Recent stories by Michael Sragow
3:12 PM EDT, June 28, 2012
A fourth theater at Rotunda Cinemas will open Friday, owner-operator Ira Miller announced today.
4:29 PM EDT, June 21, 2012
Baltimore is one city where crowds come out in the heat of the night to take in open-air movies.
4:08 PM EDT, June 6, 2012
The chance to chronicle a teacher's battle with multiple sclerosis while learning documentary movie-making and earning a slot in a new film competition — it all came together for 18 students at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute with their nonfiction short "Health, Interrupted," selected for the first Baltimore High School Film Festival (4-6 p.m. Thursday at the Charles).
2:40 PM EDT, June 2, 2012
A man hangs from a rope connected to the beam of a barn, his feet smashing through a wooden crate so he looks like he's cut off at the knees. His wife explains that when he was angered or annoyed, he would go to that spot, get up on a bucket, put a noose around his neck and threaten suicide. On the fatal day, she placed the bucket elsewhere, so he grabbed the crate.
7:16 AM EDT, May 18, 2012
For much of its 99-minute running time, "Lovely Molly" brings heartbreaking psychological horror to the world of the 99 percent. This story of a young wife (Gretchen Lodge) who goes crazy or is possessed by a demon — or both — takes place in an America of limited opportunities.
7:08 AM EDT, May 18, 2012
The moviemakers behind "Crooked Arrows" take square aim at making a "Mighty Ducks with lacrosse." Is it fair to say a film hits the bull's-eye when the target is so easy? You wish this movie had focused on its fresh material about lacrosse's Native American roots and ditched its dark-horse cliches.
6:07 PM EDT, May 11, 2012
When it comes to lacrosse, all roads lead to Baltimore: That's key to the history of "Crooked Arrows," the first mainstream feature about the sport. It involves a stream of small investors and one genuine big-screen superhero — Brandon Routh, star of "Superman Returns."
3:59 PM EDT, May 3, 2012
"Better Living Through Chemistry," an independent movie about a pharmacist's life unraveling after he starts an affair with a trophy-wife customer, will film for five weeks in Maryland starting this month, Governor Martin O'Malley announced Thursday.
10:08 AM EDT, April 25, 2012
John Cusack didn't come to Baltimore when preparing to play Edgar Allan Poe in "The Raven."
5:43 PM EDT, March 30, 2012
Kevin Costner, a superstar for two dozen years, hasn't had a big film hit in years. But overseas and out of camera sight, he's been renewing connections with international fans — as a singer.
7:23 PM EDT, March 21, 2012
Agnieszka Holland's Holocaust movies, like "Angry Harvest" and "Europa Europa," are a world away from concentration camp tear-jerkers like Robert Benigni's Oscar-winning smash "Life Is Beautiful."
3:26 PM EDT, April 6, 2012
Few nonfiction writers think bigger than Walter Isaacson, who has taken on subjects like Henry Kissinger, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein. But when Apple founder Steve Jobs invited him in 2004 to write a complete and frank biography, Isaacson held back.
November 13, 2011
When Kevin Clash was a boy in Baltimore County, he'd watch TV mere inches from the screen and wish he could walk right into "Sesame Street."
5:59 PM EST, February 7, 2012
If James "Buzz" Cusack and his daughter, Kathleen Lyon, have their way, they'll be cutting ribbons by Christmas for a restored Senator Theatre that will preserve the original cinema and add three screens and a small restaurant.
November 5, 2011
Magician Michael Cantor's studio is a cheerful, open space, on the top floor of a clean white building not far from Television Hill in Woodberry.
March 3, 2012
A man in a media dream-team marriage supports his wife during her breast cancer, then nearly buckles after her death. That's the reality-saturated plot of Michael Tucker's novel, "After Annie."
10:39 AM EST, January 7, 2012
When Jordan Page was a boy of 11 with a yen for acting, his greatest thrill was playing the Crown Prince in '"The King and I" onstage.
