Interview: Playwright Bess Wohl and Director Rachel Chavkin Talk Small Mouth Sounds

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Interview: Playwright Bess Wohl and Director Rachel Chavkin Talk Small Mouth Sounds

Ben Arons

Interview: Playwright Bess Wohl and Director Rachel Chavkin Talk Small Mouth Sounds

The silence enforced on six participants of a healing retreat proves most eloquent in Bess Wohl's Small Mouth Sounds. A small theatrical gem, where minimal dialogue is enhanced with acutely observed and honestly portrayed human behavior, the play made an acclaimed debuted at off-Broadway's Ars Nova last year. Directed by Rachel Chavkin, the production, staged alley-style in an intimate setting, has made a welcome return and is now playing for a limited three-month commercial run at the Pershing Square Signature Theater. I talked recently with Wohl and Chavkin about their collaboration on this unusual and compelling theater project.

Jerusalem Film Festival 2016 Julieta, Our Father, Certain Women, Death in Sarajevo, Harmonia, & More

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Jerusalem Film Festival 2016: Julieta, Our Father, Certain Women, Death in Sarajevo, Harmonia, & More

Inosan Productions

Jerusalem Film Festival 2016: Julieta, Our Father, Certain Women, Death in Sarajevo, Harmonia, & More

“Sababa!” Thus did Quentin Tarantino, in the only Hebrew slang every tourist learns, anoint his lifetime achievement award with the most appropriate endearment of the Tarantino ethos: “Cool!” Hoisting aloft a trophy that, from the evening distance, resembled a universal remote control made of coffee-colored glass, there could be no question that the Django Unchained auteur was the photographic and celebrity main attraction of the 33rd Jerusalem Film Festival's opening night. After a brisk acceptance speech punctuated by a nod to the recently departed Michael Cimino, who was absent from the evening's montage dedicated to recently departed notables from the world of film, he resumed his front row seat; a glut of photographers pursued him as iron filings collect around a magnet. Despite his predilection for speaking his mind, and the ongoing unrest in the United States, Tarantino put on his best diplomatic face and kept his opinions to himself.

Summer of ‘91 Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break

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Summer of ’91: Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break

20th Century Fox

Summer of ’91: Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break

In the summer of 1991, the received wisdom on Kathryn Bigelow—especially in the wake of Point Break—was that she was a rising star, making a mark on Hollywood where other women directors had not, by applying her talent to traditional action genres. Here was a woman who made men’s films, not women’s, and was rewarded for it by both critics and the box office.

Those turned out to be half-truths. Today, anyone who’s been paying attention can see that in adopting the male gaze, and in making two films in which women barely mattered and one in which they barely appeared, Bigelow wasn’t selling out, but was illuminating more about women than a dozen “women’s movies” ever could. It wasn’t about making it in a man’s world; it was about confronting and puncturing the eternally adolescent self-importance of “men’s work”—sabotaging not only the buddy action movie, but the whole testosterone-soaked world of moviemaking both on screen and off.

M83-Scored Trailer for A Monster Calls Summons Another BFG

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M83-Scored Trailer for A Monster Calls Summons Another BFG

Focus Features

M83-Scored Trailer for A Monster Calls Summons Another BFG

In April, it was announced that Juan Antonio Bayona, director of The Orphanage and The Impossible, would be at the helm of Jurassic World 2. Say what you will about the filmmaker, he has a gift for summoning spectacle, as evidenced throughout the new trailer for his upcoming A Monster Calls. Based on the children’s fantasy novel of the same name by Patrick Ness, the film tells the story of 12-year-old Conor (Lewis MacDougall), who copes with the travails of his coming of age, from his mother’s (Felicity Jones) illness to bullying classmates, through his friendship with a tree-like monster that appears at his bedroom window. Given the subject matter, and the impression left by the trailer, aptly scored to the navel-gazing synth grooves of M83’s “Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun,” comparisons to Steven Spielberg’s The BFG and Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are will be inevitable.

New Trailer for Loving Depicts Struggle to Legalize Interracial Marriage

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New Trailer for Loving Depicts Struggle to Legalize Interracial Marriage

Focus Features

New Trailer for Loving Depicts Struggle to Legalize Interracial Marriage

Four years ago, The Loving Story shed light on a part of the civil rights movement that often gets overlooked. It painted a candid portrait of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple from the South whose marriage in 1958 became the catalyst for the landmark civil rights case Loving v. Virginia. Now it's the subject of Jeff Nichols's new film, Loving, which premiered two months ago at the Cannes Film Festival. The film, which celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of the Lovings, stars Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga. From Cannes, Sam C. Mac praised the film's performances: “Both performances believably progress us through years of a marriage, and if the film never really allows any serious tension between Richard and Negga, the actors stake out scenes to show how their characters' differences in opinion could have caused some distance between them over a long period of time.”

