollywood good-old-boys club. They are independent, they vote their minds and are not impressed with films that no one will understand or even see. I also agree about “Roma.” Absolute torture to watch.
Do you realize that you printed the same Sandra Oh quote four times in Monday’s Calendar section? Was there nobody else at the awards, including winners, who had anything interesting, poignant, or important to say?
Axel W. Kyster
Superhero vigor isn’t real acting
Sonaiya Kelley’s gushing over Brie Larson’ role in “Captain Marvel” was close to laughable [“Building ‘Captain Marvel’,” Jan. 13]. Larson is playing a comic book hero, not Lady Macbeth or Anne Frank. We get it. The role required that she work herself into decent shape. But the article noted that she had not one but two stunt doubles to assist her.We cringe at the thought of Laurence Olivier talking about all the push-ups he had to do in order to play the role Joe Palooka.
Weighing in on no-host Oscars
Regarding Josh Rottenberg’s analysis “Setting the Bar for a No-host Oscars” [Jan. 12]: A no-host Oscars? Driver-less cars? What’s next, an executive branch without a president?
I have a great idea. Maybe the Academy and the producers of the Oscars could get “The Avengers” to host, all of them. It could be hilarious and attract the 21 to 35 audience everyone so desperately craves these days. “The Avengers” are adept at saving the day from possible disaster.
Editors note: While there has been speculation that members of “The Avengers” could participate in hosting duties at this year’s Oscars ceremony, at presstime this idea was nothing more than a rumor.
I worked as Allan Carr’s assistant on the infamous Snow White/Rob Lowe Oscar show he produced. I have to say that if (and only if) you arrived late and missed the opening number, it was a wonderful “no host” Oscar show. But if you did watch the opening number, your stomach may have curdled with Rob Lowe and Snow White singing “Proud Mary” and some horrible, god-awful moments with Snow White in the audience.
The Academy should offer the hosting spot to Robert Mueller. Everyone would tune in and he could tease with “Stay tuned for an important announcement, and I’ll also tell you who won best picture.”
Cut some slack for indie budgets
In Noel Murray’s review of the animated film “Tall Tales” [“‘Tall Tales’ Comes Up Short,” Jan. 11] he comments on the “pedestrian visuals.” It seems that every week, the reviewers forget that not every film has a $100 million budget or even $15 million. In the independent film section, some are working with $500,000. I’m not sure how this can be taken into consideration in the reviews, but a lot of these little independent films are doing the best they can with what they were given.
There are better role models
As an African American man who has overcome bigotry to succeed in life, I was appalled that you gave nearly three pages of print to the rapper Rubberband OG [“Rough Rhymes,” Jan. 6], who admits he couldn’t hold a job, smokes weed, has fathered four children by four different women and writes “songs” about the victimhood he finds himself in.
He is the stereotype of the black man who is a loser and wants to blame society for the bad choices he has made in his life. I am sure The Times could find other black men (Tyler Perry, Steve Harvey, Barack Obama, for example) who have overcome obstacles and found success in their lives.
No mention of Trump ads?
Thanks for your reporting on the President’s Oval Office address [“New Script but the Same Old Lines,” Jan. 9]. I agreed with most of your reporting, but you left out what I consider to be an extremely crass, tacky, and slap-in-the-face of decent behavior for this president’s use of his office.
As Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC reported, blatant political [fundraising] emails bookended the president’s address. I’ve never seen such a callous use of the Oval Office backdrop for crude political fundraising, and I’m surprised that it hasn’t received more attention.
Underwhelmed with ‘Roma’
[Regarding “Feedback,” Jan. 13] I would like to second a reader’s view of Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” which I consider one of the most massively overpraised films of recent years. As I was watching this account of one woman’s unwanted pregnancy and another’s abandonment by an adulterous husband, I realized I’d seen this before and done much better. And it was done almost sixty years ago by another director, the underrated Delmer Daves. After a long career of helming rugged fare such as “Destination Tokyo,” “Task Force” and “3:10 to Yuma” in the ’40s and ’50s, he turned in the early ’60s to what were then termed “soap operas” with “A Summer Place,” “Parrish” and “Susan Slade.” These were beautifully crafted dramas, also written by Daves, that revolved around the same subject matter as “Roma.” I know Hollywood is a town of notoriously short memories, but the critics heaping superlatives on Cuaron would do well to remember the unheralded artistry of Daves.
In defense of Billy Joel
Did Randall Roberts seriously call Billy Joel’s “Just The Way You Are” “treacly” in an otherwise well-written article [“Slips and Slaps,” Dec. 18] that also mentions Lionel Richie, Anne Murray, and worst of all, Celine Dion’s diabetes-inducing “My Heart Will Go On”?
Don’t go changin’, Billy. No matter what Randall Roberts thinks.
Axel W. Kyster