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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...

'August: Osage County': the film improves the play
The best news about the film adaptation of Tracy Letts' Pulitzer-Prize-winning drama, "August: Osage County," occurs very early. The opening monologue has been trimmed to a mere sliver. Indeed, 40 minutes have been sliced out of the play; the cuts…
'Lone Survivor' establishes and maintains a powerful intensity
The film's title tells the tale: "Lone Survivor," but that revelation doesn't begin to convey the intense, gut-wrenching Afghan war mission of the four SEALs featured. Seldom has a film so powerfully thrust the viewer into the violent action, communicating…
'The Great Beauty' turns ugly or, at least, esoteric
A film entitled "The Great Beauty" should be one, and this one certainly is. It is also dark, both in terms of light and insight. Its beauty is not sweeping vistas or aerial shots of quilt-like fields or close-ups on…
‘Escape from Tomorrow’ offers only fitful escape
There’s a great story behind the production “Escape from Tomorrow” but not much story in it. Shot primarily at Orlando’s Walt Disney World and Anaheim’s Disneyland without permission, the film follows husband Jim, his wife Emily, their boy Elliott and…
There's nothing perverse about 'The Pervert's Guide to Ideology'
Opionated and original, philosopher Slavoj Žižek takes on our pervasive and long-standing cultural attitudes in "The Pervert's Guide to Ideology," a two hour interrogation of embedded values teased out through decades of film history. Though in many ways the film…
'Her' asks a lot of Artificial Intelligence
Always a little on the outside of things, Spike Jonze has written and directed a film that takes place about an L.A. minute beyond next year. "Her" is set in the near future when companies will write heartfelt letters for…
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