Steve Walker http://kcur.org en Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' July 3 - 6 http://kcur.org/post/dates-indie-foreign-doc-critics-three-see-july-3-6 <p style="padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); line-height: 22px; font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; vertical-align: baseline;"><em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; vertical-align: baseline;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 1.5; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 14px;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><a href="http://kcur.org/programs/date" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; color: rgb(12, 76, 162); vertical-align: baseline;">Up to Dat Thu, 03 Jul 2014 18:05:43 +0000 Hannah Copeland & Steve Walker & Cynthia Haines 58339 at http://kcur.org Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' July 3 - 6 Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' June 27 http://kcur.org/post/dates-indie-foreign-doc-critics-three-see-june-27 <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><em><a href="http://kcur.org/programs/date">Up to Date</a></em>'s independent, foreign and documentary film critics share their favorites showing on area screens:</p><p><strong>Cynthia Haines:</strong></p><ul><li>Chef</li><li>Belle</li><li>Ida (English subtitles)</li></ul><p><strong>Steve Walker:</strong></p><ul><li><a href="http://kcur.org/post/film-review-woo-big-factory-tiny-village-plots-grand-seduction" target="_blank">The Grand Seduction</a></li><li>Ida</li><li>Cold in July</li></ul> Sat, 28 Jun 2014 08:10:07 +0000 Danie Alexander & Steve Walker & Cynthia Haines 58076 at http://kcur.org Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' June 27 Film Review: To Woo A Big Factory, Tiny Village Plots 'The Grand Seduction' http://kcur.org/post/film-review-woo-big-factory-tiny-village-plots-grand-seduction <p>When independent films feature a small town and a huge corporation at their core, they are usually depicted as foes like David and Goliath – the good and the average against the lumbering giant.</p><p>"Local Hero" from 1983 comes to mind, as does<em>&nbsp;"</em>Promised Land," the recent movie about fracking in the Midwest.<em>&nbsp;"</em>The Grand Seduction<em>,"&nbsp;</em>however, reverses that formula, proving that the battle lines aren’t always drawn that cleanly.</p> Fri, 27 Jun 2014 17:05:47 +0000 Steve Walker 57759 at http://kcur.org Film Review: To Woo A Big Factory, Tiny Village Plots 'The Grand Seduction' 4 Films To See At The Kansas City LGBT Film Festival This Weekend http://kcur.org/post/4-films-see-kansas-city-lgbt-film-festival-weekend <p></p><p>As the march toward full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in America advances at varying speeds, there remains a sense that the LGBT community can still be marginalized in the movies. That's what makes film festivals like <em>Out Here Now</em> so relevant to the LGBT communities and their staunch allies.</p> Tue, 24 Jun 2014 15:00:00 +0000 Steve Walker 57393 at http://kcur.org 4 Films To See At The Kansas City LGBT Film Festival This Weekend From Page To Park: Controlling The Chaos And Finding A Rhythm http://kcur.org/post/page-park-controlling-chaos-and-finding-rhythm <p>For more than two decades, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival has turned Southmoreland Park into a place where Hamlet posed questions, Macbeth’s witches toiled and troubled, and Romeo and Juliet professed their love. This year’s production of <em>The Winter’s Tale</em>, one of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays, will come to life thanks to like-minded artists whose collective goal is to make the play leap effortlessly <em>From Page To Park</em>.</p><p><strong>Getting started</strong></p> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 13:00:00 +0000 Steve Walker 57091 at http://kcur.org From Page To Park: Controlling The Chaos And Finding A Rhythm Film Review: 'Night Moves' A Morality Tale Where Environmental Activism Turns Deadly http://kcur.org/post/film-review-night-moves-morality-tale-where-environmental-activism-turns-deadly <p>In Kelly Reichardt’s astonishingly good thriller <em>Night Moves</em>, a trio of environmental activists gets trapped in a political and deadly morass of their own making. Played by Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard, they demonstrate to a fault what happens when passion for a cause is trumped by human frailty.