Purple Rose: The Vast Difference

The Purple Rose Theatre Company in Chelsea is presenting "The Vast Difference," a comedy by Jeff Daniels from September 19 to December 14.
From the Purple Rose website: "George Noonan is having a mid-life crisis. The father of five girls and a flight attendant for a small Midwestern airline, he is scheduled to have a vasectomy. As he works up the courage to go through with the procedure, George becomes reflective on his struggles with his career, living up to his father's expectations, and the nature of "being a man" in the modern world. Contains mild adult language and themes." The play is directed by Guy Sanville. Tickets may be purchased here.

The Boy Who Could Fly

In 1986, the film The Boy Who Could Fly came out to decent reviews, although it didn’t make much of a splash. But over the years, it has become one of those movies that people remember and want to see again.

Milly and her family move next door to Eric after the recent, tragic suicide of her father. She quickly notices something unusual next door, from something flying by her window to Eric spending lots of time on the roof. Milly becomes intrigued and eventually befriends Eric, who is autistic and lives with his alcoholic uncle. Eric’s parents died in a plane crash, and Eric as been obsessed with flying since the tragedy.

The actors who play Milly and Eric give nuanced and effecting performances. Fred Savage is delightful as a kid whose strategy for coping with his father's death is both grim and comically engaging. The adults in The Boy Who Could Fly add breadth and depth to the story: Bonnie Bedelia as the frazzled mother; Colleen Dewhurst as the understanding Mrs. Sherman; and Fred Gwynne as Uncle Hugo, a loving guardian who is battling his own demons.

Whether Eric can really fly is open to discussion, but this heartwarming and delightful film tells a great story.

Performance Network: My Name is Asher Lev

Performance Network in Ann Arbor is showing My Name is Asher Lev through September 8. The play is by Aaron Posner, adapted from the 1972 novel by Chaim Potok. The story is about a boy growing up in the 1950s in a tight Hasidic community. After he discovers he has strong artistic talent, the boy creates "The Brooklyn Crucifictions," and fears he will bring shame on his family and community. Ticket information is here. Performance Network is located at 120 E. Huron St. in downtown Ann Arbor.

Mud on DVD

Fourteen year old Ellis and his best friend Neckbone enjoy living on the Mississippi River boating and exploring nearby areas. One day they happen upon a boat up in a tree on a deserted island and think it’s the most wonderful hide-out ever. They soon discover that the boat is already inhabited by a man named Mud. And Mud has killed a man to protect his one true love, Juniper, and now he’s being hunted by bounty hunters and is hiding out until he meets up with her again. The boys agree to secretly help him and it brings a world of trouble on the small town that changes the boys forever.

Mud is a timeless adventure story of two boys trying to find their place and do good by the adults in their lives. Ellis yearns for a good example of love between adults and this fuels his desire to reunite Mud and Juniper. Ellis and Neckbone are children on the cusp of becoming men, full of hope and wonder, but half believe they already have the answers to it all.

It’s a beautifully written and thoughtfully directed film that portrays life along the Mississippi. Cast with locals to play the boys, and Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon to play Mud and Juniper, it’s a worthy viewing.

TV Time: Fringe

Fringe gets recommended to fans of science fiction, police procedural dramas, and The X-Files. At first I ignored the recommendations due to the fact that the main actors were also main actors in Dawson’s Creek (Pacey), Lord of the Rings (Denethor), and The Wire (Daniels) and my brain couldn't handle it. Or the comparisons to The X-Files, which I love. Once I got past all that I was deep into the series and couldn’t stop!

Set in Boston, the show follows members of the FBI’s “Fringe Division” who, under the supervision of Homeland Security, investigate unexplained events using “fringe” science and experimentation that usually leads back to the fact that there are parallel universes and many dire consequences to the science behind their possible destruction. The show focuses on agent Olivia Dunham, former psychiatric hospital resident/scientist Dr. Walter Bishop, and Walter’s genius son Peter Bishop.

