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Author Archive | John Harding

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‘john & jen’ at Red Branch Theatre Company

Columbia’s Red Branch Theatre Company is out to test just how spare and lean a musical can get and still hold an audience in a magical spell. The company’s new staging of the off-Broadway 1995 show john & jen has just two cast members and a bare minimum of props, yet it is anything but challenged […]

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‘The Last Five Years’ at Red Branch Theatre Company

Miss The Last Five Years at your peril. If you fail to catch this season-opener by the Red Branch Theatre Company, you’ll never know exactly when this hard-working Columbia playhouse made its big step into professional theater. In recent seasons, Red Branch has been cultivating a personal relationship with composer Jason Robert Brown, whose Bridges […]

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‘Flashdance-The Musical’ at The Kennedy Center by John Harding

In the Flashdance smackdown between fresh new show tunes and nostalgia-laden 1980s soundtrack hits, the title decision at The Kennedy Center isn’t even close. Showtunes lose the match, although the theater-goer emerges the winner. It has been 65 years since Mary Martin delighted Broadway every night when she “washed that man right out of her […]

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Film Review: ‘All Is Lost’ by John Harding

Can a single character carry an entire feature-length movie with success? Arguments for both sides of that issue will be found in All Is Lost, the lean but brutal, one-person survival-at-sea saga starring Robert Redford. All Is Lost, which opens locally tomorrow on October 25th, already made waves at Cannes this year, where it won […]

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‘Pasties & Popcorn’ at DC Shorts by John Harding

The VisArts Center in Rockville is a rather respectable venue for a program titled Pasties & Popcorn. But there you are, amid a nearly full house in the upstairs convention room on Friday, June 28, for the first of two nights of short risque films and live burlesque acts designed to massage and titillate the fraying […]

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Film Review: ‘Plimpton’ by John Harding

George Plimpton was called a pioneer of “new journalism” by no less a literary master of the art than Tom Wolfe. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, Plimpton traveled in celebrated circles like someone’s tag-along kid brother, taking notes, gamely joining in, and leaving behind a delightful paper trail on his encounters with […]

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Film Review: ‘This Is the End’ by John Harding

The amazing Seth Rogen proved he could hold his own against the force of nature known as Barbra Streisand in The Guilt Trip. But is he ready to meet the Apocalypse? The answer is contained in This Is the End, a drugged-out disaster-comedy about the biblical End of Days. As portrayed by Rogen and many […]

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Film Review: ‘The Great Gatsby’ by John Harding

It’s touch-and-go at times for the latest big-screen adaptation of The Great Gatsby. But in a hotly contested three-way wrestling match between Baz Luhrman, 3D technology, and novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, it’s Fitzgerald that gets the project in a head-lock and pins this tale of Jazz Age angst firmly on the summer’s must-see movie list. […]

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Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko find happiness for a time in their new romance in  Terrence Malick's 'To the Wonder. 'Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Film Review: ‘To the Wonder’ by John Harding

Terrence Malick takes us To the Wonder, and beyond Terrence Malick may be America’s most fuel-efficient filmmaker. Even when one of his movies is average-length it can seem like it will go on forever. … And I am a big fan. All of Malick’s films are visual feasts, from Badlands and Days of Heaven to A Thin Red Line and The New World. If one […]

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