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.

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.

Robb Rosenfeld / Mongrel Media

Romantic comedies geared towards general audiences can often be clean-cut, full of predictable plots, romantic and escapist.

freefire-movie.com / A24 Films

1970s, Boston, shoulder pads, big hair, empty warehouse, and lots and lots of guns. That may very well summarize all you need to know before seeing Free Fire.

It’s the latest by filmmaker Ben Wheatley - a shoot-out action comedy about an arms deals gone wrong.  And really, it’s essentially just a 90-minute shoot-out, according to arts and entertainment editor of the Shepherd Express, and Lake Effect film contributor, Dave Luhrssen.

20th Century Fox

Released earlier this month, Logan, starring Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, is not your typical superhero – or even your typical X-Men movie. Since the first comic was released in 1963, X-Men has been a part of pop culture, serving as a moral force and connecting to people who felt like outsiders.

20th Century Women/A24 films

The film 20th Century Women is set in 1979, a time of disco, new wave feminism and punk. It’s a boy’s coming of age story, told through five characters, ranging in age from 15 to 55, all living under one roof.

lalaland.movie / © 2016 Summit Entertainment, LLC

La La Land made Golden Globe history this past weekend – winning 7 awards, including best Musical or Comedy Motion Picture, best actor and actress and musical score. But, whether it will continue its success at the Oscars remains to be seen.

Paying homage to MGM’s golden age of movie musicals, classics such as Singing In the Rain, Funny Face and An American in Paris are just a few of La La Land's inspirations. There’s singing, dancing, piano playing, painted sets and a star-studded cast.

lalaland.com / 2016 Summit Entertainment

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, an average number of 600 movies are released each year in the United States. Although arts and entertainment editor of the Shepherd Express and film contributor Dave Luhrssen does not see every single film released, choosing the top films that came to Milwaukee is a challenging and necessary task as a critic.

Arrival the movie / facebook.com

 

Arrival is not your typical alien invasion movie. The film contains no space travel, no battles between humanity and extraterrestrial life, and no secret super weapon that could be used against one another. Instead, it’s all about one crucial tool: language.

Laurie Sparham / Bleeker Street Media

 

Based on the acclaimed book Denial: Holocaust History on Trial, the film Denial recounts writer and educator Deborah E. Lipstadt’s libel trial against historian David Irving, who sued Lipstadt after she declared him a Holocaust denier in one of her books.

Fox Searchlight Pictures / facebook.com

There are countless films about the Civil War. From Gangs of New York to Lincoln to Glory, our nation’s bloodiest war continues to offer plenty of stories to tell.

Universal Studios

In cinema history, there have been 37 video game adaptations. But yet, the only one has grasped at success -- Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie in 2001 with a box office record of $131 million.

In a time where a movie about LEGO is vastly successful, it is proven that a movie’s content based on toys or games will not alienate viewers. Yet, the video game to movie genre can’t seem to quite get the recipe right.

sonyclassics.com

There have been plenty of influential musicians portrayed in biographies on the silver screen. Award-winning depictions from that of Mozart in Amadeus, Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter, and Ray Charles in Ray.

The makers of I Saw the Light hope it follows in those substantial footsteps. Tom Hiddleston sheds his natural English accent to portray country star Hank Williams and all the pain Williams endured in his life.

Rafael Ben-Ari / Fotolia

The Simpsons sang about their fictitious secret society, the Stonecutters, based on the very real group known as the Freemasons.  And it was the Masons that started Americans’ love affair with secret clubs.

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