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In film…

With films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, and Synecdoche, New York, Charlie Kaufman has established himself as one of American cinema’s most mind-bending auteurs. His latest film, the cinematic stop-motion treatise Anomalisa, is no less Kaufman-esque, but that doesn’t always help the film. As Noah Gittell writes in his review, “[Anomalisa] is emotionally intense and wonderfully internal, but in the final third, Kaufman’s big brain gets the better of him.”

Meanwhile, Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu is back with another big awards-season contender in as many years. While the grueling production of The Revenant—and what its star Leonardo DiCaprio went through—is all anyone is talking about, Alan Zilberman considers if the film is actually any good. “Metaphorically speaking, Iñárritu loves the smell of his own farts,” Zilberman writes, meaning that “he’s not content to merely direct his movie in a way that serves the story. With one tedious flourish after another, he wants the audience to marvel at his artistry behind the camera.”

In theater…

It’s been done to death, but you should still see Signature Theatre’s production of the classic musical West Side Story, says Chris Klimek. It would have been better if the actors cast were closer in age to their teen roles, but Klimek praises the production’s grand scope. “Signature Theatre’s lusty revival of West Side Story—a Brylcreem riff on Romeo and Juliet, you’ll recall—is huge, but it’s no mistake,” he writes. “With a cast of 30 and an orchestra of 17, it’s the biggest show yet shoehorned into Signature’s cozy 276-seat space.”

In music…

Garage-rock trio Sunwolf was responsible for one of D.C.’s most infectious earworm in recent years, 2013’s “Push It.” On its debut full-length album, Jonathan L. Fischer praises the band’s poppy, garage sensibilities but notes that Follow the Dreamers “is at times mellower and craftier than the kick-out-the-jams material on [its previous EP] Angel Eyes—a bit less Loaded, a bit more The Velvet Underground ’69—but it aims with equal confidence for your pleasure centers.”