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Anne Hathaway Stars in Military Drama ‘Grounded’ Off Broadway: REVIEW

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BY NAVEEN KUMAR

The propelling force that drives Grounded, a solo play by George Brant that opened Off Broadway Sunday night at the Public Theatre, feels like strapping into the cockpit with its fighter pilot protagonist. Fueling every minute of its momentum, Anne Hathaway delivers a fearless and wholly captivating performance as a military aviator who both destroys lives and creates a new one over the course of the play’s 70 minutes. Under the direction of Julie Taymor, the thrilling yet intimate production navigates psychological twists and turns in the pilot’s mind with the audience sitting shotgun. 

Grounded0127rRThe story begins “up in the blue,” a vast, whizzing-by sky, where we learn the pilot feels most alive and herself. Her course veers quickly, though, when she unexpectedly gets pregnant after meeting a guy at a bar while on leave. The condition is enough to get her grounded for medical reasons, and her relationship to her beloved bird’s-eye-view is forever changed — both because she winds up starting a family with the father, and because when she does return to service, her new driver’s seat is on the ground, controlling a drone from behind a desk (in the “chair force,” as she calls it).

Grounded511rRThe transition isn’t easy. Instead of barreling through the sky solo, she works her shift in an around-the-clock war from a Nevada base, and lives nearby with her husband and daughter. While it may seem like a welcome solution to the typical scenario of going off to battle (and away from family and into harm’s way), returning home each night feels like coming home from the war over and over; this is not the sort of work that’s easily left behind at the office. Motherhood doesn’t affect her devotion to military service, but the intertwining of her civilian life with remote combat creates a whirlwind in her psyche — ultimately racking her own understanding of life and death.

If this sounds like a lot of story for one person to tell, it is — and Hathaway does it with tireless gusto and remarkable richness of feeling, maneuvering sharp turns of emotion with ease and baffling precision. Though she plays only one character, she’s also responsible for conjuring up the others who impact the pilot’s life, including her family and fellow servicemen (she is the sole female officer in the story). She does all of this while maintaining the pilot’s point of view, so her exchanges with others are always an opportunity to shed further light on her own character.

Grounded578rRTaymor’s stunning visual work is refreshingly pared down from her typical scale (blink away your memories of the scandal-plagued behemoth Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark). The director’s distinctive imagination creates a vivid world of the mind with striking moments of subtle stage magic, while her physical staging nimbly steers Hathaway through the story’s many psychological ringers. Her hand is also evident in the engrossing design elements, including a floor of desert sand and haunting projections. This immersive quality helps drive the play’s disarming point closer to home, that violence out of sight should not and cannot be out of mind — as this production won’t soon be out of many.

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Follow Naveen Kumar on Twitter: @Mr_NaveenKumar (photos: joan marcus) 


Anne Hathaway and Jimmy Fallon Perform Broadway Versions of Rap Hits: VIDEO

Hatha

Jimmy Fallon is known for presenting off-beat musical interludes on his late night talk show (e.g. Idina, Paul Rudd, The Boss, Miley, JGL, JT, Mariah et al). The latest installment? Anne Hathaway pairing up with the funny-man to perform Broadway versions of rap songs. The duo covered Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice,” 50 Cent’s “In Da Club,” and Kendrick Lamar’s “B---- Don’t Kill My Vibe.”

Anne even gives a shout out to all the “Hatha-haters” out there.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP…

Continue reading "Anne Hathaway and Jimmy Fallon Perform Broadway Versions of Rap Hits: VIDEO" »


Watch: Teaser Trailer For Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar'

Interstellar

The first trailer for Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated Interstellar has arrived.

According to Deadline Hollywood, the film "chronicles the adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage." Matthew McConaughey stars and does the voice over for the trailer. The film also boasts a heavy-hitting cast that includes Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Bill Irwin, Mackenzie Foy, Topher Grace and David Gyasi.

Check out the teaser AFTER THE JUMP...

Hands

Continue reading "Watch: Teaser Trailer For Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar'" »


Towleroad Guide to the Tube #1317

TIE THE KNOT: Jesse Tyler Ferguson chats with Isaac Mizrahi about his bow tie collection for marriage equality. P.S. - they are on sale here.

STEVEN SPIELBERG: An animated tribute.

ANDERSON COOPER: Leave Anne Hathaway alone!

BUTTER VS MARGARINE: ASAP Science on the difference, and what cis and trans have to do with it.

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.


'Lincoln,' 'Les Mis' Lead 2013 Oscar Nominations: COMPLETE LIST

Oscarladies

Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone were up early this morning (or up late last night) to announce the 2013 Oscar nominations, and the selection is both predictable and deserving.

