Culture Curmudgeon

August 16, 2019

“The Farewell”: A film review

“The Farewell” highlights the cultural divide between east and west, but it also emphasizes the commonalities between the two in terms of love of family and the difficulty of coming to terms with death. Here’s the Culture Curmudgeon’s review.

January 16, 2019

Love in the margins: A film review of “Shoplifters”

With the emotionally complex and brilliant “Shoplifters”, Japanese Director Hirokazu Kore-eda has become one of this generation’s most gifted directors. Here’s the Culture Curmudgeon’s review of probably one of the best films of the last decade.

November 8, 2018

Fight, prevail, repeat: a review of ‘The Fall’

“The Fall” is about the fight of South Africans for a more equal society. It’s a story of struggle that resonates deeply with the state of American politics and race relations today. Here’s the Culture Curmudgeon’s review.

August 14, 2018

Film review: ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” harkens back to a kinder America where everyone was willing to welcome the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses regardless of where they’re from. The Culture Curmudgeon looks back fondly on Fred Rogers’ legacy.

June 8, 2018

Love neverlasting: A review of “The Remains”

“The Remains” isn’t about the redemptive power of love either. If anything, Ken Urban’s play kicks Cupid in the privates, rips the audience’s collective heart out of their chests and stomps on it. It’s not a play that reaffirms marriages. Instead, it calls into question why we even get into relationships at all.

April 11, 2018

Review: A disappointing “Winter’s Tale”

There’s a reason why “The Winter’s Tale” is one of William Shakespeare’s lesser known plays. Here’s the Culture Curmudgeon’s review of Aaron Posner’s visually appealing, but ultimately disappointing production.

October 19, 2017

“The Price” of surviving our families

We can’t choose our families but we can choose how to recover from them. Or not. Here’s Ahmad Coo’s review of Arena Stage’s production of Arthur Miller’s “The Price”, a fascinating study of the American family dynamic.

September 28, 2017

High and Low: Death and decay in postwar Japan

“High and Low” is one of the greatest films ever made: both a police procedural and a scathing portrait of postwar Japan. Here’s the Culture Curmudgeon’s review of one of Akira Kurosawa’s lesser known master works.

August 30, 2017

Columbus: Architecture as panacea

Every once in a while, there are films that become masterworks of art. Kogonada’s “Columbus” is in that elite group. Here’s the Culture Curmudgeon’s review.

June 22, 2017

A Taxing Woman: a look into 1980s Japan

The 1980s were spectacular years for Japan’s economy and society, until they weren’t. Juzo Itami’s “A Taxing Woman” shows how it all went wrong. Here’s the Culture Curmudgeon’s review.

May 26, 2017

Timon of Athens: A review

We are mercurial, unpredictable creatures prone to inconsistencies and hysteria. Sometimes we appear to have everything together but underneath our stolid exterior lies an amorphous blob of anxiety- a mixture of insecurities, ignorance and fear.

May 11, 2017

Dumb ‘Smart People’: a review

Arena Stage’s ‘Smart People’ isn’t so smart and not that funny either. Unless you’re a fan of stupid television sitcoms, take a rain check and wait for the next season. Here’s the Culture Curmudgeons review.

March 24, 2017

‘Intelligence’ in a post-fact world

Depending on your politics, the Trump presidency is either a disaster, godsend, maybe even both. While some blame Obama for leading to his rise, others think differently.
In the play Intelligence, the blame mostly lies on number 43. Our Culture Curmudgeon decides who’s right.

March 14, 2017

I am Not Your Negro: A review

Racism is alive and well and social tensions have never been higher, especially in Trump’s America. But as Raoul Peck’s new film ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ about the late James Baldwin tells us, those racial divisions have never really gone away.

February 9, 2017

Paterson and the Magic of the Everyday

Jim Jarmusch’s latest film ‘Paterson’ is a tribute to the people who brave everyday drudgeries and humiliations. It also highlights the magic of gratitude and the million little things in life we take for granted.

January 25, 2017

Yasiin Bey and the Infinite

Some are skeptical about how he serious is about retiring from hip hop, but then again Yasiin Bey isn’t really like most of his peers.

December 29, 2016

The Black Side of the Moon

Our Culture Curmudgeon Ahmad Coo shares his experience watching the socially reflective, ever-so-timely “The Black Side of the Moon”