On the Aisle (Summer 1997)
No matter how tired you are, you will not fall asleep during Rent…This is one great show.
Comedies (Fall 1998)
Mel Brooks once said, “Tragedy is if I cut my finger. Comedy is if you fall into an open manhole and die.” Since laughter is the best medicine, and we all need medicine now and again, I thought I would write about some of my favorite film comedies.
Best Picture (Winter 1999)
Five great films were nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards. Each was good in its ownway. Despite the violent snowstorms Minnesota had late in January, I was able to get to the movie theaters and see all five of these movies.
Three Movies Directed by Martin Scorsese (Summer 1999)
Steven Spielberg once said: "Most movies are whispers. Marty’s movies are shouts." I have to agree. This summer I watched some Scorsese movies up north at our cabin and decided to write about three of them and how I think they measure up.
Sleepy Hollow: A Review (Fall 1999)
Film director Tim Burton has a certain style that can be found in all his movies. His films are much like Edward Gorey illustrations: dark, humorous, and with striking imagery. You can find all this in his latest work, Sleepy Hollow.
On the Aisle (Spring 2000)
American Beauty was the big winner for "Best Picture" this year, an honor which I think it rightfully deserved.
Minnesota and Hollywood: The Coen Brothers (Summer 2000)
Minnesota should be proud of making a significant impact in film in Hollywood these past few decades. I’m talking about the remarkable work of the Coen brothers, Ethan and Joel. They were born and raised in Minneapolis and went to school at St. Louis Park High School. Their mother works at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
On the Aisle (Winter 2000)
Unbreakable is the latest work from acclaimed writer-director M. Night Shyamalan. It stars Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. Like Shyamalan’s last film The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable is wonderfully-crafted and well-acted, but it doesn’t come close to its predecessor. Audiences hoping to see a movie as good as The Sixth Sense may walk out of Unbreakable a bit disappointed.
Summer Flicks (Spring 2001)
Summer is here and so are the box office smash hits. First in line is Pearl Harbor starring Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, and Kate Beckinsale. It is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Michael Bay (The Rock and Armageddon). This lengthy, big budget movie can be broken down into three parts. The first hour-and-a-half is a hokey love story between Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale. It is filled with corny teenage humor, horrible dialog, and one-dimensional characters. It is almost unbearable to watch.
Direction (Winter 2001-2002)
When we go to see a movie, what draws us to the types of pictures we want to see? What makes us go to movies? First and foremost there is the story itself.
A Brief Essay on The Birds (Winter 2002-2003)
The Birds is one of Alfred Hitchcock's finest works. It's a diabolically wonderful contribution to the world of film. While it may not meet today's ridiculous horror standards, I consider The Birds utterly terrifying.
Chekhov, Woody, and Their Three Sisters (Summer 2003)
As I sat in the top row of the theater watching Chekhov’s masterpiece unfold, the thought passed through my mind that his writing style, technique, and unsurpassed talent is much like some of filmmaker Woody Allen’s work.
“My Representative” (Winter 2005)
Not long ago I was asked: “Who best represents for you someone who has been able to apply their gifts to address an area of need in the world?”
A Great American Theater (Summer 2006)
Maybe I’m being a bit of a sentimentalist but I’m going to miss the old Guthrie. On May 7th this beloved theater closed its doors, finalizing its scheduled move from Vineland Place in Minneapolis to its new location on the banks of the Mississippi River.
The Merchant of Venice (Spring 2007)
While the Guthrie Theater still hasn’t justified the multi-million dollar pil-grimage from what was already a perfectly good theater, they nevertheless continue to produce lavish interpretations of Shakespeare plays that are certainly bearable to say the least. Their latest, The Merchant of Venice, is no exception.