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A dark and compelling 'Tosca' at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Chicago opera lovers are getting a "twofer" with this season's dark and compelling production of Puccin...

'Or,' gives the Restoration a playful dose of contemporary attitude

With her fanciful play "Or," Liz Duffy Adams has reimagined the early Restoration period with a touch of Ja...

'Blues for Mr. Charlie' at Washington University: not perfect, but powerful

James Baldwin dedicated his play “Blues for Mr. Charlie” to the memory of Medgar Evers and of the four gi...

‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ has a bite that equals its bark

If there's one thing Edward Albee knows, without equivocation, it is the darker side of intimacy. The deep cuts t...

'The Winslow Boy' pairs social justice with a bit of romance

The St. Louis Repertory Theatre's current production, "The Winslow Boy," by Terrence Rattigan, is, at i...

'Foxcatcher' powerfully but subtly profiles tragedy
In the opening scene of "Foxcatcher," director Bennett Miller establishes his observational cinematic style. Wrestlers Mark and Dave Schultz, both 1984 Olympic gold medalists, physically grapple, at first just as part of a typical training session. Then, with increasing tension,…
'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' entertainingly concludes the trilogy
The much anticipated third installment in "The Hobbit" series, "The Battle of the Five Armies," wraps up Bilbo Baggins' fine adventure with two-and-a-half hours of personal and political drama. Gandalf anchors the multifaceted conflicts-- fighting the enticement of gold and…
'Top Five' talks jive and reaches for stars
The plot line before: aging star of comic movies wants to be taken seriously. That is the skeleton of "Stardust Memories" and, currently, of "Birdman" as a former superhero goes to Broadway. "Top Five" offers a variation on that theme…
'Babadook' strikes terror in unique, clever ways
The best horror films translate nerve-jangling fears into frightening scenarios, tapping into conscious as well as suppressed anxieties: the malevolent stranger, the elusive intruder, or the evil doppelganger. The deliriously unnerving Australian film "The Babadook" capitalizes on those terrors, probing…
'Force Majeure' generates psychological force
Swedish Director Ruben Östlund introduces Tomas, Ebba, their son and their daughter beginning a week-long skiing vacation in the idyllic looking French Alps. Taking a lunch break on an outdoor veranda, they and others are shocked when an avalanche, intentionally…
'Wild' shows a foolish, rather than fearless, individual
In 1995, distraught over the sudden death of her beloved mother and a painful divorce caused by her own immoderate indulgence in casual sex and drug use, 26-year-old Cheryl Strayed impetuously and foolishly decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.…
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