Stoker @ The Ross

Evelyn Stoker (Nicole Kidman) and Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode)

Evelyn Stoker (Nicole Kidman) and Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode)

Pity on Evelyn Stoker, played with controlled anguish and a sigh by Nicole Kidman. Her daughter India Stoker, played by Mia Wasikowska, grew up a daddy’s girl and is intrigued by her uncle Charlie. These facts torment Evelyn. “Weren’t you supposed to love me?” she wails to her daughter at one point.

Uncle Charlie, played with sinister boyish charm by Matthew Goode, is Evelyn’s foil from whom she tries to wrestle her daughter’s devotion.

India Stoker comes of age under Uncle Charlie's guidance.

India Stoker comes of age under Uncle Charlie’s guidance.

Stoker, Chan-Wook Park’s U.S. directorial debut, is a cautionary tale. Evelyn should have conducted a background check on Uncle Charlie who suddenly comes a’callin after her husband’s death—a death that swings the door wide open for Uncle Charlie to swoop into the home and to work his … uhm … magic.

Beware of Uncle Charlie. Anyone who protects India simply is … banished!

Chan-Wook Park delivers a strikingly uncanny film; yet, don’t be surprised if you fight the urge to yell at the screen, “get on with the story, will you?”

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Stoker plays through April 11 at the Ross Media Arts Center in Lincoln.

Like Someone in Love, the story of an unlikely attraction directed by Abbas Kiarostami and starring Rin Takanaski and Tadaski Okuno is showing at the Ross through April 4.

Abridged Audio version from Friday Live! at the Mill @ 13:53 http://tinyurl.com/dyum2ul

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Koch @ The Ross

Ed Koch

Ed Koch

“Whenever I would fly home … there was the city of New York … And I thought … this belongs to me. Thank you God.” The incomparable Edward Irving “Ed” Koch loved New York City with abandon. The former Mayor is the subject of Neil Barsky’s documentary simply named Koch. We know his signature taglines, “How’m I doin’?” or “None of your fucking business” to questions on his sexuality or “No! The people threw me out, now they must be punished” on his defeat to Mayor David Dinkins in 1990. Along the way, Barsky sprinkles in ‘Koch’ a study in the yearning to be liked, recognized, and appreciated by a fickle public.

Koch's beloved city, New York

Koch’s beloved city, New York

The pugnacious city of New York is the backdrop, and Barsky plays the story well as he moves through the crags and crevices in the life of this controversial political figure. Bella Abzug, Mario Cuomo and Bess Meyerson, his companion in the 1970s, among others, make appearances, along with high-profile events, most notable, the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and the 1989 murder of Yusef Hawkins in Brooklyn. Barsky decorously illustrates Koch’s formal engagement then marriage to politics forming a sturdy couple that endured for better or worse; yet, one cannot help but to want to strangle Koch’s better half to get to Koch, the man. Koch’s history in politics, however, is overwhelming—even tedious–and the Mayor’s fidelity to his lifelong partner leave Barsky no choice but to cram it all in.

Koch plays through March 21 at the Ross Media Arts Center in Lincoln.

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Audio version from Friday Live! at the Mill @ 39:47 http://tinyurl.com/c88fdlq

The Kitchen @ The Ross

Sisters Jennifer (Laura Prepon) and Penny (Dreama Walker) having a conversation about life.

Sisters Jennifer (Laura Prepon) and Penny (Dreama Walker) having a conversation about life.

Jennifer Parker is distressed, and it is no wonder. Paul, her ex-boyfriend, cheated on her with two of the women who are celebrating her 30th birthday; one of the women gives her earrings as a present out of guilt; her name is misspelled on her birthday cake; she’s unemployed and wants to open an art gallery featuring an artist whom no one appreciates; she feels unattractive; and, among other things, her sister, Penny, may have an abortion.

Paul (Bryan Greenberg)

Paul (Bryan Greenberg)

All of these ingredients stir the pot in Ishai Setton’s ensemble feature The Kitchen.

Laura Prepon is endearing as Jennifer, and she sensitively walks the line between pessimism and hopeful expectancy in the awareness of this 30th turning point in her life. Dreama Walker, plays her adorable but mildly sarcastic sister Penny, who, even in her sarcasm, betrays a sliver of embarrassment and vulnerability as a single pregnant young woman. Jennifer’s and Penny’s conversations generate provocative insights into what it means to be at a crossroads not knowing what the future holds.

The audience will thank Jim Beggarly profusely for the script since the film’s score by American Indie rock band, Fun. will gnaw you to the bone!

The Kitchen plays through March 21 at the Ross Media Arts Center in Lincoln.

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Abridged Audio version from Friday Live! at the Mill @ 41:52 http://tinyurl.com/c88fdlq

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