</p> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 11:28:00 +0000 Steve Walker 56925 at http://kcur.org Film Review: 'Night Moves' A Morality Tale Where Environmental Activism Turns Deadly Film Review: In East Texas, Blood Runs 'Cold In July' http://kcur.org/post/film-review-east-texas-blood-runs-cold-july <p>There's a deliberate seediness to the Texas noir<em> Cold in July </em>that makes it both entertaining and calculating. Directed by Jim Mickle, it stars Michael C. Hall as Richard, an ordinary man around whom extraordinarily violent things happen, all triggered by an act of self-defense that leaves a home intruder dead and his living room splattered with brain matter like a Jackson Pollock.</p> Fri, 30 May 2014 11:00:00 +0000 Steve Walker 56458 at http://kcur.org Film Review: In East Texas, Blood Runs 'Cold In July' Film Review: Embedded With U.S. Troops Fighting In 'The Hornet's Nest' http://kcur.org/post/film-review-embedded-us-troops-fighting-hornets-nest <p>For all the comic book mayhem thrust on summer movie audiences, there’s never a sense that anything’s at stake besides how much money the studios will bank. That’s what makes the new documentary<em> The Hornet’s Nest</em> – a movie about a real war, not one constructed of computer graphics - essential viewing to people crying out for substance.</p> Fri, 23 May 2014 11:58:00 +0000 Steve Walker 56092 at http://kcur.org Film Review: Embedded With U.S. Troops Fighting In 'The Hornet's Nest' Frida Kahlo Comes Alive In The Living Room's 'Frida...A Self Portrait' http://kcur.org/post/frida-kahlo-comes-alive-living-rooms-fridaa-self-portrait <p></p><p>Much like Vincent Van Gogh, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo wasn’t famous in her own lifetime. A new play at The Living Room examines the artist's trials and tribulations, especially a series of tragic events that would have daunted many people but actually motivated her to paint in the first place.</p><p>Kahlo had a look as distinctive as her art. In a series of self-portraits, she emits a piercing stare from beneath an arched unibrow and a crown of braids. And her work has found the acclaim that eluded her in life.</p><p><strong>Picture perfect</strong></p> Wed, 07 May 2014 10:30:00 +0000 Steve Walker 55241 at http://kcur.org Frida Kahlo Comes Alive In The Living Room's 'Frida...A Self Portrait' Film Review: 'Finding Vivian Maier' Opens A Lens On Gifted And Mysterious Photographer http://kcur.org/post/film-review-finding-vivian-maier-opens-lens-gifted-and-mysterious-photographer <p>By their very nature, photographs are loaded with backstory. There's the image itself, deemed important in a moment that becomes frozen for eternity.</p><p>And there's the person who snapped the picture, for reasons that are as personal as they are mysterious.</p><p>In the fascinating new documentary<em> Finding Vivian Maier</em>, the title character's exceptional photographs are brought to light after years of being hidden away from any and all scrutiny.</p> Fri, 02 May 2014 13:10:00 +0000 Steve Walker 54704 at http://kcur.org Film Review: 'Finding Vivian Maier' Opens A Lens On Gifted And Mysterious Photographer Film Review: New Lars Von Trier Film Chronicles The Making Of A 'Nymphomaniac' http://kcur.org/post/film-review-new-lars-von-trier-film-chronicles-making-nymphomaniac <p><em>Nymphomaniac: Volumes I and II&nbsp;</em>may be the most sexually explicit coming-of-age movie ever seen outside an adult book store. But to call it pornography would minimize and tarnish its cinematic worth.</p><p>Like most of Lars von Trier’s films, it’s provocative, audacious, weird, challenging, and hypnotizing – sometimes all at once.</p> Fri, 25 Apr 2014 11:50:00 +0000 Steve Walker 54574 at http://kcur.org Film Review: New Lars Von Trier Film Chronicles The Making Of A 'Nymphomaniac' Four Penetrating Documentaries Highlighted At 2014 Kansas City FilmFest http://kcur.org/post/four-penetrating-documentaries-highlighted-2014-kansas-city-filmfest <p>Film festival curators work diligently to give audiences an eclectic menu with as much breadth and depth as possible. The 2014 edition of the <a href="http://kcfilmfest.org/">Kansas City FilmFest</a> offers dozens of experimental, animated, and even “Afrofuturist” short films, as well as narrative comedies and dramas hoping to generate buzz. But from the offerings previewed by this writer, the strength of this year’s festival rests on its documentaries.