Dan Zak


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Life as a fairy tale in 'Finding Neverland'

A review of Johnny Depp's new film, "Finding Neverland," about the life of "Peter Pan" author J.M. Barrie. Also included is an interview with the film's up-and-coming director, Marc Forster, various Peter Pan trivia, and a timeline of former adaptions of J.M. Barrie's enduring novel.

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Sideways: B

Miles is a guy who talks wine like any other guy would talk cars - the '95 Pinot, the '61 Chableau, the color, the rarity, the finish. But there is a reason he prefers to make a hobby of vintages. You can't get drunk on Camaros.

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Undertow: A

Has an American film renaissance started with David Gordon Green? Sure, there have been high-profile road signs in that direction over the past 10 years - Tarantino, Charlie Kaufman - but who but Green has shown such invention and versatility at such a young age? His "George Washington" and "All the Real Girls" were bellwethers. Now the 30-year-old has made "Undertow," a gothic Southern drama that shakes off the dead skin of current cinema.

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Alum mixes radio career with Capitol Steps

It was the Sunday of Columbus Day weekend 1982, and several hundred Washington staffers were packed in at Garvin's Laugh-Inn on Connecticut Avenue in Woodley Park. They had come to see headliner Rita Rudner, but were treated to an opening act by stand-up rookie Richard Paul, who killed, as they say. A recent graduate of AU, Paul would parlay this auspicious debut in the professional comedy world into a long tenure with the Capitol Steps and D.C.-area radio.

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Playwright Thompson '71 drops in on theatre class

Ernest Thompson, one of AU's quietly successful alumni, sat in a folding chair in the basement of the Kreeger Music Building as theater students got themselves into character. The students of PERF-350, Fundamentals of Acting 3, were playing parts in Thompson's new work "Ax of Love," a decades-spanning story that starts when the characters are young, impressionable and in college.

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Checkmates: Dupont Circle chess culture

If Dupont Circle is the heart of D.C., then the chess crowd is that mysterious force keeping it pumping. Ten stone tables follow the circle's gentle curve. At them sit retirees and college students, lawyers and doctors, bums and transients, locals and foreigners, disguised grandmasters and brazen amateurs, regulars and curious tourists. Each fights a battle of wit and intellect.

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Visions joins long reel of indie theaters gone dark in D.C.

It was the hippest wake in Washington. Kegs were wheeled in from the back room, bodies were pressed four deep against the bar, regulars spilled outside to Florida Avenue. Visions - the independently-owned movie theater where everybody knows your name - was dead, and hundreds of people came to pay their respects last Sunday.

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'On Golden Pond' fishes for laughs

As a text, Ernest Thompson's "On Golden Pond" is an exercise in restraint, about the subtleties of interaction between husband and wife and parents and children. As a theatrical production at the Kennedy Center, it is an exercise in using comedy to galvanize that restraint, which lends tenderness to some scenes and triviality to others.

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SHOW and Telluride

Telluride attracts movie luminaries from around the world every Labor Day weekend for a four-day cinethon that challenges the dutiful cinephile to watch as many movies as possible.

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