- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Noted Washington sculptor Jim Sanborn explores the nuclear era and what he views as its ethical dilemmas in his important exhibit Atomic Time: Pure Science and Seduction, opening Saturday at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. In the “Critical Assembly” installation part of the show, Mr. Sanborn presents the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico as it might have existed in the 1940s and 1950s. He began the installation in 1998 by assembling original laboratory equipment from people who worked at the lab, then added his own fabrications of the material he had collected. Photographic images inspired by natural uranium ore from his “Atomic Time” series round out this impressive show. At the Corcoran Gallery, New York Avenue and 17th Street NW. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Tuesday, until 9 p.m. Thursday. Closed Tuesday. $5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 students with valid ID and members’ guests, $8 families, free to members and children under 12. 202/639-1700.

Joanna Shaw-Eagle

Alien seemed to expose moviegoers to a couple of novel visceral shocks when it was new in the summer of 1979. The subtlety and discretion of most of its panic-inducing methods may stand out almost 25 years later, when repulsive images have grown both superfluous and incessant in popular filmmaking. Director Ridley Scott, who had only one feature to his credit at the time, contrasted a pair of remarkable environments: the interior of a vast space freighter called Nostromo, slowly approaching Earth with a cargo of refined ore from distant planets; and a storm-tossed planetoid that shelters a strange, derelict spaceship of gigantic proportions, whose cavernous depths conceal a sinister garden. Three crew members explore the wreckage and one returns in the grip of a monstrous organism that covers his face and maintains a stranglehold on his neck. Then a mortal countdown begins for everyone on board, leaving Sigourney Weaver as the last line of defense, a valiant warrant officer named Ripley. It was the role that justifiably made her a star. The movie as a whole demonstrated Mr. Scott’s exceptional stylistic prowess. This refurbished edition of the movie also restores two brief scenes that were cut from the initial 1979 release.

Gary Arnold

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