Emile Hirsch and Christina Ricci in Speed RacerSPEED RACER

In future years, when I'm wondering exactly when it was that I turned into a very old man, I'm hoping I'll remember the date of May 9, 2008, when I fell asleep some 45 minutes into the onslaught of candy-colored incoherence called Speed Racer. And when, after returning to consciousness a minute or so later, I made it through another couple of scenes before falling asleep again.

Tom Wopat So, how are you doing today?

"Eh ... I'm okay," replies Tom Wopat, calling from Manhattan. "I just got a parking ticket. Sixty-five bucks."

And hardly a deserved parking ticket. "I parked in a school zone but there's no school there anymore," Wopat says. "They don't know that, you know?"

He laughs. "But that's okay. It's like I told my girlfriend: It's New York City. That's just how it works."

(Warning: Specific details of - and potential surprises in - Oleanna may slip through. Proceed with caution.)

 

Jamie Em Jonson and Chris Browne in It's always heartening to see theatre directors making strong choices, and this is true even when those choices appear to be spectacularly misguided. Such is the case with My Verona Productions' presentation of David Mamet's Oleanna. I didn't necessarily agree with several of Tristan Layne Tapscott's directorial decisions, but I happily recognize that at least decisions were made; in its current incarnation, this 1992 play that has been acclaimed (and, in some circles, reviled) for its refusal to choose sides most definitely does choose a side. Yet what does that decision do for the work as a whole?

How wonderful and humbling the last eight months have been.

To understand the nature of My Verona Productions' new stage comedy Dingo Boogaloo 2: Taco's Revenge - indeed, to gain insight into My Verona's co-founders, Sean Leary and Tristan Layne Tapscott - one may as well begin with Chickenzilla.

From first scene to last, New Ground Theatre's production of Boston Marriage is an almost total misreading of David Mamet's 1999 work. As usual, New Ground's decision to tackle offbeat and challenging material is commendable, but its latest offering is so wrong-headed in execution that it makes you understand why audiences often shy away from the offbeat and challenging.

Johnny Depp in Secret WindowSECRET WINDOW

Even though the movie isn't all that good, Secret Window is one of those thrillers that you want to watch again immediately after your first viewing. But unlike, say, The Sixth Sense or Fight Club, where you're curious to see exactly how The Twist was pulled off, your desire to return to this Stephen King adaptation is based solely on one thing: the performance of Johnny Depp.

Most people hated the Interstate 74 bridge construction, but theatre actress and director Melissa McBain loved it. Being stuck on the bridge gave her an opportunity to chat regularly with journalist and author Stephen G. Bloom about Shoedog, the play he co-wrote. The piece will get its world premiere this weekend with three performances at Quad City Arts, with McBain directing.

I don't like to start reviews with questions, but New Ground Theatre's current production of Lobby Hero raises some interesting ones. (1) Is a hero someone who, when faced with a moral dilemma, reveals deep dark secrets that will get a friend in big trouble? 2) Does sliding indifferently through life without ever changing viewpoints, challenging ideas, or standing up for personal rights gain someone hero status? The answer to both, obviously, is no. A hero is defined by my dictionary as "a man of great courage, nobility, etc. or one admired for his exploits." So what was playwright Kenneth Lonergan thinking when he used a lazy, noncommittal lobby security guard as a protagonist of his play Lobby Hero?

John Hawkes, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, and John Cusack in IdentityIDENTITY and CONFIDENCE

By some bizarre coincidence, this past weekend saw the arrival of two new films, Identity and Confidence, that share an almost frightening number of similarities.

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