Scene Stealers

'The Theory of Everything' a major disappointment; 'It's A Wonderful Life' at Liberty Hall

Eric Melin

The opening scene of **“The Theory of Everything”** tells you all you need to know about the film. Two young Cambridge students, Stephen and Jane, are at a gathering and they see each other from across the room. They both ask the person they are with about the other and ...

Hunger Games and the Serialization of Hollywood — Parts 1 and 2

Eric Melin

The first thing I thought coming out of **“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1”** is that it isn’t much of a movie. I don’t mean that the production isn’t professional or that it doesn’t look like a movie — it just doesn't feel like one. It's the worst recent ...

John Cleese and the silliness of everything

Eric Melin

“The idea that the world can become a sensible place is ridiculous,” said **John Cleese** during a 90-minute conversation onstage at The Midland Theatre on Wednesday evening. Coming from Cleese, a founding member of British sketch comedy troupe Monty Python, this statement could be taken as a formal creed of ...

Noir City Kansas City celebrates the dark side

Eric Melin

The term “film noir” often conjures up black-and-white images of boozy detectives pointing their guns and beautiful femme fatales smoking cigarettes in the shadows. But the films in this uniquely American genre are more than that, and they hold up especially well today. [Film Noir Foundation][1] president and founder **Eddie ...

'Interstellar' unforgettable but flawed

Eric Melin

**Christopher Nolan**, the filmmaker most often credited with making modern blockbuster films that tackle big themes and require grown-up thought (“The Dark Knight,” “Inception”), reaches for his inner Spielberg with “Interstellar.” What the writer/director achieves is a sci-fi epic that pushes the boundaries on the scientific theory side of the ...

The unexpected virtue of 'Birdman'

Eric Melin

They say that one of the best ways to combat stage fright is to imagine the entire audience naked, so it’s no surprise that **“Birdman”** — a waking nightmare about a Hollywood has-been who used to play a Batman-like superhero onscreen — features a similar scene, only one where the ...

A Halloween comedy tradition comes to Liberty Hall big screen

Eric Melin

The ongoing Film Church series at [Liberty Hall][1] rolls on this month with three screenings on Sunday of **Mel Brooks**’ comedy classic **“Young Frankenstein,”** a movie that brings a personal Halloween tradition for Maggie Allen, cinema and video store manager, into the public, albeit five days early. No matter where ...

Spoiler alert: 'Gone Girl' is gussied-up trash!

Eric Melin

I knew this movie wouldn’t go away. On its opening weekend, I issued my [spoiler-free review][1] of director **David Fincher’s “Gone Girl,”** based on the novel by **Gillian Flynn.** I knew as soon as I saw the film that it would be the movie everyone *had* to see, and three ...

Arts Center hosting tribute to bizarre cult film 'Phantom of the Paradise'

Eric Melin

Lawrence musician Jeremy Sidener has always been interested in fringe culture, which in the pre-Internet days, was wherever one could find it. Growing up in Olathe the 1980s, he would make regular road trips to the now-iconic Lawrence punk-rock shack The Outhouse. When he got to stay up late, he ...

'Frank' puts a face on the creative process

Eric Melin

Frank, the fringe musician who never takes off his giant papier-mache head (played by **Michael Fassbender**), isn’t going to kowtow to the rules, and neither does **“Frank”** the movie, opening Friday at [Liberty Hall][1]. Directed by **Lenny Abrahamson** and written by **Jon Ronson** and **Peter Straughan**, “Frank” is loosely based ...

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