Biopic Lincoln is definitely leading the pack with five nominations out of the six major categories, including Daniel Day-Lewis in Best Actor and Sally Field in Best Supporting Actress, and Les Miserables received four, including Hugh Jackman for Best Actor and Anne Hathway for Best Supporting Actress. Both flicks were also nominated for Best Picture, as were Quentin Tarantino's controversial Django Unchained, the Denzel Washington-starrer Flight, which also garnered him a Best Actor nomination, and Zero Dark Thirty, the tale about the SEAL team's successful quest to kill Osama bin Laden.

Check out the complete list AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "'Lincoln,' 'Les Mis' Lead 2013 Oscar Nominations: COMPLETE LIST" »


News: Boehner's Potty Mouth, Shirtless Jude, Sci-Fi Faith, Shojo

1NewsIcon Stacie Laughton, the first transgender person elected to office in New Hampshire, will not run for the seat she resigned after it was revealed she was convicted of conspiracy to commit credit card fraud.

BoehnerReid1NewsIcon House Speaker John Boehner had some choice words for Sen. Harry Reid during the fiscal cliff negotiations at the White House: "Go f*ck yourself."

1NewsIcon Meanwhile, right-wing website Breitbart is starting to beat the "oust Boehner" drum.

1NewsIcon Here's a fun interactive graph about where the 50 United States stand on LGBT rights.

1NewsIcon Richard Socarides on the push for marriage equality in Illinois: "Illinois, being the President's home state and containing four per cent of the total U.S. population, would be a big win for marriage-equality advocates."

1NewsIcon Hillary Clinton has left New York Presbyterian as she continues to recover from a blood clot near her brain.

1NewsIcon Natural born smooth talker: "Just hours after they're born, babies seem to be able to tell the difference between sounds in their native tongue and a foreign one, according to a new study that suggests language learning begins in utero."

Judebeach1NewsIcon A shirtless Jude Law looks fit and fine vacationing in Maui.

1NewsIcon Anne Hathaway looks lovely on the cover of Harper's Bazaar UK.

1NewsIcon Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly tied the knot on Christmas.

1NewsIcon NYE fireworks in reverse.

1NewsIcon Take some time to read my old friend Cord Jefferson's wonderful piece about depression, adventure and finding clarity in life.

1NewsIcon Katie Holmes and Jake Gyllenhaal are not a couple.

1NewsIcon New track from Azaelia Banks, "Bad Bitches Doin'."

1NewsIcon Lindsay Lohan has been evicted from her home in Hollywood. Hopefully this will inspire her to get the help she so desperately needs.

1NewsIcon "Whatever happened to comic books?"

1NewsIcon A completely sci-fi prediction about religion in 2060 from homophobic hate leader David Barton: "Conservative Christians will be treated as second class citizens, much like African Americans were prior to civil rights legislation in the 1960s. Family as we know it will be drastically changed with the state taking charge of the children beginning at birth. Marriage will include two, three, four or any number of participants. Marriage will not be important, with individuals moving in and out of a 'family' group at will. Church buildings will be little used, with many sold to secular buyers and the money received going to the government. Churches will not be allowed to discuss any political issues, even if it affects the church directly." Yeah, right.

Manga1NewsIcon A look at the wild popularity of shojo manga, a genre that focuses on teen boys' gay love, among straight women in Japan: "The genre of boys' love, in other words, allows [authors and] readers to place themselves in a position of power and aggrandizement that is rare for women—as the distanced, masterful position, letting his (or her) eyes roam across variegated objects of desire."

1NewsIcon "The Private War That Killed Spencer Cox."

1NewsIcon If you can, pick up this week's edition of The New Yorker to read Daniel Mendelsohn's incredible piece about how historical novelist Mary Renault's work helped him come to terms with his own sexuality. The magazine's abstract elaborates: "Reading her books, the writer felt a shock of recognition... After reading Renault’s The Charioteer, which is set during the Second World War and wrestles with the issue of 'Greek love,' the writer wrote in his diary, 'I know what I am. Now I must think what to do with it.'"

1NewsIcon From "The Catholic Church’s new gay insult:" "It would be unrealistic to expect the Catholic Church to make a sudden about-face on the issue of equality. It’s been doing the 'Homosexuality is an offense to God' shtick a really long time and that’s a hard habit to break. But the religion whose pope declared in 1866 that slavery wasn’t necessarily against 'natural' law does have a track record of sometimes evolving in light of compelling social change."


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