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NY String Orchestra 2nd concert review

New York String OrchestraThe second of the two recent New York String Orchestra concerts at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Jaime Laredo -- this one took place on December 28th, 2010 -- was much more impressive than the agreeable first program.

The highlight of the evening for me was the all-too-rarely performed, arresting Samuel Barber Capricorn Concerto for Flute, Oboe, Trumpet, and Strings. Played with a full command of the glittering range of tone of this engaging work, the orchestra was superbly matched by an accomplished trio of soloists: Tara Helen O'Connor on flute, Ariana Ghez on oboe, and David Washburn on trumpet.

The ensemble did fine work with the more ambitious concerto that followed -- the Romantic, tuneful Brahms Double Concerto for Violin and Cello --here accompanying soloists Daniel Hope and Paul Watkins, respectively.

That extraordinary masterpiece, the Beethoven Eroica Symphony, closed the evening -- Laredo led the players in an estimable reading of this titanic but also very familiar work, managing by the program's end to fully redeem the promise of the previous week's concert.

New York String Orchestra Concert
December 28, 2010
Carnegie Hall
881 7th Ave.
New York, NY 10019

on Inside Job

Inside JobInside Job, directed by Charles Ferguson, is another clever, engaging, and entertaining documentary of no especial aesthetic merit but is a well-crafted account of the recent financial crisis.

Much of the film is devoted to exposition and it thus eschews the gonzo mode of Michael Moore even as it features several confrontational interviews where the subjects are greatly embarrassed by the questions posed to them.

The film is especially noteworthy in at least two respects. First, Ferguson devotes several minutes to revealing the intellectual and ethical bankruptcy of academic economics. Second, the film doesn't shrink from exposing the collusion of the Democratic Clinton and -- especially and remarkably -- the Obama Administrations with the moneyed interests that precipitated the crisis.

The main weakness here is the final, naive exhortation for government reform, where everything preceding this in the film suggests that such a possibility is purely utopian.

Kevin's January 2011 - Digital Week III

Blu-rays of the Week
Jack Goes Boating

(Anchor Bay)
For his directorial debut, Philip Seymour Hoffman helmed this adaptation of Bob Glaudini’s play (which Hoffman starred in off-Broadway) about a loner who finds a soul mate amid the noisy clutter of New York. Hoffman directs sensitively, and his and Amy Ryan’s portrayals are first-rate; John Ortiz and Daphne Rubin-Vega (who both acted with Hoffmann in the play) are less impressive in the showier roles of Jack‘s closest friends.

The low-key romantic character study gets a good-looking, clean Blu-ray transfer; extras include deleted scenes and two on-set featurettes.

Read more: Kevin's January 2011 - Digital...

Cinefantastique Spotlight: THE GREEN HORNET

A Race to Top Billing: Seth Rogen (right) and Jay Chou defy death in THE GREEN HORNET.It’s all change, baby, and with that in mind we’re experimenting with the format of the podcast. We’ve stripped away the news and theatrical and homevid release segments, combining them with our weekly Post-Mortem bull session to form what will be called the Cinefantastique Round Table Podcast. What’s left, now dubbed the Cinefantastique Spotlight Podcast, will provide us with time to stretch out, unhinge our brains and mouths, and let the conversation about the week’s top release take us where it will.

Read more: Cinefantastique Spotlight: THE...

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