</p> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 16:57:12 +0000 Steve Walker 53459 at http://kcur.org Four Penetrating Documentaries Highlighted At 2014 Kansas City FilmFest 'War Horse' Salutes World War I's Equine Brigade http://kcur.org/post/war-horse-salutes-world-war-equine-brigade <p>The <a href="http://theworldwar.org/">National World War I Museum</a>, housed at the base of the Liberty Memorial, is this year marking the 100th anniversary of the start of that war. By pure coincidence, the national tour of the Tony Award-winning play <em>War Horse</em> arrives at the Music Hall next month, creating a rare convergence of history and theatricality in Kansas City.</p><p><strong>Confounding the skeptics</strong></p> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 12:51:21 +0000 Steve Walker 52659 at http://kcur.org 'War Horse' Salutes World War I's Equine Brigade Film Review: 'Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me' Is Broadway History In Black Tights http://kcur.org/post/film-review-elaine-stritch-shoot-me-broadway-history-black-tights <p>It's not often that a New York City institution actually leaves the city. But such was the case last year when 89-year-old Broadway legend Elaine Stritch returned to her Michigan hometown after some 60-plus years making any show, movie or television series she appeared in better than it would have been without her.</p> Fri, 14 Mar 2014 14:00:00 +0000 Steve Walker 52553 at http://kcur.org Film Review: 'Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me' Is Broadway History In Black Tights UMKC Theater Design Students Draw Inspiration From Visiting Artists http://kcur.org/post/umkc-theater-design-students-draw-inspiration-visiting-artists <p>For the past 16 years, University of Missouri-Kansas City graduate students in <a href="http://www.umkctheatre.org/">theater design</a> have participated in an intensive professional training exercise called a charette. Visiting artists from the profession visit the university&nbsp;to both encourage and critique the students, who are given five days to design the set, costumes or lighting for a production that will never really open.</p><p><strong>Drawing inspiration</strong></p> Thu, 13 Mar 2014 10:00:00 +0000 Steve Walker 52107 at http://kcur.org UMKC Theater Design Students Draw Inspiration From Visiting Artists Film Review: Three Wildly Different Restaurants Profiled In 'Spinning Plates' http://kcur.org/post/film-review-three-wildly-different-restaurants-profiled-spinning-plates <p>Every restaurant prides itself on its distinct vibe. But Joseph Levy’s surprisingly moving documentary <a href="http://www.spinningplatesmovie.com/"><em>Spinning Plates</em></a> discovers a mutual truth: whether you’re running a taqueria with a drive-through or an expensive restaurant gunning for a Michelin star, there are similar motives and emotions behind and on the table.</p> Fri, 07 Mar 2014 15:00:00 +0000 Steve Walker 52118 at http://kcur.org Film Review: Three Wildly Different Restaurants Profiled In 'Spinning Plates' 'Dracula' Choreographer On The Beauty And Danger Of The Count http://kcur.org/post/dracula-choreographer-beauty-and-danger-count <p>It's been nearly 120 years since the publication of Bram Stoker's gothic novel <em>Dracula</em>. But his tale of the Count, who stalks living creatures and survives on their blood, continues to this day to be interpreted and popularized in theater, television, film, and dance. This season, the Kansas City Ballet is staging choreographer Michael Pink's <em>Dracula</em>, based on Stoker's classic work.</p> Fri, 21 Feb 2014 18:54:06 +0000 Julie Denesha, Steve Walker & Laura Spencer 51609 at http://kcur.org 'Dracula' Choreographer On The Beauty And Danger Of The Count Film Review: French Classic Of Family Betrayal Told 'In Secret' http://kcur.org/post/film-review-french-classic-family-betrayal-told-secret <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Jessica Lange has been absent from the movie screens of late, focusing on chewing up the scenery on the small screen for three seasons of the FX series </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">American Horror Story</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p> Fri, 21 Feb 2014 14:00:00 +0000 Steve Walker 51514 at http://kcur.org Film Review: French Classic Of Family Betrayal Told 'In Secret' Kansas City Ballet's 'Dracula' Visits The Dark Side http://kcur.org/post/kansas-city-ballets-dracula-visits-dark-side <p>Many ballets often depend on the concept of tension, whether in the muscles of the dancers or the story itself. That may be even more evident in the Kansas City Ballet's production of <em>Dracula</em>, opening this Friday.