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    Movie Times | Movie Reviews | Theater Reviews
'Joker': Doesn't Kid Around
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
05:12PM / Wednesday, October 09, 2019
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If van Gogh were alive today and dabbling in film, I expect that he might create something as artistically maddening as Todd Phillips' "Joker." But we must tread carefully. The controversy is there for the taking.    Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck, who will ultimately evolve into his alter ego, the Joker, before the closing credits fall on this fantastically directed, acted and produced "Batman" offshoot, is off the hook in every definition of the term. Thus the question is begged: Is it OK to derive entertainment from the criminally insane?   Phillips, who co-wrote this magnum opus with Scott Silver, throws all decorum and caution to the wind as

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'Ad Astra': Stellar Search for Self
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
06:28PM / Friday, October 04, 2019
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— Shakespeare   While I don't love director James Gray's "Ad Astra," a space cowboy adventure about an accomplished astronaut's (Brad Pitt) mission to locate his legendary astronaut dad (Tommy Lee Jones), previously presumed dead but perhaps gone rogue, I must extol its valuable subtext. You know how you might just be fantasizing about that dream house on a lake in Vermont and suddenly you start getting email advertisements on your phone about just such an abode? Well, per this highly prescient movie set "in the near future," the thought is we are just about there.   In this predicted tomorrow, that sort of mind intrusion has been honed to a

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HiLo North Adams Welcomes Comedy Night to the Region
By Rick Duteau, iBerkshires Correspondent
07:07PM / Saturday, September 28, 2019
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — We enjoyed a live comedy show in North Adams on Thursday night.   HiLo North Adams entertained a near-capacity audience on Thursday night for its inaugural Comedy Night, headlined by comedian Monroe Martin.    The venue at Canal and Union streets opened just a few weeks ago to bring a local home for live music and nightlife entertainment, and Comedy Night is another extension of that vision.   Both audiences and performers alike were unsure what to expect of one another, and yet almost immediately the atmosphere felt comfortable and exciting in a way that suggested this was anything but the first time this was happening there. The feel of the

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'Downton Abbey': King of the Soap Operas
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
01:46PM / Thursday, September 26, 2019
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Director Michael Engler's "Downton Abbey," a feature film continuation of the TV series that eluded me in its entirety during its very successful run, is full up with the stuff of royalty. I shouldn't laugh at the silliness of the outmoded form of government, which is truly my first inclination, big democrat that I am. But I'm reminded that I'm still counting on being invited to the coronation ball and hanging out a bit with the newly invested King Charles, should he yet ascend to the throne.   OK, OK, I still haven't written the letter. I've been putting it off for several decades, but still plan to get to it. It would explain that we are about the

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DownStreet Art Caps Season on Thursday With Holden Street Music
04:15PM / Wednesday, September 25, 2019
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — DownStreet Art, the last-Thursday-of-the-month popup program of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, returns to the downtown for the last installment of the season from 5 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 26.   As always, DownStreet Art is free and open to the public.   There's always something new at each DownStreet Art so look for new gallery exhibits, Main Street storefront installations designed by local and regional artists, mural-making from Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts' Kidspace, music, an Eagle Street beverage garden, a community bike tour of the city's murals, and more.   Here's

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'Hustlers': The Tacky Laps of Luxury
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:56PM / Thursday, September 19, 2019
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Am I that naïve? I sat there aghast as some took in stride the vengeance being meted out by former strip club employees upon their predominantly Wall Street clients in director Lorene Scafaria's "Hustlers," a scathing dramatization of Jessica Pressler's New York Magazine expose.   Said financiers are assembly line-style drugged and then fleeced of their reputedly ill-gotten gains following the implied and sometimes more than implied promise of sexual favors. Point of disclosure: While not a regular habitué of such dens of iniquity back in the day, my fires of spring were not unsullied. So why the shock? Function of age? Advancing Fuddy-Duddyism?   For

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'Before You Know It': Wherein the Critic Bemoans ...
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
12:32PM / Thursday, September 12, 2019
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Wherein the Critic Bemoans the Vanishing of Local Moviehouses, Extolls the Virtues of Independent Films, Makes the World Safe for Democracy and Sings an Homage to the Family — Leo Tolstoy, "Anna Karenina."   This quote came to mind as I watched director-writer Hannah Pearl Utt's "Before You Know It," a charmingly engaging dramedy with a screwball slant that teaches a life lesson or two while touching our hearts and tickling our funny bones. Besides, I always wanted to use that axiom.   The story is brainy, sophisticated and bereft of gratuitous violence. So don't expect to find it at the highway multiplex. It's about two sisters who discover a

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'Luce': Enlightening
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:28PM / Thursday, September 05, 2019
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"It's complicated."   Thus spake Luce Edgar, heretofore the brilliant and handsome apple of every teacher's eye at his high school in Arlington, Va., when the senior's stellar reputation suddenly comes into question. Guilty or not of the swirling accusations, rumors and innuendoes, Kelvin Harrison Jr.'s superbly sculpted BMOC speaks volumes about the perception of stature. The predicament in which he finds himself is but one of numerous subplots that writhe, conjoin and impressively coalesce into a highly dramatic meditation on the very essence of truth itself.   Director Julius Onah, who co-wrote the screenplay with J.C. Lee, puts the tension level to

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'The Peanut Butter Falcon': Wrestling With Bigotry
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
04:23PM / Thursday, August 29, 2019
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It is big-hearted, pleasantly pie-in-the-sky save for some routine tumult in the climax, and provides a good service in dramatizing the realities of living with the genetic disorder known as Down syndrome. But my problem as I viewed "The Peanut Butter Falcon" is that I was more fascinated by the lead actor, Zack Gottsagen, than by the story.    You see, Gottsagen does indeed have Down syndrome. And his starring role in this Twain-like adventure yarn about a man institutionalized because of his Down syndrome who takes it on the lam to claim his destiny as a professional wrestler, is no small watershed, either for cinema or for others possessing that third copy of

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Squeeze, Benatar, Reba, Berkshire Ramblers Spark Labor Day Weekend Finales
By Grace Lichtenstein, Guest Column
11:42AM / Wednesday, August 28, 2019
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For the Labor Day weekend, Tanglewood welcomes pop and country stars, the Guthrie Center offers local folkies, Mass MoCA throws a dance party and the Egremont Barn jumps with hip-hop.

Tanglewood

Now that the Boston Symphony Orchestra has finished its summer season, Tanglewood revs up for stars from the rock and country worlds in its Popular Artists Series.

Squeeze, the British rockers who first began recording in the 1970s, is at the Shed on Thursday night, Aug. 29, at 7 p.m. The lineup of band members may have changed over the years, but the current crew surely will do such hits as "Tempted" and "Hourglass."

Two enduring women rock stars take the Shed stage

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