All the Way (now showing on HBO)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad; Malcolm in the Middle) TOTALLY transformed himself into LBJ- vocally and physically! It was also a treat to see Melissa Leo (who plays Lady Bird) after a LONG time; I’ve been a fan of hers since her days on Homicide: Life on the Street. I saw the play (Arena stage production) about 2 mos. ago; the film is V true to that, though there are changes made (as you can do more w/ cinema). Anthony Mackie (who has NOT aged by much) has a meaty role as MLK, Jr. Wingnuts (fans of The West Wing) will be happy to see Bradley Whitford (who portrays liberal Democratic senator- Hubert Humphrey).
The Man Who Knew Infinity (now in select theaters)
I went to go to a free screening about 3 wks ago; I had no expectations. Well, I really liked it- and NOT just b/c of Jeremy Irons, the music, or cinematography! Toby Jones (who often plays baddies) is just SO sweet/delightful as G. H. Hardy’s (Irons’) BFF/fellow mathematician. Jeremy Northam has a side role as charming philospher Bertrand Russell; it was a nice surprise to me. This is in the time just before WWI- that conflict also affects the lives of the Oxford community.
British-Indian actor, Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionnaire; The Newsroom), does a FINE job as S. Ramanujan, a devout Brahmin Hindu math whiz who went from Southern India to Oxford U. at the age of 26. Patel, who is still in his 20s, has a penchant for wide-eyed/innocent/eager characters; it works well here. Ramanujan left behind his strong-willed widowed mother and lovely new wife, Janaki (Indian-American actress Devika Bhise). It’s been a LONG time since I’ve seen a modern/Western young woman portray a traditional/demure Indian housewife in SUCH a convincing manner!
The Taming of the Shrew (STC: MAY 17-JUNE 26)
I just saw this last SAT (preview matinee) w/ a gal pal (who luckily got free tickets online)- it was FABULOUS! This production, directed by Chinese-Indonesian Brit, Ed Sylvanus Iskander, has a beautiful/intricate set and songs (by Duncan Sheik) which are performed by characters (who were NOT given monologues in Shakespeare’s original play).
Yes, ALL the actors are male, BUT diversity is built into the show! Indian- American actor Maulik Pancholy (Weeds) plays Kate, Sri Lankan-American veteran actor Bernard White (Silicon Valley) plays Baptista and Dutch/Mexican-Brit, Peter Gadiot (Tut), plays Petruchio. Chinese-American actor, Telly Leung, has the best singing voice in the cast; he recently appeared as one of the leads in Allegiance (opposite George Takei).