</p><p>In bringing the iconic character to the stage, the company is venturing to its dark side with a production that is the first in the Ballet's history to come with parental discretion advised.&nbsp;</p> Wed, 19 Feb 2014 11:00:00 +0000 Steve Walker & Julie Denesha 51165 at http://kcur.org Kansas City Ballet's 'Dracula' Visits The Dark Side Film Review: 'A Separation' Director Unearths Complexities Of 'The Past' http://kcur.org/post/film-review-separation-director-unearths-complexities-past <p>At the 84th <a href="http://oscar.go.com/">Academy Awards</a> in February 2012, the worlds of director Asghar Farhadi and actress Bérénice Bejo were serendipitously in synch. He won the Oscar for best foreign language film for Iran's <em>A Separation, </em>and she was nominated for<em> The Artist</em>, which went on to win Best Picture. Now their careers thrillingly converge in his extraordinary follow-up film<em> The Past</em>.</p> Fri, 14 Feb 2014 15:00:00 +0000 Steve Walker 51219 at http://kcur.org Film Review: 'A Separation' Director Unearths Complexities Of 'The Past' Meet The Mean Girls From Salem, Massachusetts, Circa 1692 http://kcur.org/post/meet-mean-girls-salem-massachusetts-circa-1692 <p></p><p>For more than three centuries, Salem, Mass., has been linked to the infamous witch trials. In 1692, at least 20 men and women died after being convicted of witchcraft; it was then considered a crime punishable by death. Hundreds more faced accusations.</p><p>A new production at the Coterie Theatre, <em>Afflicted: Daughters of Salem,</em> provides the story behind the girls — the accusers, who started it all.</p><p><em>Afflicted</em> is written by Laurie Brooks, a longtime Coterie collaborator. She says the play is "not easy. It’s subtle, it’s complex. It's about relationships."</p> Fri, 31 Jan 2014 14:29:35 +0000 Laura Spencer & Steve Walker 50469 at http://kcur.org Meet The Mean Girls From Salem, Massachusetts, Circa 1692 Film Review: A Family's Heirlooms Are Spite And Malice in 'August: Osage County' http://kcur.org/post/film-review-familys-heirlooms-are-spite-and-malice-august-osage-county <p>If done well, movies about dysfunctional families are able to elegantly dance that fine line between humor and pain. <em>Terms of Endearment</em> succeeded at finding that balance, as does the film adaptation of Tracy Letts's Pulitzer Prize-winning play <em>August: Osage County</em>, where an unplanned death reopens life-long yet still festering wounds. The Weston clan of Osage County, Okla., must have a family tree that looks like a weeping willow. It is headed up by Beverly (Sam Shepard), a college lecturer and occasional poet, and his poly-addicted wife, Violet (Meryl Streep), who personifies how pills came to be known as mother’s little helpers. Of their three grown daughters, only Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) has stuck close to home; Barbara (Julia Roberts) and Karen (Juliette Lewis) long ago picked up stakes for relationships by turn strained or serially monogamous.</p><p> Fri, 10 Jan 2014 14:42:00 +0000 Steve Walker 49387 at http://kcur.org Film Review: A Family's Heirlooms Are Spite And Malice in 'August: Osage County' Film Review: Even In Spiritual Decline, Rome Remains 'The Great Beauty' http://kcur.org/post/film-review-even-spiritual-decline-rome-remains-great-beauty <p>Throughout Paolo Sorrentino’s exuberant and strange film <em>The Great Beauty</em>,&nbsp; a 65-year-old writer whose only hit novel was published 40 years prior struggles with his own reputation and mortality, as well as that of his beloved Rome, Italy. According to Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo) and his jaded circle of friends, Rome is over and done – finito. As one of his friends says, the only decent people left in Rome are the tourists.</p> Fri, 03 Jan 2014 12:00:00 +0000 Steve Walker 48955 at http://kcur.org Film Review: Even In Spiritual Decline, Rome Remains 'The Great Beauty' Film Review: 'The Punk Singer' Who Influenced Rock Stars More Famous Than Her http://kcur.org/post/film-review-punk-singer-who-influenced-rock-stars-more-famous-her <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">On the basis of </span>Sini<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> Anderson's enlightening and electric documentary </span><a href="http://www.thepunksinger.com/" style="line-height: 1.5;"><em>The Punk Singer</em></a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, many will come to consider its subject, Kathleen Hanna, one of the most influential musicians they've never heard of. But they can't walk away forgetting her.