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Cate Blanchett

Film Review: ‘The House With a Clock in Its Walls’ is Movie Magic

CHICAGO – “The House With The Clock In Its Walls” is a surprisingly restrained and endearing haunted house pic for kids just getting rid of their training wheels. It’s all a spooky atmosphere with cobwebs galore, creaking doors, a stained glass window which changes on its own, and a library of books which at times resemble the avifauna predators from the Hitchcock classic “The Birds.”

Film Review: Sandra Bullock & Heist Crew Con Us in ‘Ocean’s 8’

CHICAGO – In “Ocean’s 8,” a diamond necklace at the Met Gala isn’t the only thing getting ripped off. This all female knock off provides a reasonable facsimile of a facsimile of the original’s suave swagger, but doesn’t have anything else to go on. “Oceans 11” is a movie that never should have gotten a sequel, much less become some kind of a franchise.

Film Review: ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Shatters the Hammer, But Maintains the Mold

CHICAGO – Any blacksmith will tell you that their job is much more than the brute action of slamming a hammer onto steel. There is some finessing and an attention to detail that needs to take place in order to make something truly notable. With Taika Waititi manning the hammer, he takes the “Thor” franchise out from the Dark Ages and into the technicolor light.

Film Review: Terence Malick’s Feverish Dream in ‘Knight of Cups’

CHICAGO – I’ve been quoting Martin Scorsese over the years, that he said “movies are a psychotic’s feverish dream on display.” In searching for those words, I found he never said it. He did say they are “dreams with eyes open.” So let us combine the two quotes in analyzing Terence Malick’s “Knight of Cups.”

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: ‘Truth’ Exposes the Obstacles in Modern Journalism

CHICAGO – One of the indications of how the story depicted in “Truth” still resonates was that the CBS Network refused to show advertising for it. The film is a lesson in messing with true power – CBS News went after the ruthless Bush administration during an election year, and they went down.

Film News: 51st Chicago International Film Festival Closes with Best of Fest, ‘Carol’ & ‘Spotlight’

Spotlight

CHICAGO – All great things come to an end, and the 51st Chicago International Film Festival is no exception, concluding on October 28th and 29th, 2015, with the Best of the Fest, in addition to a special presentation of the new Todd Haynes’ film “Carol’ and their Closing Night film event, the tense journalism thriller “Spotlight.”

Film Review: ‘Cinderella’ Finds New Magic in Old Fairy Tale

CHICAGO – In the years since “Shrek,” the fractured fairy tale has become Hollywood’s default approach. We’ve been treated to so many irreverent and increasingly labored treatments of storybook characters, that Disney’s new live-action “Cinderella” comes off as relatively fresh by comparison.

Film Review: Too-Long ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ Delivers on Intimate, Hand-to-Hand Combat

CHICAGO – Though he’s never been called it before in scientific speak, I’m saying it now: Peter Jackson is a master of mitosis. He’s one of Hollywood’s best in splitting up the cinematic cellular DNA of one story into three because, apparently, he can’t do epics unless they’re in groups of three.

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