Here’s the text of the review by KUSP’s Dennis Morton at the top of this post
Before I get started with this review, I feel compelled to make a confession, of sorts.
When I entered the theatre to watch Jack Reacher for the first time, I knew there would be an abundance of murder and mayhem writ large on the big screen. I knew I’d be witnessing and absorbing a portrait of behavior I find morally repugnant. I knew that
Tom Cruise, the film’s star, was not on my list of favorite humans. And yet I swallowed
my compunctions and headed in for a few hours of what I guessed might be highly
questionable entertainment. Had I spent more time with my reservations, I’d probably
have told myself that life is full of contradictions, that we have to learn how to live with
them, and then marched into the theatre.
And so, now, after having watched Jack Reacher three times, I can tell you that I very
much enjoyed this film.
In short, the performances are terrific, including that of Mr. Cruise, who portrays the
eponymous protagonist, Jack Reacher. The female lead is Rosamund Pike. She plays the
part of a conflicted defense attorney, at odds with her dad, who is a go-for-the-jugular
district attorney, played by the estimable Richard Jenkins.
The cast is international. Rosamund Pike is British. So too is David Oyelowo, who
is mesmerizing as the lead cop, a man referred to only as ‘Emerson’ in the film. Jai
Courtney, an Australian, plays an ice-in-the-veins evil fellow named Charlie. And the
great director, Werner Herzog, a German, has a small but chilling role as The Zec, the
baddest bad guy of the lot.
The script is based on a novel by Lee Child. Though I have not read any of Mr.
Child’s books, I understand that Jack Reacher is a recurring figure in them. I’ve also
heard that Tom Cruise, who produced the film, in addition to starring in it, has plans for a
series of Jack Reacher movies. May the succeeding episodes be as well made as this one.
Incidentally, KUSP’s Rick Kleffel recently interviewed Lee Child on The Agony
Column. You can access a podcast of that conversation on the KUSP website.
So – what’s this film about? Well, it’s about an elaborate scheme to further the
ambitions of an international crime cartel. To do so requires the removal, by death, of an
unwitting impediment to the cartel’s nefarious intentions. And the crime must appear to
be the work of someone other than the cartel.
The film opens with a scene of carnage, followed quickly by some ‘cracker jack’
detective work on the part of Officer Emerson. What would seem to be a slam dunk case
is quickly challenged by an idealistic, pro bono defense attorney, played impeccably
by Rosamund Pike. And shortly thereafter, the mysterious Jack Reacher appears,
unannounced. To the surprise of the defense attorney, Reacher arrives to bury the
defendant, not to support him.
I don’t want to tell you more about the surprisingly intricate plot of the film. I will say
that director and script writer, Christopher McQuarrie, has provided us with dialogue that
is frequently witty and sometimes, even moving. He displays a range that one rarely finds
in this kind of action thriller.
Jack Reacher is a surprising film, a gem of the genre, and I recommend it.
Watch the documentary on the making of Magical Mystery Tour - as long as it remains posted on PBS.org. The program is airing on public television this month. Locally it was shown on KQED+ (Comcast Channel 10) Tuesday Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. followed by the Magical Mystery Tour in it’s entirety.
Early Friday evening Dec. 7, 'Nutzle' can be seen at the left, being congratulated by Maureen Davidson. Photo: Stephen Laufer / KUSP
Santa Cruz has been lucky enough to see a resurgence of old & new work from the artist know as Futzie Nutzle (Bruce Kleinsmith). In the last two years, ‘Nutzle’ has shown drawings and assemblages at MAH oil’s at Motiv, plus painting and works on paper at the Cabrillo College Gallery.
Futzie Nutzle's 'Creating the Path' show will be up from Dec. 7 - Jan. 26th. Photo: Courtesy of the artist
Santa Cruz arts writer Maureen Davidson says of Nutzle’s work, “His visual puns are spare, clear, amusing, and go right to the center of the issue at hand.”
Nutzle is largely known for his simple, fine line ink drawing, but he also brings a considerable body of oil painting and other drawings.
The retrospective at R. Blitzer Gallery marks the re-opening of the venue, in a new space within the Wrigely Bldg. on Santa Cruz’ Westside, with the entrance now off of Mission St. in front of the building.