8:15 AM EDT, September 22, 2011
Among hundreds of books sure to be embraced or argued about at this weekend's Baltimore Book Festival, one potent group narrative leaps from the pages of the schedule.
3:50 PM EDT, September 2, 2011
This weekend, while drivers wheel around the Inner Harbor for the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix, moviegoers a few blocks from downtown will be watching the story of a brave, imaginative man who was the Muhammad Ali or Michael Jordan of auto racing.
11:08 AM EST, January 28, 2012
Earlier this month, assistant coach Luke Murray was traveling with Towson University's basketball team, psyching himself up for a win, when he got a text message from his dad.
3:35 PM EST, December 3, 2011
Few films in movie history — and maybe no other film by a first-time writer-director — proved to be the breakthrough moment for as many talents as a made-in-Baltimore comedy-drama called "Diner."
August 14, 2011
Justin Sausville of Mount Washington is a whiz at the brainy TV game show "Jeopardy!" — and he's proving just as stellar at "I've Got a Secret."
8:15 PM EDT, August 26, 2011
The pungent, haunting narrative of Laura Lippman's new novel, "The Most Dangerous Thing," kicks in with a group of kids arguing for dibs on a grassy kickball field near a cotton mill on "Wetheredsville Road."
5:14 PM EST, December 2, 2011
"Diner" has resonated with Baltimore-connected writers and moviemakers across the popular and literary spectrum. Here are some of their reactions to the movie's 30th anniversary.
3:25 PM EDT, July 29, 2011
A man in black wields an enormous hollow cross packed with phony handguns while checking out Barnes & Noble's graphic-novel racks. A futuristic Marie Antoinette, in a regal gown with bared cleavage and midriff, balances a huge rectangular headpiece with impeccable hauteur while navigating the steaming crowds on Pratt Street. An urban-cowboy assassin in fringed Daisy Dukes, with hippie-like straight hair hitting the small of her back and bandoleros crisscrossing her chest, eyes a burger at Five Guys.
8:39 AM EDT, August 7, 2011
"I Used to Be Darker" is meant to jump from the blocks at full speed: A 19-year-old discovers that she's pregnant, grabs a knife and exacts devastating revenge on the cad who knocked her up. After she loses her job overseeing bumper cars at an Ocean City arcade, she high-tails it to Baltimore.
8:44 PM EDT, September 20, 2011
Another classic American film set in Baltimore is headed for Broadway, but unlike "Hairspray" this one may be a less obvious fit.
10:28 PM EDT, July 21, 2011
Howard Markel's "An Anatomy of Addiction" starts, like a shot, on May 5,1884. A Bellevue Hospital orderly summons Dr. William Stewart Halsted to save the leg of a laborer who has fallen from a scaffolding.
7:42 AM EDT, July 18, 2011
At a screening in Columbia, a 16-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl emerged from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" blissed-out but also fighting because he wouldn't kiss her during the movie — he didn't want to miss a single second of the action.
8:41 PM EDT, July 15, 2011
Harry Shearer says his "head exploded" 20 months ago. That's when he heard President Barack Obama, during a town hall meeting in New Orleans, refer to the flooding of the city after Hurricane Katrina as "a natural disaster."
6:59 PM EDT, June 24, 2011
Debora Bell would be glad "if 3-D went away."
6:37 AM EDT, July 1, 2011
When "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" posted a casting call for "Hardcore Eddie," every muscleman-actor on the way up in Hollywood went out for the part.
2:40 PM EDT, June 23, 2011
Five years ago, pundits were quick to cast doubt on "Cars." A version of "Local Hero" or "Doc Hollywood" starring a high-speed auto? How misbegotten and outre!
3:28 PM EDT, June 23, 2011
If you missed Ramona Diaz's "The Learning" and Richard Chisolm's "Cafeteria Man" at the Maryland Film Festival, seize the chance to see them at the AFI Silverdocs festival. If you've seen them already, take my word for it: They're even better the second time around.
