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Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio
The 1979 Iranian hostage crisis is one of the best known of our time. Thirty years later Antonio Mendez is free to tell the world what happened as he, the CIA, and Hollywood engineered the best worst escape plan – and pulled it off. A book like this could be full of CIA jargon that drags and bores, but the writing proceeds at a fair clip even with the exposition given to set the stage. Argo is a hair-raising tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
HALF OF A YELLOW SUN
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
In the late 1960s, Biafra attempted to secede and create a republic independent of Nigeria. Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun follows the hopes and heartbreaks of five people as they live through the savage chaos of war and try to make life bearable in the face of violence. Beautifully written and sparing the reader none of the moral complexities of allegiances in war, Half of a Yellow Sun will keep you turning the page for more even as your heart breaks.
Rarely does someone write a book about friendship between women that women can relate to the way they can relate to Sonneberg’s She Matters: A Life in Friendships. Perhaps because this book is the portrait of real friendships that have shaped Sonneberg’s life, there is something for every woman that mirrors her own experience with the joys and heartbreaks of friendship. Sonneberg’s writing is easy to follow and digest while it moves you through the emotional bonds of women.
TENTH OF DECEMBER
Saunders can proudly add Tenth of December to his resume of short stories collections. The plots could be cliché: A boy who must decide whether to act in the face of danger, a cancer patient, a teenage idealist who gets her first brush with cold reality, mothers trying to do the right thing – among others. But Saunders charms us with dark humor and honesty, allowing us the readers to enjoy familiarity with his characters and the originality in each story.
THE ART OF MEN
Kirstie Alley’s The Art of Men (I Prefer Mine al Dente) is a collection of memories linked by one very important feature: Men. Belying the provocative cover and title, the writing is by turns hilarious and heart wrenching. With actual photos of the men depicted in her stories, Alley takes us from her doting father in Kansas to some of the biggest names in Hollywood, through drugs and motherhood and divorce and gives us a multi-layered account of a life well lived with men.
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF DIXIE
In 1860, the South was a place of vast wealth and power gathered in the hands of a minority of whites. In his fourth book on the Civil War, Levine takes a close look at the old South and the total upending of that society. Using the words of those who lived it, The Fall of the House of Dixie takes the reader on a page-turning journey of the complete destruction of the politics, economics, and society that they were so desperate to protect.
As her character in Shameless enters another season of debauchery, former Moves PowerWoman Emmy Rossum drops an album of pure elegance. Sentimental Journey, her second full-length venture, is miles ahead of her previous record, which offered lush vocals but no direction. This album has focus and heart, eliciting a vintage feel that harkens back to an age of dingy bars, player pianos, and stiff cocktails. With covers from the Carpenters and Willie Nelson, even Rossum’s original tracks feel well-worn, helping the album go down smooth.
It’s good to see Eels frontman, Mark Oliver Everett, back in the saddle with his patented half-assed smirk and irreverent 11 o’clock beard. Everett, who had a string of far too serious albums in the early 2000s, bounces back with the aptly titled Wonderful, Glorious, a throwback to the easy lo-fi, garage band sound that made Eels such a success. This record, their tenth studio album, is sexy, fun, and gritty, a pure explosion of vintage rock. No, it’s not breaking barriers, but Wonderful, Glorious is certainly kick starting some fun.
NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS
Push the Sky Away
Love him or hate him, Nick Cave’s brand of gruff baritone gargling has earned iconic status. His original band, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, have released their 15th studio album. Push the Sky Away proves once again that Cave is brimming with creative energy, as if brief forays into novel writing, acting, and filmmaking didn’t make that clear. A more soulful take than his previous efforts, this album doesn’t show aging so much as maturing, giving listeners a nuanced and atmospheric landscape that swaps youthful volume for content.
RA RA RIOT
Indie favorites Ra Ra Riot return with Beta Love, an energetic little album jam packed with sweet beats and even sweeter melodies. The third studio album from the Syracuse band plays like something fresh out of 2006, a frivolous, carefree era right after the hipsters fled to Williamsburg but before they opened the Whole Foods. Beta Love showcases why the group stands out from the rest of the pack. Sure, they have the same synthetic beats, the same upper register vocals. They just do it better than anyone else.
Devendra Banhart is still a weird dude. Even without the scraggly beard and unruly
hair, it’s easy to see how he helped create the “freak folk” genre, an odd
collection of musicians more at home on an ashram than a recording studio. And while
Mala is his most restrained album yet, it’s also his most refined. Sure, he’s not
layering and contorting tracks but he’s
throwing down bread crumbs, leading listeners on a journey through a super trippy
landscape and making sure we don’t get lost.
LL COOL J
Authentic Hip Hop
Bust out your white eyeliner, your satin shirts, and remember to crimp that hair, girl. LL Cool J is back with a new album of slow jams that are truly authentic, if by “authentic” he means “incredibly dated.” It’s unclear whether Mr. Cool J is looking to assert himself as a relevant hip hop artist (which he is not) but what he’s done is compile a mix of vintage sounding jams, which is decidedly awesome. The album is quintessential ‘90s hip hop, perfect for school dances or love making in the back your dad’s Ford Taurus.
“OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL”
In the newest addition to the Wizard of Oz franchise, director Sam Raimi wants viewers to pay very close attention to the man behind the curtain. In this prequel to the 1930s classic, James Franco plays Oscar Diggs, a small town magician caught in a tornado and thrust into a fantasy world ruled by three feuding witches (Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, and Mila Kunis). Having to depend on wit and illusion to instill order, Oz: The Great and Powerful tells the tale of how the Wizard came to power, and creates a lush, 3D landscape that’ll leave audiences wondering “Dorothy, who?”
