Dave Luhrssen

Film Critic

David Luhrssen is arts and entertainment editor of the Shepherd Express, co-founder of the Milwaukee International Film Festival and co-author of A Time of Paradox: America Since 1890. He is the winner of the Pace Setter Award for contributions to Milwaukee's film community from the Milwaukee Independent Film Society. David Luhrssen has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and Milwaukee Area Technical College.

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Focus Features

Since releasing She's Gotta Have It in 1986, director Spike Lee has been a formidable name in the film landscape. His films challenge the status quo and highlight problems in America, and in black America, all while gripping audiences with heightened reality and strong casting to deliver his directorial voice.

Focus Features

If you grew up watching public television, the sound of a piano's ascending chords and the ding of a trolley bell may take you back to the land of "Make Believe" and into the television home of Fred Rogers. Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood began in 1968 and continuously aired first-run shows for more than 30 years.

You wouldn’t expect that a program with a soft-spoken and gentle man in a zip up cardigan playing with puppets would have touched so many people, but generations came to know Mr. Rogers as an essential part of their lives, early education, and childhood.

Photo by Jonathan Olley/Jonathan Olley /Lucasfilm Ltd. / 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd.2018 - Lucasfilm Ltd.

Movie fans and film critics alike are perhaps feeling a little anxious for Solo: A Star Wars Story to be released on the big screen. During its rocky production, Solo saw a change of directors from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller to veteran filmmaker Ron Howard (which came with months of re-shoots).

Bleeker Street Media

 

With a title like Disobedience, you might expect a film full of intense conflict. And while there is certainly conflict, it's much more internal -  at times quietly reflected through the lives of the main characters.

 

Marvel Studios

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that the 19th installment in the Marvel universe is on screens around the world.  Avengers: Infinity War recently became the fastest movie to earn one billion dollars.

It is jampacked with everyone’s favorite superheroes -  Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther...  But do those epic proportions work to the advantage or the detriment of the story at the heart of the film? 

Paramount Pictures

Many science fiction movies qualify as visual spectacles, but there are only a select few that bring up the essential question of what it means to be human.

Alex Garland has been a novelist since the 1980s and emerged to mainstream audiences as a formidable science fiction screenwriter and director with Ex Machina four years ago.

Both that film and his latest, Annihilation, leave audiences pondering far after the credits roll.

Christopher Polk / Getty Images Entertainment

This weekend marks the 90th Academy Awards – or what Lake Effect’s Audrey Nowakowski and Milwaukee film critics Ryan Jay and Dave Luhrssen call the Super Bowl of film!

Come Sunday evening, the Motion Picture Academy will announce their verdicts for best film, best actor, best actress, and best director of 2017. Among the top films up for awards are The Shape of Water, Dunkirk, Get Out, and Lady Bird – a testament to how broad the genres and film topics are this year.

Who do you think will win best picture?

20th Century Fox

A few years ago, the film The Post may have been simply another historical drama by director Steven Spielberg. However, today’s political climate has eerie parallels with the time surrounding the “Pentagon Papers” in the early 1970s. In fact, Spielberg thought making this movie was so important, he wrapped production in nine months.

A24 Films

From Rebel Without a Cause, to The Breakfast Club, to 10 Things I Hate About You, coming-of-age movies have been around for almost as long as the film industry.

Warner Bros. Pictures

When Ridely Scott's Blade Runner hit theaters in 1982, its shocking, dystopian future world alienated audiences. It didn't do well at the box office and only years later did it become a cult favorite.

35 years later, Blade Runner 2049 expands the Los Angeles of the original as well as upon the basic question of the original film: what does it mean to be human?

Photograph by A24 / Everett

There are hundreds of heist films in cinematic history. From How to Steal A Million, to Reservoir Dogs, The Italian Job, and the aptly named film Heist.

DETROIT Movie / facebook.com

Over five days during the summer of 1967, rioting and civil unrest tore apart the city of Detroit, Michigan. The riots left 43 people dead, thousands injured, and more than 2,000 businesses burned or looted.

Detroit, a new film by Kathryn Bigelow, tells the story of the unrest, but in particular the events that transpired at the Algiers Motel. That’s where three young African American men were murdered by police and nine other people, seven black men and two white women, endured brutal beatings.

Annie Leibovitz / Vogue

Sophia Coppola's latest film, "The Beguiled," is set at a Confederate girls school in Virginia, where a group of sheltered young women take in a union soldier during the Civil War. The film is a remake of a 1971 film of the same name starring Clint Eastwood and both are adaptations of the 1966 book "Painted Devil," by Thomas P. Cullinan. 

t2trainspottingmovie.com

Trainspotting debuted in 1996, directed Danny Boyle. Based on the Irvine Welsh novel of the same name, the film followed a group of friends and heroin addicts trapped in the Edinburgh drug scene and the challenges each faces to stay in - or get out. It was a gritty, brutal, and bleakly funny film, and it launched the career of Ewan McGregor.

zenmaster8 / Fotolia

The classic rock radio format has been around since the 1980s and is still a popular one with radio stations today.  But for many rock fans, classic rock is a contested term. It could mean any of the famous artists who changed the rock scene, from The Beatles to Bob Dylan, to Joan Baez, David Bowie, the Eagles, Leonard Cohen, or Led Zeppelin, and countless others who influenced the genre.

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