Reviews

Plays

Courage

“Anyone looking for a literate, funny and sometimes sad story wonderfully performed should tune in ‘Courage’ tonight…” – The Courier-Journal

“…a charming and often moving play…. What a monodrama especially needs is a fine actor and rich language that can hold up on its own. In ‘Courage,’ it gets both.” – The New York Times

“Pielmeier’s concise and moving portrayal…keeps ‘Courage’ from being merely a tasteful eulogy to youthful innocence. We’re left with a deep impression of a man who defended childhood’s spirit, while around him the world was turning old and gray.” – The Detroit News

“…a moving play and a masterful performance…” – Dave Nicolette

“A one-man play seems to occupy no middle ground – it’s bound inevitably to be either a miserable failure or a glorious success. I am happy to say that …‘Courage’ falls into the latter category. … Pielmeier has given life – not only to the character of James M. Barrie, but also in the large life-affirming sense that is common to all art. He has created a presence. From the details of life arises a great poetry…and the courage to go on living.” – The Muskegon Chronicle

Voices in the Dark

“In this age of computer-generated gore, the actress Judith Ivey, playwright John Pielmeier, and director Christopher Ashley have achieved the impossible, a truly thrilling stage thriller…. Ivey and the writing are smart and funny, and the scares, when they come, are both unanticipated and really scary; the plot includes some nice twists, and the supporting cast carry the whole thing off with style.” – The New Yorker

Willi

“The antithesis of a dry lecture, ‘Willi: an evening of wilderness and spirit’ is one of the finest one-man shows this decade – maybe ever.” – Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“100 nonstop minutes of engrossing entertainment, sparked with flat-out fun but charged with intellectual challenges and resonant with deeply felt emotion.” – Seattle Times

“Though much more a drama than a comedy, the play’s unusual approach, almost like that of a modern stand-up comedian’s routine, had the audience intrigued and in stitches from the play’s very first words.” – Grand Rapids Press

“…an adventure of much hilarity, some sadness, and much realization.” – Muskegon Chronicle

“Wonderful ‘Willi’…will affect you personally. … As I walked out of the theater I had a gentle smile on my face and an urge to climb a mountain and talk to God. You might just have that urge too.” – The Missoulian

Television

Original Sins

“Nifty…plays out with ingenuity and…dollops of suspense…. John Pielmeier’s script hands Mark Harmon a shot at a more complex part than he’s been handling lately, and he comes off fine.” – Daily Variety

“This is a fascinating psychological thriller…a masterful realization of John Pielmeier’s fine script…a rare and polished gem of a film.” – The Hollywood Reporter

The Memory Keepers Daughter

“…a top-notch adaptation of Kim Edwards’ best-selling novel.” – TV Guide

The Last POW

“A POW Vietnam War story that nobody wanted to touch and, once produced, was then closeted by a network uncertain what to do with it…‘The Last P.O.W.?’ is…gripping drama…in which all the moral ambiguities of the war come together…. The movie blurs distinctions of defector and patriot, making uneasy the certainties of old wards. What more can we ask from a war movie?” – The Los Angeles Times

“a powerful story with good acting.” – Daily Variety

“…so successfully focuses on one personal experience of the Vietnam War that, without sacrificing any of the bitter partisanship that still characterizes that conflict, the story…is transformed into a profound, universal passion tale.” – The Hollywood Reporter

The Happy Face Murders

“…delightfully screwy – with a story line so free-spirited you have to sit up and pay attention. …Most everything works in this orginal movie that is dead serious about comedy.” – The Hollywood Reporter

“The humor of the situation is surpassed only by the unsavoriness of the sex scenes and the brutality of the killings. You couldn’t make this stuff up. Murder’s tone of laughing incredulity softens a grisly tale without condoning it. My score: 8” – TV Guide

The Capture of the Green River Killer “Beautifully shot, appropriately creepy, chilling and at times heartwarming, ‘The Capture of the Green River Killer’ delivers on all counts.” – The Los Angeles Times

Named by Variety as one of the top television events of 2008 (the only movie so honored).

Sybil

a “delicately rendered retelling” – Daily Variety

Sins of the Father

“…writer John Pielmeier deftly juxtaposes the overheating racial tensions in the Deep South at the height of the civil rights movement with the clearer-eyed perspective of the present day.” “…an emotional tour de force, a movie of penetrating wisdom and profound soul…” “If FX doesn’t watch it, it’s going to start getting mistaken for HBO…” – The Hollywood Reporter

“Demanding, tense and exploding with an unflinching reality…this true story contains terrific performances and tough dialogue.” – Daily Variety

Reunion

“Powerful, haunting, poignant and beautiful work…” – Knight Ridder News Service

“…one juicily dramatic scene after another…” – The New York Times

“Brace yourself for an emotional two hours.” – Grand Rapids Press

“This beautiful film is an out-of-the-ordinary experience…” – The Indianapolis Star

“…a rich heartfelt script… ‘Reunion’ is moving and emotionally wrenching.” – The Columbus Dispatch Teleview

Hitler: The Rise of Evil

“A powerful instrument, a powerful document about evil” – The Anti-Defamation League

“gripping” – Daily Variety

“brilliant and heavy…if it weren’t for the commercials you’d forget you were watching network television. Don’t miss it. Not a minute…” – New York Post

“The overall high quality…along with its unswerving seriousness, marks this miniseries as a milestone for network TV.” – New York Post TV Week

“Why a child becomes a man who would conceive of genocide is significant, but more crucial is how a civilized nation could let him do it. ‘Hitler’ asks the latter question, admirably and intelligently.” – Time

‘Hitler’ fulfills its mission: taking viewers on a grim guided tour through an era gone mad. And it’s a trip well worth taking. … An important film.” – Associated Press

Forbidden Territory

“…so grandly framed…that we sometimes forget we’re not watching a Merchant-Ivory production.” – The New York Post

Flower for Algernon

“a heart-breaking film” – Chicago Sun-Times

“…earns many of the tears it will deservedly win from its TV audience. Keep some industrial-strength hankies handy.” – Daily Variety

“This sensitive adaptation proves both the timelessness and timeliness of “Flowers For Algernon.” – The Wall Street Journal

“A tiny gem of a movie…this film also raises some fine philosophical questions about relationships between the heart and the head and between intelligence and happiness. John Pielmeier’s fine adaptation gives Modine the opportunity to explore the dimensions of love.” – The Hollywood Reporter

“If there’s a more effective tear-jerker than ‘Flowers For Algernon’ I don’t know about it. If it doesn’t get to you, you should probably have your chest x-rayed just to make sure your heart’s still there.” – Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

“…another triumph…strong enough to contend for season-ending honors….a poignant love story, a timeless lesson in tolerance, and a tale of hope and heartbreak.” – Florida Sun-Sentinal

“It’s a grand awakening, an eye-opening experience…one of those rare films you seldom see on television. Life-affirming, full of lessons we all can heed, it strikes a note that will resonate for weeks to come.” – New York Daily News

“…one of the best made-for-TV flicks in recent memory…” – E! Online TV