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items tagged with The Wizard of Oz

Mike’s Online-Only Movie Reviews - 2008
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-05-01 11:06:16

The AlpsThe Alps (not rated) - The people have chosen, and the people chose good. Last fall's winner of the Putnam Museum's "Everyone's a Critic" series - which follows climber John Harlin's attempts to scale the north face of the Eiger mountain, where his father perished in 1966 - is such a breathtaking spectacle that watching it makes you a little dizzy; not from the Eiger's treacherous inclines and precipitous drops, which are (enjoyably) vertigo-inducing enough, but from the dazzling visual rush provided by director Steve Judson and his remarkable team of camera operators. Judson re-creates Harlin's ascent with jaw-dropping skill - you'll fight the urge to blurt out "How on earth did they film that?!" repeatedly during The Alps' 45-minute running length - and he and his crew photograph the Swiss mountain ranges with crystalline perfection; I'm not sure any movie has ever looked better in IMAX format. When the film turns to matters of geology and the historic make-up of the mountains, things get a little stodgy, but you're quickly returned to the awe-inspiring vistas, an unexpectedly touching human element courtesy of Harlin and his understandably worried wife and daughter, and, believe it or not, a series of marvelously employed Queen tunes that - in this format, at least - suggest what the elevator ride to heaven would sound like.


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Fun in the Oven: "Baby Mama," "The Forbidden Kingdom," and "Deception"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-04-30 08:06:08

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in Baby MamaBABY MAMA

Despite its sunny, friendly veneer, there's a rather scrappy little war being waged within writer/director Michael McCullers' Baby Mama - one between a lighthearted, pleasant sitcom and a sharper, smarter, more cynical sitcom. (Two and a Half Men versus 30 Rock, as it were.) The former wins, and we could have predicted as much, but the best parts of this engaging buddy flick suggest the truly sparkling comedy it might have been, if only it weren't so eager to be ... well, lighthearted and pleasant.


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Green Party: A Beloved Venue Gets a Theatrical Make-Over as the Green Room
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2007-08-08 08:26:55

Jenny Winn, Christopher Thomas, and Sheri Hess in Into the Woods rehearsal So, fellow fans of the former Brew & View, there's good news and bad news:

The good news is that the building that housed this haven for independent releases (and those who love them) will once again be open for business.

The bad news is that it won't be screening independent movies. Or, for that matter, movies of any kind.

Yet while the hearts of film lovers might break, those of theatre lovers should rejoice, as Derek Bertelsen and Tyson Danner realize a live-entertainment dream with the August 10 unveiling of the Green Room, their new theatrical venue at 1611 Second Avenue in the District of Rock Island.


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Cut from Theatre Cloth: Broadway's Philip William McKinley Directs "Crème de Coco" at St. Ambrose
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2007-04-11 08:17:56

Phil McKinley For St. Ambrose University's forthcoming production of Crème de Coco - being performed at the Galvin Fine Arts Center from April 20 through 22 - the school recruited guest director Philip William McKinley to helm what will be the world premiere of William Luce's one-act play. During his area tenure, McKinley is also teaching an advanced acting course at St. Ambrose, and in a recent interview, the director explained why honesty is essential in eliciting the best work from performers:

"I think a lot of times, people tell them what they think they want to hear, rather than tell them what they really do need to hear. And if they know that you're telling them something to make them better, or for their own good, they're totally receptive to it."

That seems like a perfectly logical method for directing student actors. But, at this point in our conversation, McKinley wasn't referring to student actors. He was referring to Hugh Jackman.


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Lovin’ Summer, Had Me a Blast
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2006-12-20 09:31:03

"Cabaret" In the 11-week period between June 1 and August 12, I saw 28 area productions. And how did you spend your summer vacation?

Considering the overall great time I had last summer, though, I was hardly dreading this relentless schedule. I'd spent 10 whole months eagerly anticipating my return to the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre (CAST), Mt. Carroll's Timber Lake Playhouse, and - for Genesius Guild productions - Rock Island's Lincoln Park; the summer-theatre triad would be responsible for 17 of those 28 offerings. (Summer 2006 would also provide my introduction to Eldridge's Countryside Community Players, whose Cinderella I missed last year.)


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