Have you been to Shirlington and the Signature Theatre lately? It has really grown up and out. While Reston Town Center becomes a bit too big these days unless you like the 5th floor of parking garages, Shirlington has just about got it right. Parking is easy, it's on a bike trail, the baguettes at Best Buns still rock, the new library allows easy Internet access, the movie theater still shows arty fare, and you have your choice of restaurants. The next great day to be there is Saturday, Aug. 8 for their Target Open House. At 1:15 pm, hear a concert from Julia Nixon, who if she did not take a break to raise her kids, would be a Broadway star by now. We saw her at Studio Theater in Caroline or Change a couple years ago and she nearly blew the house down. At 2:30 and again at 6:15, Emily Skinner performs. She IS a Broadway star. The day wraps up with a Broadway-style grand concert at 8:30 and it's all FREE!
While checking everything out, I did happen to catch 500 Days of Summer; (nnnn) out of five so I'm pretty sold on it. I've liked Joseph Gordon Leavitt since he did Brick (a must-rent if you haven't seen it). The film starts out very funny and ends very funny. Inbetween, it takes some familiar boy-meets-girl turns, until at about the midway point, it starts to catch you off-guard. This is pretty real stuff, not the usual rom-com merriment. Nobody's a bad guy, or girl, nobody messed up and now has to win (him or her) back. The second half unfolds and I'm kinda sure you'll be able to see yourself in there somewhere. I did. It's an original movie, and Zooey Deschanel is interesting to watch.
Michael Mann directs big, solid films - Ali, Heat and The Insider (we'll excuse him for Miami Vice) - and Public Enemies (nnnn) is no different. From the opening breakout scene to the final gun, the film lives large with Johnny Depp in the lead role of Dillinger. I haven't enjoyed his performance this much since Finding Neverland in 2004, and before that Don Juan Demarco (another good one to rent).