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.

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.

spotlightthefilm.com

If you have lived in Milwaukee over the past 20 years, you most likely remember the uncovering of the sex abuse controversy and scandal within the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese. Milwaukee is unfortunately just one of many cities in the United States where widespread abuse, and the cover ups, have been discovered.

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.

Pages