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Posts about Openings + closings

Critics weigh in: 55 Film Festival reviews

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: March 31, 2014 - 11:16 AM


A still from the documentary "Afternoon of a Faun," about New York City Ballet great Tanaquil le Clercq.


Star Tribune writers and freelance contributors have been scanning advance copies of movies that are part of the Minneapolis-St.Paul International Film Festival. Their reviews are online now. The festival opens April 3 and runs through April 19, with more than 200 movies in all.

In reviews of 55 MSPIFF titles, our critics were, in general, enthusiastic. While they gave 4-star ratings (the highest) to just four movies, they handed out the coveted 3.5-star ratings to 13 films.

The movies that won four stars are: "Afternoon of a Faun," a documentary about legendary New York City Ballet dancer Tanaquil le Clercq; "Boyhood," a 12-year project of director Richard Linklater; "Flashback Memories," a music documentary in 3D about a Japanese didgeridoo player who suffered a brain injury; and the two-part crime saga from India, "Gangs of Wasseypur."

Here are the titles that won 3.5 stars:


Bicycling with Moliere

Blue Ruin



Concrete Night

Harmony Lessons

Ilo Ilo

Just a Sigh

Metro Manila

The Overnighters

The Trip to Italy


Gremlin gets its groove back

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: March 10, 2014 - 1:18 PM

Suzanne Warmanen, left, and Sara Richardson in "A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur."


Gremlin Theatre has turned lemons into lemonade for a production of "A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur." The small company had to shut down its run of the Tennessee Williams play last week at a St. Paul house rented from St. Clement's Episcopal church. Turns out the occupancy status of the house did not allow a theatrical production and negotiations with the city proved futile.

However, the show will go on, at Open Eye Figure Theatre in Minneapolis. Susan Haas, Open Eye's producing artistic director, offered Peter Hansen's company the use of an apartment space that is in the same building as Open Eye's theater. Hansen said the room, which Haas and Michael Sommers use as a workshop studio, will work perfectly. There's even a working kitchen in the back.

Jef Hall-Flavin directed the show, with a cast of Suzanne Warmanen, Sara Richardson, Jane Froiland and Noe Tallen. "Creve Coeur" is a late work from Williams that re-explores many of the themes of earlier plays. It's a one-act set in 1930's St. Louis.Hall-Flavin's production will move to the Williams festival in Provincetown, Mass., in September.

Gremlin's production opens at 7:30 Thursday and runs through the weekend (4 p.m. Sunday). The second week's performances run Wednesday through Sunday, with the same curtain times.

Go to gremlin-theatre.org for more information.

Flip Theatre debuts with "The Last Five Years"

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: November 8, 2013 - 10:46 AM

Last summer, a group of young actors/singers/musicians cobbled together their enthusiasm and put on a great production of "Hair" that captured the spirit of togetherness, community, comity so much intended by that show.

"The Last Five Years" is about as far from "Hair" as you can get, but the youngsters at Flip Theatre fill me with the same sense of hope and admiration. The poignant musical by Jason Robert Brown concludes this weekend at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage and it is worth seeing. Britta Ollmann and Bobby Gardner play Cathy and Jamie, who relate the ups and downs of their relationship from different angles. Jamie starts his story on the first day she shows up at Cathy's house with a bouquet of flowers. She starts by sitting on moving boxes as they are splitting up. Their paths only cross once, on the day of their wedding.

Flip's production rides on the shoulders of Jason Hansen's five-piece band and the big expressive voices of Ollmann and Gardner. John Lynn directs with a very clear eye toward the state of the relationship, the position of each character and how they intersect (or don't).  Gardner and Ollman really express the youth and joy of these young lovers -- an innocence that we hope never sours. Of course, it does and that is aching point of Brown's lovely little two-hander. I have seen this musical before, but it really landed here with young singers and a larger band.

I wish I would have seen this production earlier. It closes Sunday, but you can still get tickets. Go to  http://www.fliptheatre.org

Hautmans Wildlife Art show extended at Minnetonka Art Center

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: October 17, 2013 - 3:57 PM
Joe, Jim and Bob Hautman, Star Tribune photo by Kyndell Harkness

Joe, Jim and Bob Hautman, Star Tribune photo by Kyndell Harkness

Internationally known Minnesota wildlife artists Joe, Bob and Jim Hautman have proved so popular that the Minnetonka Center for the Arts is extending its show of their work through Tuesday, October 29. This adds three days to the exhibit which was originally scheduled to close October 26.

The brothers will also sign reproductions of their artwork at a public reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, October 24. Prints of their images will be available for purchase that evening.

Organized by architect Jim Dayton, the exhibit is the first in which the guys have shown their work together. It features about 100 paintings of birds, game animals (deer, bear, lions) and even pets plus sketches and photos of work in progress. Fans of their meticulously observed nature studies have an unprecedented opportunity to see original paintings that have been reproduced on thousands of popular duck stamps over more than 20 years. Read a Star Tribune review of the show here.

Together the three brothers have won an unprecedented 10 Federal Duck Stamp competitions. Sales of duck stamps, which are essentially federal hunting licenses for migratory waterfowl, raise about $25 million annually for the preservation of marshes and watersheds for migratory birds and human enjoyment.

Hank-ering for a Coen role

Posted by: Colin Covert Updated: October 3, 2013 - 6:47 PM

AP photo: Alex Brandon

Colin Hanks has signed on to costar in the FX cable network's reboot of "Fargo," executive produced by Joel and Ethan Coen. It's a move that might stir a bit of envy from his dad.

While in Chicago Wednesday publicizing "Captain Phillips," the piracy drama opening Oct. 11, Tom Hanks reminisced about playing a mad southern criminal with the glib tongue of a poet in the Coens' 2004 comedy "The Ladykillers." It was exhausting fun to play a character who unspools reams of florid dialog, he said, though he found himself envying his costars, who merely had to go through the motions of doing something silently in the background while he fillibustered his way through take after take.

Hanks praised the Coen's Minneapolis-lensed  "A Serious Man," declaring he'd love to work with them again. But after their only film together -- not a success -- it hasn't come up, he said. 

"Joel came to see the play I did in New York," the late Nora Ephron's "Lucky Guy," which earned Hanks his first Tony nomination.

"When he came backstage, I said, "What did I do? C'mon! Let me back. I want to come back in! I was in the ensemble company -- for one movie. Let me back!' Have you seen their new movie ['Inside Llewyn Davis'] about the folk singer? I could do that. I could fake my way through the same five guitar chords everyone else can."



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