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John Rodat

John Rodat

The Hold Steady

by John Rodat April 17, 2014

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  In an interview with Terri Gross a couple of years back, Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn fielded a question about lyrical allusions to the Catholic upbringing he shares with some of the songs’ characters. Gross ...

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A Wonderful Contraption

by John Rodat March 27, 2014

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL - 2014 FILM STILL - Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight

  I’m not sure which group should be most eager to see Wes Anderson’s newest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel: his fans or his passionate detractors. Those who have enjoyed Anderson’s work thus far will find ...

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Mike Birbiglia

by John Rodat March 27, 2014

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  I associate Mike Birbiglia with a number of other popular stand ups I know best from the Internet but of whom I first became aware in the alt-comedy boom of the ’90s: comedians like Louis ...

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True Love

by John Rodat January 16, 2014

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  The trailers for Spike Jonze’s Her are misleading. They admit upfront that the plot involves the love relationship that develops between a lonely man and a computer-operating system. But they allow the misapprehension that Her ...

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Dream Small

by John Rodat January 2, 2014

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  I’m not certain to whom The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is meant most to appeal: James Thurber fans? That seems unlikely. Ben Stiller followers? I don’t think that’s a category unto itself. Arcade Fire ...

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Santa Fidelis

by John Rodat December 24, 2013

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  A darkened room is dominated by a large projection screen. A map of the world’s continents glows in blue digital light. Individual red lights densely dot those outlines and with trails of red connecting them ...

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A Sci-Fi Holiday

by John Rodat November 27, 2013

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  A dining room at Thanksgiving. The table is laden with traditional fare: a dirigible-sized turkey glistens golden brown, a snowy Himalayan mound of mashed potatoes steams, gravy rich and black in a ceramic boat so ...

Misplaced Focus

by John Rodat November 27, 2013

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  Given the difficulties of the process, an excess of passion is a good thing to have if you hope to get a film made. When the film in question is a biopic, that passion often ...

The Celebrity Report: Haiku

by John Rodat November 13, 2013

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  His kimono flows. David Bowie loves ping pong. Iman won’t play him.   The chips and snacks aisle: A roadie buys Funyons. Lady Gaga smiles.   No, Donald Glover is not the child of Danny. Nor Corey’s either.   Tom Hanks hates the mail. So many flyers for ...

Elvis Costello

by John Rodat November 13, 2013

  When Elvis Costello illuminated the large stage-floor-level “Request” light three-quarters of the way through his show at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, I did not call out. Amid hollers for “Pump It Up,” and “Oliver’s ...

Terribly True

by John Rodat November 6, 2013

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  First, the easy stuff: Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave is very powerfully and efficiently written, tremendously well cast and acted and deliberately and surely directed. In short, it’s an excellent movie, which is not ...

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Your Own Private Idaho

by John Rodat October 31, 2013

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  Lou Reed conjured a NYC of which he became the embodiment. His cultishly loyal fans are—must be—attracted to those quasi-mythical neighborhoods the way that fantasy and science-fiction fans are attracted to Middle Earth or galaxies ...

Hip to be Square

by John Rodat October 3, 2013

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  When asked to review Don Jon, I considered the possibility that I was being punk’d. The movie was written and directed by its leading man, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and it co-stars Scarlett Johansson. I am not ...

His Wife Was a Nazi Telepath?

by John Rodat September 26, 2013

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  Advanced press about the documentary Salinger promised an “unprecedented” look inside the life of J.D. Salinger, the famously reclusive author of The Catcher and the Rye. But even a cursory search of Amazon turns up ...

The Apocalypse? I’m Cool With That

by John Rodat December 20, 2012

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  On Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, they say the world will come to an end. “Oh, that Mayan nonsense?” you scoff.  For all the popular buzz there’s little real scholarship and less hard science behind this particular ...

Broadcasting With Bite

by John Rodat December 6, 2012

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  The audience at Ira Glass’s presentation/performance was, evidently, very familiar with the NPR producer and host’s long-running program This American Life: During both of the evening’s question-and-answer periods (Why two? More on that later), they ...

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Sexual Healing

by John Rodat November 20, 2012

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  The subject matter of The Sessions, the tale of a disabled man’s quest for physical intimacy, seems to promise melodrama. Paralysis may not constitute a genre, per se, but it is a powerful metaphor and ...

Morrissey

by John Rodat October 25, 2012

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The linking of Morrissey with Oscar Wilde is one that the former Smiths frontman and now-iconic solo artist has much encouraged, himself. He’s been photographed lounging at that 19th-century decadents’ Parisian grave and, at Thursday’s ...

The Romance We Deserve

by John Rodat July 19, 2012

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Lynn Shelton’s film Your Sister’s Sister can be viewed as, among other things, testimony to just how bloated and hackish most Hollywood romantic comedies are. According to IMDB, the movie was produced on an estimated ...

Roger Waters

by John Rodat July 5, 2012

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When I first heard Pink Floyd’s The Wall, a year or so after it was released in 1979, I was floored. Until that point, my listening habits were limited largely to WPDH, a new-wave radio ...

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They Belong

by John Rodat June 27, 2012

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The central conflict in many—arguably, all—of Wes Anderson’s films is that of belonging. Characters strive, clumsily, to fit in. Often, it’s their very enthusiasm that proves most problematic: The more forcefully they assert themselves, the ...

Il Doofy

by John Rodat May 24, 2012

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I found the latest Sacha Baron Cohen comedy, The Dictator, tedious and predictable; though I’m not really a fan of Cohen’s work, I am surprised to have to use those adjectives. Cohen’s appeal is largely ...

Savagely Funny

by John Rodat May 10, 2012

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  For a play with such an apocalyptic title, the setting and stakes of God of Carnage are mundane: Two couples, the Raleighs and the Novaks, meet in the Cobble Hill apartment of the latter, to ...

Capital Repertory Theatre

A Real Pisser

by John Rodat February 9, 2012

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  The musical Urinetown is a curious blend of earnest social commentary and ironic self-awareness. On the one hand, it scolds (if it doesn’t quite skewer) capitalistic-monopolistic command over essential resources; on the other, it satirizes ...

Sex Negative

by John Rodat January 26, 2012

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Steve McQueen’s Shame might be as good as its hype—if, that is, you’re willing to accept certain prejudices about promiscuity or sexual behavior, generally. There are explicit indications that the lead character, Brandon (Michael Fassbender), and ...

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