The wanting and/or keeping of political power is a story that is as old as human history. William Shakespeare‘s tragedy Macbeth has been told countless times over the centuries.
The latest adaptation of this play can be seen at the Classic Stage Company in New York City. Stepping into the shoes of the power hungry general Macbeth and his equally power hungry wife Lady Macbeth are IRL married couple Corey Stoll and Nadia Bowers. As they claw their way up the ladder of power, they leave a train of bloodshed, madness, murder and destruction in their wake.
This plays brilliant and timeless. As the lead couple, Stoll and Bowers are enthralling. It’s almost like passing by a car accident on the highway. As much as you want to look away, it is impossible not to. In addition to the magnetic lead actors, I very much appreciated the non traditional casting of female performers in roles that are traditionally played by men.
I recommend it.
Macbethis playing at the Classic Stage Company at 136 East 13th Street in New York City until December 15th. Check the website for showtimes and tickets.
2017 is nearly up. Surprisingly, it was a good year for the movies. Below, without further a due, is my top ten list of movies that premiered in 2017.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The next chapter in the ongoing saga of the rebellion against the empire was nothing short of perfection.
The Post: The story of the revelation of The Pentagon Papers is as relevant today as it was in 1971.
Beauty And The Beast/The Shape Of Water: Both the live action adaptation of the 1991 animated Beauty And The Beast and The Shape Of Water proves once more that love wins over hate and only through tolerance and respect of others, can we create the world we wish to have.
Darkest Hour: Gary Oldman is sure to win multiple awards playing Winston Churchill, who must decide to negotiate with Germany or go to war.
Lady Macbeth: In 19th century England, a young lady is forced into marriage and has an affair with one of the estate workers.
Lady Bird: A gripping and realistic coming of age story set in Sacramento in the early 2000’s.
Thor: Ragnarok: When Thor’s previously unknown sister Hela returns to Asgard, he must save his land and his people from his sister.
Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman finally receives a proper film adaptation. Starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins, this film, well is, a wonder.
The Lovers: Tracey Letts and Debra Winger play a married couple who are openly seeing other people, but somehow find the spark has returned to their marriage.
Battle Of The Sexes: The true story of the tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King is as much a story about tennis as it is about feminism.
The Big Sick: This unconventional romantic comedy hit both the comedy gut and the heart.
The Women’s Balcony: When a new Rabbi takes over an Orthodox temple in Jerusalem, the women stage a coup to get their husbands and their temple back.
Directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, this feminist blockbuster finally broke through the boys club solo movie superhero franchise. After watching her superhero brothers in arms have multiple movie franchises of their own, Wonder Woman finally began to tell her own story. It was the perfect combination of light and dark, growing up and classic bad-ass superhero. All in all, I say it was a good movie.
Based on the real life romance of Kumail Nanjiani and his real life wife, Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan play out the ups and down of their courtship, including Emily’s extended hospital stay. Also starring Ray Romano and Holly Hunter as Emily’s parents, this film takes the standard romantic comedy and flips it on its head.
A young woman is married off to a much older man who is need of a wife and an heir. Living in an isolated English country house, she has an affair with one of the servants. The film has the bone chilling psychology of a feminist Hitchcock thriller combined with the imagery and narrative of a Wuthering Heights adaptation. Starring Florence Pugh, the film is a completely new spin on the traditional BPD (British Period Drama) that goes where few stories in the genre would dare to go.
After the collapse of the women’s section in an Orthodox synagogue in Jerusalem, the men turn to a new Rabbi. The problem is that the new Rabbi has very different ideas than what has been done before. The women are not pleased and take things into their own hands. Despite being set in a very specific community, the film is universal in its message about the consequences of pissing women off.
Set in the ultra-Orthodox community of Borough Park Brooklyn, Menashe (Menashe Lustig) is a widower who has lost custody of his son to his in-laws. He has been told that he can only take his son back when he re-marries, but he is not inclined to re-marry and is trying to prove that he can be a good father without re-marrying. A story of of faith and fatherhood, this film speaks to all of us, regardless about the trials of being a parent and observing the rules we live with.
Desperate times often calls for desperate measures. The questions are, what are we willing to give up in the process and how does that process change us?
In the new movie, Lady Macbeth (which has no connection to William Shakespeare character other than the title of the film), Katherine (Florence Pugh) is a young woman sold in the name of marriage to an older man. Forbidden from doing much of anything, Katherine is left alone with only her servants for company while her husband and father in law go out into the world. She starts sleeping with Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis), one of her husband’s groomsman. The affair quickly becomes an affair of the heart. But things get messy when her husband and father in law return home. Katherine and Sebastian try to clean up the mess they have created. But the more they try to clean it up, the messier it becomes.
The best way to describe this film is that it is a hybrid of the psychology of an Alfred Hitchcock film with the imagery and narrative of a Wuthering Heights adaptation. It also speaks truth to power about what a woman will do when she has no direct power and must use other means to get what she wants. The three things that stand out for me are a) the diverse cast b) the lack of music and how background sounds play a role in telling the story and c) how I felt as an audience member when the film was done. I disliked Katherine for her actions, but in understanding her motivation, it made for a very well done film.