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Ingmar Bergman

Interview: Cinema Icon Liv Ullmann Directs ‘Miss Julie’

CHICAGO – Evoking the name Liv Ullmann is to bring back one of the more glorious and creative periods of Scandinavian cinema, especially the films of Ingmar Bergman. The actress has directed her seventh film, the passionate adaptation of an August Strindberg play, “Miss Julie,” featuring Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell.

Blu-ray Review: Criterion Inducts Bergman’s ‘Persona’ Into Collection

Persona

Few films have ever been as dissected and analyze as Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona”, recently released on Criterion Blu-ray for the first time with new special features. It’s somewhat ironic that so many people have spent so much intellectual energy on a film that Bergman admits came to him at a point of low health almost in a dream. In fact, “Persona” somewhat becomes less interesting to me as it’s dissected, much like Lynch’s “Mulholland Dr.” or Malick’s “Tree of Life”. They are distinctly emotional, symbolic pieces and perhaps they should just be appreciated as such instead of such analysis of “what they mean.” However you choose to appreciate one of Bergman’s most influential films, you should do so with the Criterion edition from this day forward.

Blu-ray Review: Devastating Honesty of Bergman’s ‘Autumn Sonata’

Autumn Sonata

CHICAGO – “Autumn Sonata,” Ingrid Bergman’s last film and first collaboration with cinema’s other great Bergman (Ingmar), is a challenging film. Is it pure melodrama or is it raw human emotion? The line is a fine one, enhanced by the theatricality of the film, one that opens with a character breaking the 4th wall. And yet I choose to take “Autumn Sonata” seriously and not as emotional manipulation, a decision enhanced by the enlightening essay in the Criterion edition by Farran Smith Nehme, which reveals how much of both Bergman’s own issues with parenthood may have impacted this caustic commentary on how we don’t really change, even as death is staring us in the face.

Blu-ray Review: Criterion Upgrades Bergman’s ‘Wild Strawberries’

Wild Strawberries

CHICAGO – Every month, Criterion mixes in a few HD upgrades for films in their collection to sit alongside new releases for the collection. One of those titles this month is spine #139, Ingmar Bergman’s adored “Wild Strawberries” (1957). It’s not one of my favorite Bergman films as I’ve always found its structure more frustrating than enlightening but “Wild Strawberries” has loyal fans who will be satisfied by this strong HD transfer and interesting special features.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘The Seventh Seal’ Still Dazzles From Criterion

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CHICAGO – What more is there to write about “The Seventh Seal”? Dozens of scholars more renowned than myself have already examined virtually every shot of the film. It has been dissected and discussed in dozens of languages and continues to be one of the most influential pieces of work in the history of its medium. The new Criterion Blu-Ray edition makes it clear why.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 10th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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