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.

wickerwood, fotolia

Two of the most popular movie out now could not be more different. The animated Peanuts movie is becoming a family favorite just in time for the holidays and on the other end of the spectrum is Spectre - the latest entry in a long line of James Bond films.

Film contributor Dave Luhrssen say where the Bond franchise has been and where it’s going makes this film an especially noteworthy addition.

Rory Marinich / Flickr

If a movie passes the Bechdel test, it features at least two women talking to each other about a subject besides a man. There are more of those films than there used to be, but they’re still not a given in Hollywood.

However there are signs of a significant shift of sorts to more older women playing key roles. It’s a trend that our film contributor Dave Luhrssen has taken note of.

Roey Ahram / Flickr

We’re in that transitional period of time when schools are starting, the weather will soon start to get cooler, baseball will be supplanted by football, and summer blockbuster movies will be replaced in theaters by some of the films that will compete for Oscars come award season.

In fact, some of those films are already opening in an effort to be at the forefront of viewers' minds come Oscars season. Film contributor Dave Luhrssen notices a trend of strong female leads or storylines and "based on a true story" films for this upcoming season.

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

When the singer Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning in 2011, she became just the latest example of a musician on a seemingly promising trajectory to have their life cut short by drugs or alcohol.

Marcelo Acosta / Flickr

The movie industry has two especially busy times – there is the flurry of activity towards the end of the year, when holiday movies and potential award-winners come out, and then there is the highly anticipated summer movie season as well. Lake Effect film contributor Dave Luhrssen gives a preview of what's to come and his recommendations:

Illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren

Many fairy tales have resurfaced in various forms on film, stage, musicals and even operas to appeal to large audience of all ages.

However, the classic fairy tales originally written by Brothers Grimm were gruesome, sexual and slightly violent - a far cry from the sanitized versions of today. The 2015 Cinderella film by Disney excludes pigeons pecking out the stepsister's eyes, and the sisters cutting off their toes and heels in attempt to fit into the glass slipper.

In looking back at 2014, Lake Effect film contributor Dave Luhrssen doesn’t think the last year was an especially strong one for movies. 

The Films of War

Nov 14, 2014

  Which leaves a more lasting impression on Americans – images of war or images from war movies? A new book tries to answer that question.

James Callan, Flickr

Earlier this week, Lake Effect previewed the fall arts scene – on stage, in galleries, and more – around Milwaukee.  Today, we turn to the big screen, which is hoping to rebound from a slow summer at the box office.


Staying inside is pretty advisable, given this weekend's predicted frigid weather. But maybe a film set in Europe will help warm you up.