Stephanie Roth Haberle

Stephanie Roth Haberle

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Opening night after party for 'Titus Andronicus' at the Public Theater

Jay O Sanders and Stephanie Roth Haberle - Jay O. Sanders, Stephanie Roth Haberle and Ron Cephas Jones New York City, USA - Opening night after party for 'Titus Andronicus' at the Public Theater Tuesday 13th December 2011

Opening night after party for 'Titus Andronicus' at the Public Theater

Stephanie Roth Haberle - Stephanie Roth Haberle and Ron Cephas Jones New York City, USA - Opening night after party for 'Titus Andronicus' at the Public Theater Tuesday 13th December 2011

Melinda and Melinda Review


Weak
Woody Allen's deliberately uneven Melinda and Melinda begins with a restaurant dinner conversation between two writers whose topic is near and dear to the director's heart - what's the essence of life: comedy or tragedy? For a filmmaker whose comedies have always been, to varying degrees, laced with frustration and anguish, and whose dramas are often cast in the Ingmar Bergman school of oppressive austerity, it's no surprise to find Allen ruminating on the indistinct line between the funny and the sad. The filmmaker's latest tackles this symbiotic relationship by bifurcating his narrative - the turbulent tale of Melinda (Radha Mitchell), a woman who comes between an unhappily married couple, is presented in "comedic" and "tragic" versions that share many peripheral details but exhibit a decidedly different tone. What's missing, unfortunately, are both laughs and tears.

Allen recounts both sides of his story concurrently, flip-flopping back and forth between his serious and lighthearted editions in order to highlight how the same basic plot outline can be molded for divergent purposes. In the film's solemn segment, Melinda is a neurotic, chain-smoking warning label against adultery, having lost her husband, custody of her children, and fragile hold on sanity because of a fling with a dashing Italian. Arriving on the Manhattan doorstep of her friends Lee (Jonny Lee Miller) and Laurel (Chloƫ Sevigny) during a get-together between friends and business associates, Melinda is a high-strung, near-anorexic mess, and her appearance eventually leads not only to a doomed romance with a dashing pianist and aspiring composer (Chiwetel Ejiofor, radiating intellectual charm), but also to the infidelity-incited end of struggling actor Lee and shopaholic Laurel's supposedly perfect marriage.

Continue reading: Melinda and Melinda Review

Melinda & Melinda Review


OK
Woody Allen hit upon a plucky, imaginative concept for "Melinda andMelinda": The same story, of a woman at loose ends, imagined as bothcomedy and tragedy by two playwrights (Wallace Shawn and Larry Pine) arguingin a Manhattan cafe whether life is inherently funny or inherently sad.

While these bookend scenes are uncharacteristically clunkyand deliberate, full of exposition designed to set the fictional stage,the two parallel stories are pure Woody Allen at his ironic, neurotic,romantic, poignant and peculiar best -- and they're deftly woven togetherto compliment and play off each other.

The underappreciated Radha Mitchell (she played wives in"FindingNeverland," "PhoneBooth" and "Manon Fire") may now get the recognition shedeserves with her remarkable performances in the dual title role as a flighty,suicidal beauty who arrives in each story by crashing a dinner party.

One Melinda is a new downstairs neighbor who knocks onthe Upper East Side door of wannabe filmmaker Amanda Peet (who flirts withrich men hoping they'll fund her independent movie "The CastrationSonata") and her husband, neurotic out-of-work actor Will Ferrell(the picture's requisite Woody surrogate, although with unpredicted nuanceFerrell makes the role his own). Pratfalling into the dining room, Melindaannounces she's just taken two dozen sleeping pills. The comical chaosthat ensues leads to friendships, infidelities and unrequited love, allorbiting around Melinda -- although she's largely unaware of the upheavalshe's wrought.

Continue reading: Melinda & Melinda Review

Songcatcher Review


Weak

Wonderfully chameleonic actress Janet McTeer ("The King Is Alive," "Tumbleweeds") gives another of her distinctive and deeply immersed performances in "Songcatcher" as a priggish 1900s music scholar.

A terse, obstinate, overeducated woman who is deeply resentful at having been passed up for a promotion to full professor at her university (in favor of a man), she abandons civilization for a spell to visit her sister (Jane Adams), a teacher at a very remote one-room school in the Appalachian Mountains.

McTeer's intense and austere performance serves the story well as her character makes the discovery of her professional life while reluctantly roughing it with the rustic locals: The isolated society of struggling mountain people has preserved, intact, for hundreds of years the Scots-Irish folk songs carried to the New World by their ancestors.

Continue reading: Songcatcher Review

Stephanie Roth Haberle

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