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Dan Lybarger
Dan Lybarger is a freelance writer and critic from Kansas City. His work has appeared in Cineaste, Filmfax,, and The Kansas City Star. He can be reached at

Entries by Dan Lybarger

The Force of Soft Power: Pat O'Connor on 'Private Peaceful'

(0) Comments | Posted October 31, 2014 | 2:45 PM

"You ask me what you want, and I'll either duck, or dodge or tell you the truth," says director Pat O'Connor during a telephone conversation from New York last Tuesday.

Because I'm a critic and not a psychic, I have no idea whether he was honestly fielding my questions, but...

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Just In Case It Matters: Agnieszka Holland Ignites Burning Bush

(0) Comments | Posted June 13, 2014 | 2:43 PM

Sometimes a revolution can be started by a seemingly futile act. That's the premise behind the Czech miniseries Burning Bush, which made its American debut this week. It's playing theatrically in New York and can also be viewed on Kino Lorber will be distributing the DVD release.

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Back from the Valley: Sebastian Junger on Korengal

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2014 | 11:24 AM

Sebastian Junger has made a career of documenting why some people embrace danger as a way of life. His debut book, The Perfect Storm, chronicles the deaths of a crew of Gloucester, Mass. fishermen during the Halloween Nor'easter of 1991, and his last documentary, Which Way...

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When Fanaticism Makes Sense: Nabil Ayouch on Horses of God

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2014 | 12:43 PM

It's easy to condemn the actions of suicide bombers, but it's much harder to understand why people embrace such toxic philosophies in the first place. Part of the reason director Nabil Ayouch's most recent film Horses of God is so engrossing is because it puts a human face on the...

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Hammer to the Myth: Paul Rees on the Real Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin

(1) Comments | Posted December 30, 2013 | 9:40 AM

Robert Plant is probably best known for confidently wailing above Jimmy Page's piercing but versatile guitar, John Paul Jones' nimble bass and keyboard licks and John "Bonzo" Bonham's thunderous drums in Led Zeppelin.

The singer's voice has helped sell nearly 70 million records and has put songs like "Stairway...

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The Eternal Student: Margarethe von Trotta on Hannah Arendt

(2) Comments | Posted May 31, 2013 | 10:55 AM

In her nearly 40-year career, German writer-director Margarethe von Trotta has tackled some challenging subjects. With The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (a 1975 movie she co-directed with her then-husband Volker Schlöndorff, The Tin Drum) and Marianne and Juliane (1981), she examined terrorism decades before other Western filmmakers dealt with...

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Film Review: The Snitch Cartel

(1) Comments | Posted November 26, 2012 | 8:42 AM

For a movie that features drugs, jealousy, betrayal, sex and murder, The Snitch Cartel, Colombia's entry in the race for Best Foreign Language Film at next year's Oscars, offers a tepid rush and some nagging side effects.

Despite recounting a volatile era in the Colombian cocaine trade, director Carlos...

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Christopher Walken Talks A Late Quartet

(4) Comments | Posted November 9, 2012 | 4:25 PM

With his slow Queens drawl, high forehead and even higher hair, Christopher Walken has never been anything less than distinct. But in a career that spans (according to IMDB) 121 TV and movie appearances, the Oscar winner is most widely known for a specialty portfolio of volatile antagonists,...

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Joining the Club: Stephen Tobolowsky on The Dangerous Animals Club

(0) Comments | Posted October 16, 2012 | 4:19 PM

Stephen Tobolowsky is probably a little too good at acting. Despite his above average height, his recognizable features and his slight Texas drawl (he's a Dallas native), the 61-year-old is probably better known for the names of the characters he's played.


Photo courtesy...
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Seeing Sugar Man: Rodriguez Delivers Slow Cooked Set in Columbia, MO

(2) Comments | Posted September 24, 2012 | 5:40 PM

Columbia is a city of 110,000 people in the middle of Missouri that often hosts cultural events that put the far larger metropolises of Kansas City and St. Louis to shame. The city is probably best known as the home of the University of Missouri and the dreaded Tigers.

