City-slicker yarn mostly a yawn; ‘Danse’ on firm footing
‘Did You Hear About the Morgans?’
Adorable if adulterous and agnostic salad-fancying nitwit city slickers save their marriage with the help of a God-fearing, meat-eating “Sarah Palin” and her wise sheriff husband in “Did You Hear About the Morgans?,” a formula romantic comedy that could be described as “Green Acres” in Red State drag, plus guns.
Hugh Grant — not so much an actor as a catalog of stammers, blinks, puppy-dog pouts and other Tourette-like tics — and Sarah Jessica Parker comprise the title verging-on-divorce couple, who are whisked off to federal protective custody in Wyoming after a murdered arms dealer falls from a Manhattan balcony to their feet. Out West, the Morgans are the guests of a taciturn sheriff (Sam Elliott) and his Annie Oakley wife (Mary Steenburgen). “Oh my God, it’s Sarah Palin,” moans Sarah, when Steenburgen cocks her rifle. “I love what you’ve done with the heads,” Sarah comments, entering a
‘La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet’
Brigitte Lefevre, artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet, is unconcerned that audiences may not be able to follow the storylines of some of her company’s dance productions. What matters, she says in “La Danse,” is this: “The final result has to be a gift to the public that they can .”
Her comment also could apply to the work of 79-year-old documentary
firstname.lastname@example.org living room decorated with mounted pronghorn antelope trophies.
Written and directed by romcom auteur Marc Lawrence (who previously teamed Grant with Drew Barrymore in “Music and Lyrics” and Sandra Bullock in “Two Weeks Notice”), “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” wrings a few laughs from its city-folk-sure -are - comicalaround-cows-andgrizzly-bears-and-rodeo -bulls situations. The only surprise is the appearance of Wilford Brimley, in his first movie role in six years; honestly, I thought he’d already headed off to that last roundup. master FrederickWiseman, whose fly-on-the-wall methods have served him well for more than 40 years, on films with such tell-it-like-it-is titles as “High School,” “Hospital” and “Store.”
Like its predecessors, Wiseman’s 159-minute “La Danse” immerses audiences in its singular world without bothering to identify the people onscreen or to provide the type of helpful information presented via narration or onscreen text in most documentaries. Without these distractions of data, the film becomes a pure, almost meditative experience, as the cameras lead us into business meetings, dance practices, the dank Lon Chaneyesque cellars beneath the opera house, and even the laundry room where the ballet slippers are washed, disinfected and hung on pegs to dry. The viewer learns little about most of the dancers, not even their names, and so is freer to marvel at their poise, their dedication and their physicality: One rarely sees this type of defined musculature outside the pages of a Marvel or DC comic book.
“La Danse” is playing exclusively at Malco’s Studio on the Square.
Dancers rehearse for ‘‘The Nutcracker’’ in a scene from documentary master Frederick Wiseman’s “La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet.”