- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 16, 2003

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King concludes Peter Jackson’s majestic, three-part movie adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien mythological saga on splendidly menacing and triumphant notes. Christmas without a “Rings” epic may seem a little strange next year. Of course, the Cineplex Odeon Uptown or the American Film Institute Silver Theatre can make a Christmas tradition of reviving the entire cycle, which approaches 11 hours in the “extended” playing times. The longest of the theatrical installments at 200 minutes, “Return” vividly interweaves the last desperate efforts of hobbits Frodo and Sam (Elijah Wood and Sean Astin) to destroy the insidious magical ring with the titanic defense of a towering capital city, Minas Tirith, by the warriors Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Theoden (Bernard Hill), Eowen (Miranda Otto) and others, bravely abetted by hobbits Pippin and Merry (Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan). No one has ever sustained heroic adventure spectacle and fantasy as ardently or sumptuously as Peter Jackson.

— Gary Arnold

The Cultural Center of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) regularly showcases the best art of its member countries, and A Century of Painting in Panama is its latest offering. The show of 25 artists celebrates Panama’s relative newness — it is the youngest of the Latin American republics — with works beginning with Roberto Lewis (1874-1949), the country’s first official painter, and Manuel Amador (1868-1952), his contemporary, who employed a much freer style. Included in the show as well is art by several of Mr. Lewis’ students such as Humberto Ivaldi, an impressionist painter; Juan Manuel Cedeno, a noted portraitist; and Eudoro Silvera, a cubist artist. Isabel de Obaldia later painted distorted, disturbing figures that reflected Panamanians’ suffering under the military dictatorship of the late 1980s. 1300 New York Ave. NW. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday through Jan. 16. Free. 202/623-3774.

— Joanna Shaw-Eagle


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