Finally, some heart to go along with those guts. Based on his best selling novel of the same name, director/writer Jonathan Levine leaps across genres, interweaving campy romance with zombie gore in his newest flick, Warm Bodies. Nicholas Hoult plays R, an undead zombie who finds himself falling helplessly in love with the girlfriend of a boy he’s just eaten (played by Moves profile, Teresa Palmer). Casting aside his undead ways, R navigates his newfound love through a terrifying series of zombie-laden landscapes, proving once again that love, truly, never dies.
Straight from its successful run at Cannes, No makes it way back across the Atlantic to premiere in America this spring. The story, which centers around the 1988 democratic overhaul of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, focuses on the ad executives responsible for the successful campaigning against Pinochet’s referendum. Gael Garcie Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries) gives his best performance yet as René Saavedra, an advertising agent who finds himself unintentionally leading a national movement after creating a popular political slogan. Despite its Chilean roots, No resonates universally, emphasizing the power of positivity in the face of despair.
Known as one of the most acclaimed directors in South Korea, Chan-wook Park marks his first American film with the Sundance favorite, Stoker. Starring Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, and current Moves-profile Dermot Mulroney, the film follows the Stoker family after the unexpected death of their father. When a dashing, mysterious uncle (played by Matthew Goode) moves in with the surviving family members, the film takes a hauntingly perverse turn for the worst. A gothic blend of horror, lust, and mystery, Stoker cements Park as a daringly subversive director on both sides of the globe.
“DEAD MAN DOWN”
Guns. Sex. Explosions. Sure, it’s been done before, but there’s something to say about doing it well, and with a cool hand. The director and star of the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Niels Arden Oplev and Noomi
Rapace, respectively) once again join forces to create this noir-esque action flick, starring former Moves cover Dominic Cooper and Colin Farrell as the film’s protagonists. Featuring all the stark twists and turns you’d expect from a violent, shoot-’em-up film, Dead Man Down sticks to the genre and does so impeccably, turning a big-budget summer blockbuster into a frigid wintry thriller.
With our country as polarized as it is, I think all Americans can agree on one thing: Tina Fey and Paul Rudd are just the best. Fey plays Portia, an admissions counselor at Princeton who pays a scouting visit to an
“alternative” high school (run by Rudd). When Rudd’s character suggests that his student may be the son Portia gave up for adoption, the movie veers from its projected rom-com trajectory and finds it stride. Directed by About a Boy’s Paul Weitz, Admission balances comedy, romance, and emotion, and secures Paul Rudd and Tina Fey as national treasures.
Following the premiere of his breakout hit, Asuncion, Jesse Eisenberg once again performs double duty for the Rattlestick, serving as playwright and lead actor in his new play The Revisionists. The 29-year-old Oscar nominee slides comfortably into the role of David, a young man who ventures across continents to battle an acute case of writer’s block. Joining the cast is Oscar winner and screen legend Vanessa Redgrave, who plays David’s distant relative, a Polish native and survivor of the Holocaust. Whereas last year’s Asuncion served up fire and vigor, The Revisionist shows a more mature side to Mr. Eisenberg’s literary talent, painting in softer tones what could easily be splattered in ink.
Get ready for another British Invasion. And no, not the mop-haired, heart throb variety, but the singing, dancing, and newt-baiting type – the type of musical weirdness that makes our neighbors across the pond just so wonderfully deranged. Matilda, Roald Dahl’s twisted tale of a magical and misunderstood youth, has been set to music by the Brits, and it’s soaring spirit took London by storm. Reprising his role for American audiences is Bertie Carvel, an Olivier Award winner for his cross-dressing portrayal as the UK’s vilest headmistress, the dreaded Ms. Trunchbull. Right off the heels of another British hit, Billy Elliot, Matilda is certain to secure the UK’s spot as a formidable force on the Great White Way.
Currently on tv screens as the drug-addled Nurse Jackie, Edie Falco returns to the stage in Manhattan Theater Club’s world-premiere new play, The Madrid. Directed by Obie-winner Leigh Silverman, The Madrid tells the story of Martha (Falco), a school teacher with an ideal life who leaves it behind to start anew. Falco, who garnered a Tony nomination for The House of Blue Leaves, proves again that her stage work is as effecting as her filmed performances. With a stellar cast of Tony nominees and winners, The Madrid gives Manhattan Theatre Club another Broadway hit, and provides Ms. Falco with another opportunity to showcase her immense talents.
Less than a year after her sudden death shattered the literary world, Nora Ephron’s Lucky Guy is coming to Broadway with the help of a bit of star power. Tom Hanks, who makes his Broadway debut in the show, is just one of many Hollywood heavyweights to tread the boards in recent years, but his unquestioned talent make him a force to be reckoned with. The play, directed by George C. Wolfe (Angels in America), portrays the life and times of Mike McAlary, a contoversial tabloid reporter in the 1980s and ‘90s. Supported by an ensemble of Broadway veterans, Lucky Guy reinforces the timeless nature of Ms. Ephron’s writing, and secures Mr. Hanks as a Broadway star.
The Armory Show 2013
One hundred years after the legendary 1913 Armory Show International Exhibit of Modern Art shocked New York City and the world, curators and artists continue to clamor to our shorelines for this annual cultural celebration. Housed in Pier 92 and 94 on Manhattan’s Hudson River, The Armory brings together the boldest and most daring pieces in the global arts community, from Picasso and Goya to newer, cutting edge talents. With 2013 as its centennial anniversary, this year is certain to be The Armory’s biggest and most exciting yet. Tickets for the public are only available from March 7-10, so don’t miss your chance to catch a glimpse of history.