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Review: Earth Harp helps DSSO end year on a grand scale

December 31, 2012 in Duluth News Tribune

The variety presented by the DSSO on New Year’s Eve was beyond description, with symphonic excerpts, “pops” orchestral pieces, music for the Earth Harp and MASS Ensemble, and a special visit from Ariana Savalas. Continue Reading

Painstaking effort doesn’t make songs in ‘Les Miserables’ any less of a nuisance

December 31, 2012 in Duluth News Tribune

MOVIE REVIEW: Every song in the movie was sung live, but they became more and more of a nuisance after 2½ hours. Continue Reading

Movie review: Tarantino coasts on his hype with the dull and dim ‘Django Unchained’

December 27, 2012 in Duluth News Tribune

Bullets, bullwhips and beatings produce slo-mo geysers of blood. Pistoleros launch into soliloquies on slavery and the German Siegfried myth. “Django Unchained” is set in Quentin Tarantino’s pre-Civil War South. Continue Reading

Movie review: Director Hooper brings ‘Les Mis’ to screen with emotion, beauty

December 27, 2012 in Duluth News Tribune

To transform the much-beloved “Les Miserables” from stage to screen, director Tom Hooper had to find a way to maintain and amplify the emotional power of the original words and music with the trappings of a big-screen production.
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Jamestown Story’s latest is just too polished for its own good

December 26, 2012 in Duluth News Tribune

The music on Show Me Tomorrow, as perfect as it is, is like a piece of art glass with all the imperfections smoothed out. This collection of songs has been steam-cleaned, pressed, ironed, fussed with, tinkered with, considered, reconsidered and then considered again. Continue Reading

Cruise rises to the occasion as tough guy “Jack Reacher”

December 20, 2012 in Duluth News Tribune

MOVIE REVIEW: Whatever you think of Tom Cruise, you know he’s not 6 feet 5 and well over 200 pounds, which is the way author Lee Child describes his crime-solving/ justice-dispensing ex-military policeman, Jack Reacher.
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‘The Hobbit’ is a long, slow letdown

December 13, 2012 in Duluth News Tribune

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is not the worst film of the year, but it may be the most disappointing. Given the scope and grandeur of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” epics, we enter the theater justifiably expecting his new Tolkien adventure to thrill our socks off. Instead, you endure this monstrously overproduced misfire with the numb apathy of a prisoner slowly throwing a ball against a cell wall.
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Review: Rubber Chicken’s holiday revue full of solid laughs

December 7, 2012 in Duluth News Tribune

Rubber Chicken Theatre’s holiday revue, “A Flood of Christmas Cheer, or What Seal is This,” which opened Friday at Fitger’s Spirit of the North Theater, is a fast-paced, high-energy stream of comedy sketches with a higher-than-usual percentage of solid laughs. Continue Reading

Review: ‘Manhattan Nutcracker’ still a marvel

December 7, 2012 in Duluth News Tribune

This is my fourth time reviewing the Minnesota Ballet’s “Manhattan Nutcracker,” created by Allen Fields, which opened Friday night at the DECC. Believe it or not, I am still finding new things to marvel over in this production. Continue Reading

‘Killing Them Softly’ fades into a dark city

November 29, 2012 in Duluth News Tribune

“Killing Them Softly” begins with a George V. Higgins novel set in Boston in 1974 and moves its story to post-Katrina New Orleans in 2008, in order to allow televised speeches by Barack Obama, John McCain and George W. Bush to run frequently in the background. The facile point, I think, is that organized crime in America is troubled like the rest of the economy with a business slowdown and growing recession. It’s a good thing these crooks are in a lot of bars where the TV sets are tuned to
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