Watch a Recap of Season One of Mr. Robot

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Watch a Recap of Season One of Mr. Robot
Watch a Recap of Season One of Mr. Robot

The inaugural season of USA Network's ferocious hacking drama Mr. Robot hit like a revelation, with imagery and angles that came to symbolize the disjointed reality through which computer genius Elliot (Golden Globe and SAG Award nominee Rami Malek) lives, increasingly unable to distinguish the roiling war for the freedom of information and intellect from the contentious personalities inside his own head. Hacking proves to be the perfect symbol for the psychological subversion that Elliot, along with his friends, family, and even enemies, cannot help but indulge: a perfectly attuned system infiltrated by sudden, substantial reminders that power isn't absolute or centralized, and no one has full control of illusion or reality.

Summer of ’91 James Cameron’s Terminator 2

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Summer of ’91: James Cameron’s 	Terminator 2: Judgment Day

TriStar Pictures

Summer of ’91: James Cameron’s 	Terminator 2: Judgment Day

James Cameron has built his reputation on being a director who shows audiences something they've never seen before, and won't see delivered with the same artistry and confidence ever again. Twenty-five years after its release, Terminator 2: Judgment Day is still a prime example of that audacity, as both spectacle and a downcast meditation on humanity's future.

The original Terminator is, itself, a curveball of a film, using hardcore apocalyptic sci-fi as the framework for what is, essentially, a low-budget horror film about two kids running from an emotionless killer. But even compared to wrapping a story about men versus machines around a story not far removed from an average Friday the 13th entry, T2's opening act plays Boggle with the status quo in ways that may never fly again in high-budget sequel cinema—a lesson Hollywood learned fast just a short year later when Batman Returns and Alien 3 were released. Brave but gentle Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) is now a dead-eyed, doomsaying survivalist, locked in a sterile psychiatric hospital after attempting a terrorist attack on a computer factory. Her son, John (Edward Furlong), the heralded savior of the future yet to come, is the archetypical suburban white-kid rebel in a hip-hop shirt who listens to Guns N' Roses while playing video games at the mall.

Fergie Drops New Single & Music Video for “M.I.L.F. $”

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Fergie Drops New Single & Music Video for “M.I.L.F. $”
Fergie Drops New Single & Music Video for “M.I.L.F. $”

Fergie was a pop fixture a decade ago, but like Gwen Stefani, she abandoned her solo perch to reunite with her band and start a family. And both artists have attempted to make comebacks only to find the music landscape has changed dramatically. After a couple of false starts, Stefani shifted gears and released the über-personal This Is What the Truth Feels Like. The Black Eyed Peas singer, on the other hand, seems to be doubling down on the mid-aughts crossover urban sound of last year’s “L.A. Love (La La).”

Game of Thrones Recap Season 6, Episode 10, "The Winds of Winter"

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Game of Thrones Recap: Season 6, Episode 10, "The Winds of Winter"

HBO

Game of Thrones Recap: Season 6, Episode 10, "The Winds of Winter"

The first three minutes of this week's season finale of Game of Thrones set a somber mood—and with not a single word uttered, just the ominous tolling of a bell. That's because words are somewhat beside the point. The trial of Cersei (Lena Headey) and Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones) has begun, and if one believes the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce), everything about this moment has been predestined. And so director Miguel Sapochnik wisely echoes that sense of fate, orchestrating every shot to the gradual crescendo of a classical choir, and providing hawkeyed viewers with an abundance of foreshadowing.

Rihanna Premieres Heavy-Handed “Sledgehammer” Music Video from Star Trek Beyond

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Rihanna Premieres Heavy-Handed “Sledgehammer” Music Video from Star Trek Beyond
Rihanna Premieres Heavy-Handed “Sledgehammer” Music Video from Star Trek Beyond

After making its premiere in IMAX Cinemas across the country, the music video for Rihanna's new single, “Sledgehammer,” debuted on Tidal and YouTube this morning. The song, an over-produced power ballad lifted from the Star Trek Beyond soundtrack, finds the singer successfully aping the vocal style of Sia, who co-wrote the track. The pair previously collaborated on Rihanna's hit “Diamonds,” a far more effective blending of the two stars' signature sounds.