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Film Review: Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet in ‘Leap!’

CHICAGO – One of the rites of passage for most girls in the U.S.(and elsewhere, I presume) is ballet lessons. Usually it lasts for a very short time, but some girls-to-women keep pursuing it, and may even become prima ballerinas. A new animated film named “Leap!” is dedicated to that spirit.

Film Review: Story in ‘Wind River’ Gets Scattered in the Breeze

CHICAGO – Writer/Director Taylor Sheridan is a deep thinker regarding humanity in these United States. In the third film of his “American Frontier Trilogy” – after “Sicario” and “Hell or High Water” – he goes to the Wyoming Native American reservation, for a unwieldy story titled “Wind River.”

Film Review: Michael Keaton is a Man with a Brand in ‘The Founder’

CHICAGO – Michael Keaton is the real reason to see “The Founder” – it’s a movie that probably wouldn’t work at all without him. Keaton portrays Ray Kroc, the man who turned McDonald’s into a multinational fast food behemoth. But “The Founder” is an origin story of both the man and the brand…and Kroc is not the genius of American business he’s been made out to be.

Film Review: ‘Lion’ Can’t Quite Tame Audience’s Hearts

CHICAGO – “Lion” is the kind of inspirational-triumph-over-insurmountable-odds and adversity stories that’s bound to appeal to grandmothers and Academy voters, and it does offer plenty of material to tug at the heartstrings. But it’s a movie that only gets the job half done, and unfortunately loses its way once Nicole Kidman comes into the picture.

Interview: Director Todd Haynes Plays the Right Notes in ‘Carol’

Todd Haynes, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – One of the best films of 2015 is the atmospheric and kinetically performed “Carol.” The film, set in the early 1950s, depicts a love that dares not speak its name, and also showcases the breathtaking presence of actress Cate Blanchett as the title character. The director of the film is the veteran Todd Haynes, known for another set-in-the-1950s classic, “Far from Heaven,” as well as “Velvet Goldmine,” “I’m Not There” and the recent HBO miniseries “Mildred Pierce.”

Film Review: Quentin Tarantino Stays Familiar in ‘The Hateful Eight’

CHICAGO – Story-wise, there is not much difference in “The Hateful Eight” – regarding themes and violence – that writer/director Quentin Tarantino hasn’t explored before. But it is also an outrageous and big western tale, and it’s presented in some theaters in a huge 70mm screen format.

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  • Wonder Woman

    CHICAGO – There are few films in 2017 that are as historically important as they are cinematically well-crafted. Of those, there is only one I saw three times in theaters. That honor comes in the form of the revolutionary “Wonder Woman,” which not only shows huge promise for the future of DC Comics films but for comic book-based films as a whole.

  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

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