The early seasons of Fringe were mystery-of-the-week style, while later seasons focused more on the overall mythology that continues through the final 5th season. It’s fun to watch the relationships among the main characters as they evolve—Everything from the father/son relationship between Walter and Peter to Walter’s obsession with licorice and all things sweet. The show is intense and addicting, and you will see things in a different light while watching, because after all there are two of everything.

Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master'

Featuring an all-star cast of Academy Award-winning and -nominated actors Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Laura Dern, The Master is another fascinating film from Paul Thomas Anderson. Anderson’s previous films Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There Will be Blood have all been well received.

The Master is a striking portrait of drifters and seekers in post-World War II America. It unfolds with the journey of a naval veteran who arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future, until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader. Believed by many to be based on the life of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, Anderson has said parts of the story were lifted from early drafts of the script for There Will Be Blood, as well as Navy stories that Jason Robards told him.

If you're drawn to The Master, you may want to check out the bestselling book by Lawrence Wright: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. The book features many interviews, including the infamous one with Paul Haggis featured in the February, 2011, New Yorker article THE APOSTATE Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology.

Encore Musical Theatre: Les Miserables

Encore Musical Theater Company in Dexter is playing the classic Les Miserables through Aug. 18. This non-profit company showcases Broadway performers and local talent. Ticket information is here.

Performance Network: Becky Shaw

Performance Network in downtown Ann Arbor is showing Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo through July 28. Directed by Phil Powers, this is the Michigan Premiere of the play. From the PN website: "The New York Times called this Pulitzer Prize finalist and smash Off-Broadway hit “a tangled tale of love, sex and ethics…as engrossing as it is ferociously funny, like a big box of fireworks fizzing and crackling across the stage.” Ticket information is here.

Purple Rose Theatre: Miles & Ellie

Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea is presenting Miles & Ellie through Aug. 31. This is a world premiere play by Don Zolidis. Here is a plot summary from the website: "Miles and Ellie are two teenagers in love when a youthful misunderstanding breaks them apart. Flash forward 20 years and a disenchanted Ellie has come home for what she expects to be a typical dysfunctional family Thanksgiving. Not long into the family shenanigans, however, Ellie learns that Miles is still in town and carrying a torch for her. Is it possible to get a second chance at your first love? This charming romantic comedy will make you wonder “what if?” Contains adult language and content." Guy Sanville directs the show. Purple Rose was founded in 1991 by actor and Chelsea native Jeff Daniels.

New TV shows on DVD @ AADL

The library is always acquiring additional TV shows, be they hot and new, or oldies but goodies. Here are some new series on their way to AADL:

Grimm
A drama series inspired by the classic Grimm's Fairy Tales. Portland homicide Detective Nick Burkhardt discovers he is descended from an elite line of criminal profilers known as 'Grimms', charged with keeping balance between humanity and the mythological creatures.

Henning Mankell's Wallander
Before anyone else played the part, Rolf Lassgard established the role of Kurt Wallander in the original Swedish film adaptations of Henning Mankell's bestselling crime novels. Kurt Wallander is a cop who gets the job done; decades of coming up against criminal minds has honed his instincts for investigations and he knows where to draw the line between the job and personal vendettas. Usually. (Swedish with English subtitles) If you’re a Wallander fan, be sure to also check out another TV version starring Kenneth Branagh.

Better off Ted
A satirical office comedy centered around a morally conscious man, Ted, who works for a research and development department at a morally lax corporation.

Eureka
The quirky town of Eureka, America's brightest scientists are working on some of the government's best-kept secrets-- some lead to brilliant inventions and some to total chaos. Making sense of the mysteries is Sheriff Jack Carter, a former U.S. marshal who is stranded in the surreal small town after a random car accident.

Rules of Engagement
One married couple, one engaged couple and one of their single friends, who are all at different places in their relationships, deal with dating, commitment, and marriage.

Fore more TV shows, be sure to check out AADL’s lists for HOT TV shows, as well as NEW TV shows.

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