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.

TV Time: Homeland

Are you looking for a new TV show to get sucked into? Look no further. In Showtime’s Homeland, US Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) returns home after spending eight years in Iraq as a prisoner of war, where he was found and rescued on a compound belonging to terrorist Abu Nazir. During an unauthorized mission in Iraq, CIA officer Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) was warned by an informant that an Amerian POW was “turned” by al-Qaeda, and Mathison now believes that Brody is the "turned" POW and that he's plotting an attack on the US. Thinking her superiors wouldn’t believe her and wanting immediate action, Mathison takes it upon herself to set up surveillance on Brody watching him 24/7.

The suspenseful and intense television show focuses on Brody’s reunion with his family after being MIA for so long and now being thought of as a war hero, as well as with Mathison’s obsession with finding intel on Brody. Mathison is dealing with her own mental health issues and this helps fuel her manic search for evidence.

The critically acclaimed Homeland has aired two seasons, winning a 2012 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, as well as Outstanding Actor/Actress In A Drama Series awards for Lewis and Danes. As well as Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Series – Drama in both 2011 and 2012. A third season premieres this fall.

Wild Swan Theater Presents Charlotte's Web

Balcony seats are still available for Saturday April 27 and Sunday April 28 to see Charlotte's Web staged by Wild Swan Theater. The show is for grades K-5. Location is Towsley Auditorium. From the Wild Swan website: "Charlotte’s Web is possibly the best loved of all American stories for children. Set in the rural Midwest, it tells the touching story of a rare friendship between a little pig, Wilbur, and Charlotte, a most uncommon spider. The magical words that Charlotte spins in her web not only earn Wilbur a county fair blue ribbon and save his life, but inspire all of us to value what we can share with each other." More information is here.

Huron Players Present Shakespeare's Macbeth

The Huron Players present Shakespeare's Macbeth April 26 & 27 and May 3 & 4 at 7:30pm in the New Theater. Here is a description of the play from their website: “Fair is foul and foul is fair” and nothing is as it seems. The victorious Macbeth chances upon three mysterious witches who offer an intriguing prophesy, tempting him with the promise of becoming King. Upon hearing the news, Lady Macbeth urges her husband into murderous action, and what follows is a wild and maddening descent into war, insanity and demons." Ticket information is here.

Purple Rose Theatre: 33 Variations

Here's a potential spring outing: The Purple Rose Theatre Company in Chelsea is presenting 33 Variations by Moises Kaufman through June 1. The director of this production is Guy Sanville. Featured artist is Richard McWilliams, who portrays the role of Ludwig van Beethoven. From the PR website: "In 19th century Austria, Ludwig van Beethoven works obsessively on a commission he cannot complete. In present day, musicologist Katherine Brandt struggles to solve the mystery behind her professional passion: Beethoven’s oft overlooked Diabelli Variations. As she races against time, Katherine not only discovers the true nature of Beethoven’s work, but gains insight into the other mystery in her life: her daughter. Moving between the past and the present, 33 Variations illustrates how the very passions that threaten to overwhelm us can also save us. Contains adult language and content." Tickets are available here.

Performance Network: The Mountaintop Opens April 25

The Mountaintop, by Katori Hall, runs April 25 - June 2 at Performance Network in Ann Arbor. As the play opens, the date is April 3, 1968, the night before the assassination of Martin Luther King. A maid in the motel where he is staying shows up dripping wet on his doorstep and they share a powerful conversation. This is the Michigan premiere of a play that enjoyed a run on Broadway. Ticket information is available on the Performance Network website.

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