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Afghanistan

Film Review: ‘12 Strong’ Wins the Battle as it Loses the War

CHICAGO – In the 16 years of the U.S. and Afghanistan war, which began a month after Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. has spent trillions of dollars and lost 2,400 soldiers. The story of that war’s first battle, “12 Strong,” would probably be more revelatory if we weren’t still there.

Interview: Director Lee Ho-Jae at the Asian Pop-Up Cinema

CHICAGO – The 2016 Fall Season of the Asian Pop-Up Cinema of Chicago kicked off on September 17th, with the South Korean film “Sori: Voice of the Heart.” The director behind this purposeful man-and-machine relationship movie is Lee Ho-Jae. The unusual story combined our modern tech world with a satellite turned robot who is sick of it all.

Film Review: The Fog of Battle is a Heavy Burden in ‘A War’

War, A

CHICAGO – Humanity and war simply do no mix. You could have the biggest guns, the most powerful bombs and the greatest army, but you’re also going to eliminate innocent lives, and affect those soldiers who do the killing. This topic is pungently realized in the Danish film “A War.”

Film Review: Bill Murray Rolls Downhill in ‘Rock the Kasbah’

Rock the Kasbah

CHICAGO – What’s up with this movie? Everything in it is so wrong headed, despite movie star casting and a attempt toward “current events.” Setting itself in a modern and complex country – Afghanistan – but creating a perspective on that country that is straight ugly American, “Rock the Kasbah” is a total downer.

Film Review: ‘Max’ is a Step Beyond the Heroic Dog Movie Genre

CHICAGO – From Rin-Tin-Tin to Lassie to Benji, American movie goers have loved the heroic dog. As the film “Max” throws its leash into the ring, the expectation was a dull family drama just about Max the dog himself. What a surprise to learn it was also a poignant meditation on people.

Interview: Actor Thomas Haden Church is Character Driven in ‘Max’

CHICAGO – Thomas Haden Church has the recognizable name, and a long career of character roles in comedy and drama. His laid-back persona gets a bit more intense as a conflicted father in the new film “Max,” about a military dog who comes home to an uncertain future with a grieving family.

Film Review: ‘The Patience Stone’ Reveals Eternal Truths

CHICAGO – Despite any manmade restrictions through governments, religion, commerce or trumped-up morality, the truth has a way of mightily conquering all. “The Patience Stone” is a perfect example of that luxurious truth, and it is an important contemporary fairy tale.

Interview: Reporter Jeremy Scahill on the Front Lines of ‘Dirty Wars’

CHICAGO – The creator behind the provocative new documentary “Dirty Wars” is veteran investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, and he is unafraid to reveal the dirt on the perpetual conflict under the heading of the war on terror. Scahill is not a stranger to controversy, and his insertion into the film’s narrative is part of the story itself.

Film Review: America Waist Deep in Endless ‘Dirty Wars’

CHICAGO – Jeremy Scahill is a relentless investigative reporter, a rare species in an age of increasing corporate control of the media. He goes to terror zones that others fear to tread, and has uncovered stories that comprise his new documentary, “Dirty Wars,” which uncovers dangerous U.S. foreign policy.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman Not Relatable in ‘Brothers’

CHICAGO – The transition from hot young actor to the domestic picket fence is about ten years and a shadowy crow’s foot. One day you’re a galaxy queen, superhero and Donnie Darko, next you’re playing house in “Brothers.”

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