Let me start out by being very clear: I'm not an opera buff.
So when I consider the new "Carmen in 3D" which plays Saturday at several area Marcus Theaters, I can't offer much insight into the quality of singing. And I'm also going to admit that I didn't sit through all three hours of this filmed version of a stage production. Ninety minutes was more than enough to get the feel for the crucial aspect of this film.
That's not a criticism. Opera's just not my thing.
But for a group of people, opera is a big thing, and "Carmen in 3D," filmed at London's Royal Opera House, is an easy way to experience the genre.
The 3D film-making isn't intrusive or gimmicky, the way it is with some more commercial film, although there's a thrusting sword here and there. It's simply a way to more accurately reproduce the stage experience.
There's a feeling of experiment here, an attempt to test the uses of 3D film technology. And, yes, you have to wear glasses to watch the movie.
But if you're a trying to become an opera buff, "Carmen in 3D" can be a great way to experience one of the classics, with familiar music.
"Carmen in 3D" will play at the following Marcus Theatres in the Milwaukee area: South Shore, Ridge, North Shore, Majestic and Menomonee Falls. More information is available at the "Carmen in 3D" Web site.
And here's the trailer:
A more mainstream movie choice: Also opening this weekend is "Rango," an animated yarn about a chameleon (voiced by Johnny Depp) who finds himself in a dying desert town called Dirt, where he ends up becoming the sheriff -- with far less authority than he thinks he has.
While the quirky and less-than-cute animals that populate Dirt make this look like a kids' flick, some of the storyline skews older, including an animated Clint Eastwood lusting for Kim Novak, and some cracks that will probably go over the heads of younger viewers.
The bad guys, including a huge and horrible snake, might be too much for the youngest of viewers.
But it's a movie I'd recommend for adults and older kids.
The wit can be as dry as the main street of Dirt, and Depp's Rango resurrects the spirit of Barney Fife in chameleon form, a blustering phony whose intentions are ultimately good. You can easily forget it's Depp providing the voice -- a sign of a great animated character.
After the success of "True Grit," it's nice to see another new western, even if it's an animated one.
Here's the trailer:
A commendation for Channel 12: Channel 12 has picked up a "special commendation" in the annual Walter Cronkite Awards for its statewide "Town Hall Challenge" debates last year. The commendation praised the "thoughtful exchange between voter and office-seeker."
The Dairyland debate and the media: The New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism shows that 25 percent of news links on blogs were about the mess in Madison, a sign of just how widespread interest is in our troubles.
Of course, TV is another place to go to measure the interest, including this bit from Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert on his Wednesday night "Colbert Report":
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.