A Master Builder (2014)

  Sometimes it’s best to ignore the source of an adaptation and let the new work stand on its own. That works well with this excellent new adaptation of the 1893 Henrik Ibsen play “The Master Builder,” converted to film in modern dress as “A Master Builder” by Wallace Shawn  ...

Pygmalion, Cal Shakes

Once upon a time there was a Greek sculptor who, so legend has it, created a statue so beautiful that he fell madly in love with it and, with the help of the omnipresent gods, infused her with life. Trouble is, the living Galatea — for so the lovely creature  ...

Ed Paschke Art Center, Chicago

  The work of a Chicago artist who won national and international fame is settled in at a small museum on the far northwest side of Chicago, the neighborhood where he grew up. Ed Paschke, whose vividly colored and brilliantly grotesque paintings are part of the collections of major American  ...

Quartet, San Diego

The premise for "Quartet" seems custom-made for a hilarious evening. Four former opera stars, with long histories, come together to spend their final years in an artist’s home. They share lost glories, simmering resentments and dark secrets. Unfortunately, "Quartet" promises more than it delivers, offering tantalizing mysteries that ultimately underwhelm.  ...

Midnight Express (1978)

   British director Alan Parker’s 1978 film, "Midnight Express," based upon a non-fiction book, by William Hayes and William Hoffer, was considered somewhat controversial upon its release, but looking back on it, over three decades later, one has to wonder what all the controversy was about? Oh my, it portrayed  ...

A Five Star Life (Viaggio Sola) (2013)

        “A Five Star Life” is an intelligent, well-acted, subtle film, with a story line that is quite rare — it’s about a perfectly happy 40-ish single woman. The splendid Margherita Buy plays the attractive, self-assured Irene, whose enviable profession is critiquing five-star  ...

Juan Siddi Flamenco

Juan Siddi Flamenco won a kind of unofficial genius grant this year. After six years dancing six nights a week at a Santa Fe tablao during high season, he and his company were acquired, basically, by Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. In practical terms, that means just four, count-em, four appearances  ...

The Jungle

In a space the size of my bedroom, Oracle Theatre slaughters and carves up cattle, fights for workers’ rights, celebrates a wedding, worships at Christmas, and dies in childbirth. And with rolls of paper and paint, they conjure believable scenes of life in Chicago’s Packingtown a century ago. (Take that,  ...

Ether Dome, San Diego

Faced with the prospect of surgery, most of us consider the cost to our wallet and the inconvenience of recovery to our lifestyle. It would never cross our mind that agony, in the form of excruciating pain on the operating room table, is part of the bargain. But that’s exactly  ...