1 “Stoker” is a stylish chiller about what happens when a man dies and his long-lost brother enters the picture, trying to woo both the widow and her 18-year-old daughter. Nicole Kidman’s performance is among her career-defining roles. Matthew Goode is diabolical as the suave, strangely unemotional interloper. But this is Mia Wasikowska’s film, her interpretation of youthful angst, confusion and romantic naiveté shading into something dark and dreadful. “Stoker” is mysterious, demanding, sometimes baffling and richly rewarding.
2 Since Rodney Crowell was a member of Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band in the 1970s, both have enjoyed distinguished careers in country and Americana. Their stellar new collaboration, “Old Yellow Moon,” is mostly about aging gracefully and nobly. This is old-time organic, soulful country music for older folk. Nothing is more touching and fitting than the elegantly wistful piano ballad “Back When We Were Beautiful.” There’s lots of reflection and some regret on this album, but Harris’ sweet, gauzy voice and Crowell’s warm cup-of-tea croon go together like old love.
3 When Rick Shiomi wrote “Yellow Fever,” in 1982, neither the Canadian nor the U.S. governments had apologized for sending Japanese-Americans to internment camps. Thirty years later, apologies have been made, but Shiomi’s play still carries a historic message and mixes righteous anger with a noirish sense of ironic humor. The remounting of this story about a 1940s kidnapping, cops and a newspaper reporter is at the Guthrie. www.muperformingarts.org
4 It’s hard to imagine living enthusiastically when you know you are dying. But this is the theme — and heart — behind Susan Spencer-Wendel’s memoir “Until I Say Good-bye: My Year of Living With Joy.” A veteran Florida journalist, she was diagnosed with Gehrig’s disease at 44. She quit her job, traveled with her beloved family, and wrote. As her condition grew worse, she tapped her manuscript on her iPhone with her thumb. It sounds maudlin, depressing, awful — but somehow it is not. Her voice is practical and wise, occasionally humorous, never self-pitying.
5 In “Print Profs,” 17 talented art professors from 14 colleges throughout Minnesota apply their expressive skills to subjects as varied as darkened landscapes (Heidi Goldberg), slave transport and history (Fred Hagstrom), conceptual romance (Lynn Bollman), political pollution (Ruthann Godollei) and color blindness (Rick Love and Heather Nameth Bren). And there’s much more in this smart display of etchings, lithographs and screen prints. www.highpointprintmaking.org
Poll: Which remaining 2013 show interests you most in Hennepin Theatre Trust's Broadway season?