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Excerpts from the blogs of Inquirer critics.

Movies and the adoption option

From Carrie Rickey's "Flickgrrl" flickgrrl

It's obvious why Rodrigo Garcia was inspired to make Mother and Child, his empathic multicharacter film considering the impact of adoption on each party in the so-called triad. Few storylines provide the tears, reconciliation, and joy of the separated-at-birth, reunited-years-later tale.

In Garcia's film, Annette Bening is the woman who still grieves the loss of the infant she relinquished as a teenager. Naomi Watts is an adoptee who belatedly initiates a search for her birth parents. Kerry Washington is an infertile woman with baby fever, hoping to adopt. Blood may be thicker than water, but love is stickier than any bodily fluid.

Adoption movies come in almost every genre, from horror (The Bad Seed, The Omen) to screwball comedy (Baby Boom, Flirting With Disaster) to heroic saga (The Blind Side, Citizen Kane, The Prince of Egypt, Star Wars.)

Nothing makes Flickgrrl weep more copiously than Penny Serenade (with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne as the parents dealing with all kinds of loss) and To Each His Own (Olivia de Havilland as a single mother who relinquishes her son to friends and never tells him their relationship).

But if she had to pick the three most satisfying adoption movies, they would be Flirting With Disaster (1996), with Ben Stiller as the new father inspired to search out his bio-parents and concluding he's more like his adoptive parents than he had ever dreamed; The Revolt of Job ( 1983 ), an exceptional Hungarian film about a Jewish couple who adopt a Gentile boy a few years before World War II; and Antwone Fisher (2002), with Derek Luke as the real-life seaman who with the help of Navy psychiatrist Denzel Washington confronts his past and searches for his biological family.

Do you have a beloved adoption movie? Do you prefer the ones that make you cry or laugh?

Dudamel salutes fans

From Peter Dobrin's Artswatch



Gustavo Dudamel did something Wednesday night I've never seen any other conductor do. At the end of the Kimmel Center concert, after having the orchestra stand for applause, he had the entire Los Angeles Philharmonic turn 180 degrees to acknowledge the audience sitting in the conductor's circle. Of course! They're listeners, too. Nice gesture, and one that I hope can become part of the Verizon Hall tradition.

The Roots' guest list

From Dan DeLuca's "In the Mix"



The Roots' How I Got Over - the Philadelphia hip-hop band's first album since they took over house-band duties on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon - finally has a hard and fast release date: June 22. And it's got a doozy of a guest list, thanks, no doubt, to the Rolodex-building experence of being TV's premier late-night band.

A couple of bullet points speak to the increasing indie-rock/hip-hop crossover trend: The album will include a "reimagining" of the Monsters of Folk's "Dear God," featuring originators Conor Oberst, M. Ward, and Jim James of My Morning Jacket, and love-her-or-hate-her harpist Joanna Newsom on "Right On." Also helping the band with its lofty goal of "depicting the everyman's search for hope in this dispiriting post-hop zeitgeist" will be Philly-based Icelandic singer Patty Crash, Phonte Coleman, of Little Brother, and Mercedes Martinez, of Jazzyfatnastees. Not to mention, soul man John Legend, who is backed by the Roots on his own new album of covers, also due in June. Legend and the Roots will be in Philadelphia on June 4 at the World Cafe Live at the Non-Comm Convention and, of course, at the third annual The Roots Picnic at the Festival Pier on June 5.