Thursday, December 6th on Your Call, a conversation with Nina Simon, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, and author of “The Participatory Museum.” Listen from 10-11 a.m. on KUSP and KUSP.org.
For years, the Santa Cruz Institute of Contemporary Art existed in an ephemeral sense as an institutional sponsor for exhibitions and projects around Santa Cruz. Last week the organization realized its vision to establish a gallery focused on enabling artists to push the envelope of expression. The SCICA gallery at the Tannery Art Center opened with a show of current artists re-interpretations of Victorian imagery. Steampunk and Technology continues through December 15. Contributing artists include Robbie Schoen of Felix Kulpa Gallery and Jack Howe, and there is much more. The Web site is SCICA.org.
Amidst the Steampunkers, are SCICA Gallery officials - Kirby Scudder and Ann Hazels. Photo: Stephen Laufer / KUSP
This Saturday, October 27, an exhibition timed for the election season opens at the Santa Cruz Art League featuring artists from all over the nation, many with significant reputations, who have been inspired to comment on political and social issues.
The opening reception at the Art League, 526 Broadway in Santa Cruz, is November 3 from 3-5 pm with many of the artists in attendance.
A vibrant 93-year old art center with a history of issues-related exhibitions, the extensive Santa Cruz Art League gallery space has been recreated to encourage a thoughtful wander. Works speak out in two- and three-dimensions in media ranging from paint on canvas to bullets on boxes. The mood runs from tongue-in-cheek to dagger-in-heart, but all works are thoughtful. Issues from war to health care, from bombing to fracking in Aromas, eternal issues of racism, classism and corporate greed versus hunger and homelessness, everything is at play. No candidate is exalted or excoriated, but policies are; there’s even an interactive opportunity to reconstruct Congress.
Featured are works by Mark Bryant, the SLO artist whose realistic oil paintings envision our world…only more so…in such paintings as the giant, luminous Republic of Suicide which looks over the shoulder of Lincoln on the Lincoln Memorial onto a militarized National Mall. At the opposite end of the gallery, an impossibly large and expressive woodblock Apocalypse by Kristin Casaletto of Mississippi, summons the history of the South and its strange fruit hanging from the wind-whipped trees. From Maine, Dan Mills, internationally exhibited artist and director of the Bates College Art Museum, offers three pieces from his US Future State Atlas series, in which he imagines such future states as, say, USArtica in small pretty cartographic works. Local issues are wrangled eloquently by area artists including the poignant At the End of the Day by Russell Brutsche, sinking
The Art League is located at 526 Broadway, Santa Cruz, open Wed-Sat 12-5pm, Sun 12-4pm. Call 831-426-5787 or www.scal.org or visit them on Facebook.
Maureen Davidson curated the show. She is an art essayist, commentator and curator.
In this political season, words are flying building camps and backing up points of view. Though history, visual artists have rarified or added flesh to politics. At times no media has offered a clearer glimpse of political irony than two-dimensional still art. A show scheduled at the Santa Cruz Art League aims to gather some of the most incisive political art of this age. It’s juried by sometime KUSP commenter Maureen Davidson. She spoke with Kirby Scudder.
Those eyes grab you first. Only after a couple of beats do you realize you’re looking at the painted bottom of a flattened metal can left on the street, and not some mysterious fairy.
These can art people come from the imagination of a British artist known as <strong><a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/mydogsighs/”>My Dog Sighs</a></strong>, who has left a piece of art on the street for someone to find every Friday for the last 10 years.
Above, check out a small sampling of some of his work. Below, he talks with The Salt about where he gets those cans and his funny name.
Opening day for LACMA's 'Levitated Mass', the massive sculpture by Michael Heizer. Photo: C-Monster/flickr
The public sculpture Levitated Mass is a subterranean walkway beneath a 680,00 pound rock, next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The rock made news earlier in the year during it’s 11 night crawl through Los Angeles from a quarry in Riverside County. The project cost over ten million dollars, but it’s free to the public. Heizer is know for creating large-scale outdoor artworks. He’s currently developing City, a monumental landscape project on thirty acres in a Nevada desert .