Monday, July 21, 2008

Thumbs Down

In this week's New Yorker, two critics on two very different displays, one of which I'm eager to see and the other of which you couldn't pay me to see. First, in a brief note, Peter Schjeldahl disses J. M. W. Turner, the subject of a current retrospective at the Met:
Indisputably masterful, Turner invested little watercolors of quotidian subjects with tonal sparkle, and bombastic battle and disaster canvases with lyrical dash. But unlike John Constable, his quieter, more profound peer, Turner conveys only irritable ambition. We must never forget to admire him. This tires.
I'm going to make up my own mind on that one. As for the other, Mamma Mia!, I'm happy to take Anthony Lane's word:
The script is by Catherine Johnson, who also wrote the stage play on which it is based, although “play” may not be the word. It was more like a theatrical kebab, onto which she skewered as many Abba songs as humanly possible: a clever move, given that half the people in the Western world have the Abba sound stuck itchily in their ears, whether they like it or not.


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