</span></p> Fri, 20 Dec 2013 12:00:00 +0000 Steve Walker 48333 at http://kcur.org Film Review: 'The Punk Singer' Who Influenced Rock Stars More Famous Than Her Film Review: Alex Gibney Documentary Unravels 'The Armstrong Lie' http://kcur.org/post/film-review-alex-gibney-documentary-unravels-armstrong-lie <p>The documentary Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney started to make in 2009 about Lance Armstrong ended up being something else entirely. Called <em>The Armstrong Lie</em>, the film contains footage that was shot as recently as May 2013, including the minutes following Armstrong’s confessional but smug and non-contrite interview with Oprah Winfrey.</p> Fri, 13 Dec 2013 13:00:00 +0000 Steve Walker 48176 at http://kcur.org Film Review: Alex Gibney Documentary Unravels 'The Armstrong Lie' The Living Room's 'Writer's Den' Giving Voice To Emerging Local Playwrights http://kcur.org/post/living-rooms-writers-den-giving-voice-emerging-local-playwrights <p></p><p>It's the dream of playwrights everywhere to see their words make the leap from the page to the stage. The Crossroads venue known as <a href="http://www.thelivingroomkc.com">The Living Room </a>is currently helping young writers build that bridge with a project called The Writer's Den.</p><p><strong>Widening the spotlight </strong></p> Wed, 11 Dec 2013 11:00:00 +0000 Steve Walker 48047 at http://kcur.org The Living Room's 'Writer's Den' Giving Voice To Emerging Local Playwrights Unicorn Theatre's 'Clybourne Park' Looks Into A House Divided http://kcur.org/post/unicorn-theatres-clybourne-park-looks-house-divided <p></p><p>This week, the <a href="http://www.unicorntheatre.org">Unicorn Theatre </a>opens the play <em>Clybourne Park</em>, which has the distinction of winning the 2012 <a href="http://www.tonyawards.com">Tony Award</a> for Best Play and the <a href="http://www.pulitzer.org">Pulitzer Prize.</a> Its two acts take place in the same house 50 years apart, and examine with equal humor and drama all the varying shades within the phrase, "There goes the neighborhood."</p><p><strong>A house divided</strong></p> Wed, 04 Dec 2013 11:00:00 +0000 Steve Walker 47640 at http://kcur.org Unicorn Theatre's 'Clybourne Park' Looks Into A House Divided Film Review: In 'Philomena,' The Cruelties Of Youth Are Forgiven http://kcur.org/post/film-review-philomena-cruelties-youth-are-forgiven <p>In Stephen Frears' heartfelt and moving <em>Philomena</em>, the most effective shots are among the simplest a filmmaker can employ: tight close-ups. In this case, the camera’s focus is on the furrowed, and inspiringly lived-in face of the great Judi Dench. Playing a woman who longs to discover the whereabouts of the son taken from her when she was a teenager, Dench gives the title character a strength and resolve that has gotten her through the fifty years since she last saw her son.</p> Wed, 27 Nov 2013 11:19:00 +0000 Steve Walker 46986 at http://kcur.org Film Review: In 'Philomena,' The Cruelties Of Youth Are Forgiven Film Review: 'Dallas Buyers Club' Becomes A Haven For People With AIDS In The 1980s http://kcur.org/post/film-review-dallas-buyers-club-becomes-haven-people-aids-1980s <p>In 1985, just a handful of years into the AIDS epidemic, if someone appeared gaunt, splotchy, and paper-thin, it was suspected that they had contracted HIV. Though gay men made up a large percentage of those infected, the virus was transmitted via body fluids like blood and semen - with no regards to sexual orientation. Still, any man who contracted HIV during that Age of Ignorance was branded a contagious homosexual. As was Ron Woodroof, the profligately heterosexual rodeo cowboy robustly played by Matthew McConaughey in <em>Dallas Buyers Club.</em></p> Fri, 22 Nov 2013 12:00:00 +0000 Steve Walker 47031 at http://kcur.org Film Review: 'Dallas Buyers Club' Becomes A Haven For People With AIDS In The 1980s Hanukkah Celebrated By Paul Mesner Puppets At Jewish Community Center http://kcur.org/post/hanukkah-celebrated-paul-mesner-puppets-jewish-community-center <p></p> Thu, 21 Nov 2013 13:51:23 +0000 Steve Walker 46983 at http://kcur.org Hanukkah Celebrated By Paul Mesner Puppets At Jewish Community Center