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Nowhere Near the End: America Ferrera on Cops, Chavez and Getting Out the Vote

(2) Comments | Posted September 24, 2012 | 3:44 PM

Since her breakthrough role in 2002's Real Women Have Curves, America Ferrera has become a Hollywood leading lady by defying and frequently rewriting the term. She earned an Emmy for playing the capable, if not always best dressed, fashion magazine employee in Ugly Betty. Despite the braces and the odd...

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DVD Reviews of Les Vampires and Korczak

(0) Comments | Posted September 7, 2012 | 5:49 PM

Les Vampires

The appeal for silent movies comes not from imagining how a moldy piece of nitrate might have entertained our great grandparents more than staring at a blank wall but in catching a unique type of storytelling that's just about impossible to pull off today.

Such is the case...

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Jumpstarting the Motor City: Rachel Grady on Detropia

(2) Comments | Posted September 7, 2012 | 1:42 PM

Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady have made documentaries about entire subcultures, but their latest tackles a whole city. Detropia looks unflinchingly at the grim realities of contemporary Detroit, which is where Ewing grew up. The city has changed drastically since then.

In 1930, it was the fastest growing city in...

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Your Sister's Sister Director Lynn Shelton Embraces the Awkward

(0) Comments | Posted June 27, 2012 | 4:08 PM

Lynn Shelton doesn't expect you to like her characters right away. In her fourth feature, Your Sister's Sister, the Seattle writer-director introduces her protagonist, Jack (played by Mark Duplass, star of her 2009 movie, Humpday), by giving him an angry diatribe to deliver -- one that sours a party held...

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The Way It Was: Douglas Brinkley on Walter Cronkite

(2) Comments | Posted June 5, 2012 | 12:41 PM

When Walter Cronkite declared, "That's the way it is," almost every weeknight from 1962 to 1981 on the CBS Evening News, it was easy to believe him. After all, the man was from Missouri. And it was here that the man who had covered stories all over the world --...

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The Old-School NOLA Charms of Dirty Dozen Brass Band

(0) Comments | Posted May 24, 2012 | 12:22 PM

Thanks to David Simon, ordinary citizens -- or at least the ones with premium cable -- are now more likely to know what a second line is. Simon's HBO show Treme shines a light on the lives of working musicians in New Orleans and gives a new kind of exposure...

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Just in Case It Matters: Nellie McKay On Downtown Express

(1) Comments | Posted April 20, 2012 | 4:25 PM

Since her 2004 debut album Get Away From Me, musician Nellie McKay has proved herself to be astonishingly versatile. The London-born, New York-raised songstress can change genres during the running time of a single tune.

"Sari" features her rapping to a Bach-like accompaniment, and "I Want to...

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Just In Case It Matters: Dr. Thompson Goes to the Derby

(3) Comments | Posted April 2, 2012 | 3:02 PM

In June of 1970, Scanlan's Monthly ran an overview of that year's Kentucky Derby that contained only one paragraph about the actual race. The author neglected to mention which of horses either placed or showed. It's probably no wonder that the magazine folded shortly afterward. It would probably be safe...

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Just In Case It Matters: An Audio Interview With T.J. Martin and Dan Lindsay on Undefeated

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2012 | 11:58 AM

Like the teenagers they chronicle in their Oscar-winning documentary Undefeated, directors Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin weren't expected to emerge as winners. The two were up against some formidable competition on Oscar night, from their fellow nominees Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory and Wim Wenders' Pina....

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Just in Case It Matters: Biographer Jeffrey Spivak on the Magic of Busby Berkeley

(0) Comments | Posted March 13, 2012 | 3:35 PM

In the 1930s and '40s, Busby Berkeley (1895-1976) staged a series of movie dance numbers that could rival the paintings of Salvador Dali in their outlandishness. His movies were loaded with jaw-dropping optical illusions and wound up influencing everyone from the Coen Brothers to Mel Brooks.

Despite the fact that...

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