10:25 PM EDT, June 17, 2011
It's 10 o'clock on a Tuesday night on Baltimore's North Avenue, one building away from the Maryland Avenue bridge — not your typical party time or place.
12:29 PM EDT, June 2, 2011
What's the best way to fill an open space with smiles for a summer night?
5:05 PM EDT, June 2, 2011
Programming for open-air festivals is like programming for neighborhood theaters: You've got to know your audience. The Little Italy Outdoor Film Festival almost started a mini-riot one year when organizers decided not to open with "Moonstruck." Never making that mistake again, they keep their surprises to the middle of the schedule. (They always close with "Cinema Paradiso.")
6:40 PM EDT, June 3, 2011
When Karen Rose enrolled at the University of Maryland, the one thing she knew was that she "didn't want to dissect."
May 26, 2011
Richard Yeagley fueled his punchy new film, "The Tradesmen: Making an Art of Work," with a fierce hometown nostalgia.
9:03 AM EDT, May 18, 2011
Sharp and svelte but also funny, Nicole Ari Parker typically hits the screen as put-together characters like Eddie Murphy's ex-wife in "Imagine This." So she leapt at the chance to play Zenobia, the comically confused sportscaster heroine of "35 and Ticking."
7:18 AM EDT, May 9, 2011
Filmmaker Gregory Bryan says he was "sick and tired of seeing the same Hollywood films." What he came up with instead was "The Dark," an ethereal, 21/2-minute nightmare complete with crawling blackness, creaking skeletons and enough creepiness of all kinds to win the 2011 Sun Shorts film contest.
2:12 PM EDT, April 28, 2011
Casey Towers, then 20 and the mother of two babies, spent January and February of 2006 at University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. She prayed for a gift that was a matter of life and death: a healthy heart to replace her broken one. She got it within weeks, on her daughter's first birthday.
6:19 PM EDT, May 20, 2011
If you want to experience the work of street artist Gaia in its full scruffy glory, see it in the wild.
7:23 AM EDT, April 7, 2011
To borrow from "A Hard Day's Night," Russell Brand is a mod, a rocker and a mocker.
5:24 AM EDT, March 20, 2011
The Senator Theatre's operators want to scrap plans for a small-plate restaurant and add more screens to the neighborhood theater that has become "Baltimore's movie palace."
2:44 PM EDT, September 30, 2010
The creators of "The Social Network" used the Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus to double for Harvard because of its similar Georgian-style brick and marble. They did such a superb job you must look sharp to spot Hopkins in the finished film. That is, unless you go to school there.
1:36 PM EST, February 3, 2011
Hollywood never provided a richer picture of the Jim Crow South than Clarence Brown's "Intruder in the Dust," a fresh, inspired adaptation of William Faulkner's 1948 novel.
2:15 PM EST, March 3, 2011
D. W. Griffith's overpowering 31/2 -hour epic, "Intolerance," gets the perfect showcase Saturday, 95 years after its premiere — a screening with live, original music during an event exploring, yes, intolerance.
3:01 PM EST, January 20, 2011
Louis B. Mayer warned anyone who made a movie at MGM: "Be smart, but never show it."
7:03 AM EST, February 11, 2011
In 1992, Paula Butturini and her husband, John Tagliabue, moved back to Rome, where they'd met, gotten engaged and were married in the '80s.
2:59 PM EST, February 24, 2011
Oscar-nominated director Darren Aronofsky often tells interviewers that "The Red Shoes" (1948) is the one film comparable to his own "Black Swan." How modest of him!
6:28 PM EST, January 20, 2011
When Walter Hill was flipping through the first 40 pages of the science fiction/horror script that became "Alien," he considered it turgid, a snooze.
2:34 PM EDT, October 17, 2010
For Edward Norton making movies isn't just about giving a dynamite performance. It's about collaborating on a piece of entertainment that reflects his view of the world — and pulls that off without preaching to the audience.
10:26 AM EDT, July 22, 2010
It really was the last picture show.
7:55 PM EDT, October 6, 2010
"Coming Soon," reads the marquee at the Senator Theatre.
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