Lars von Trier

Film Review: Unsettling View of Evil in Lars von Trier’s ‘The House That Jack Built’

House That Jack Built, The

CHICAGO – With director Lars von Trier, who is a mad f**king genius of a filmmaker, it’s always make or break (or both). He breaks in his latest, “The House That Jack Built” which is all too much of evil everything, until it morphs into a last act that has an intriguing and unsettling sense of weird purpose. The story of a serial killer and the meticulous realizations of his killings is like a sound meter that is constantly going into the red zone, until the damn thing shatters.

Blu-ray Review: Criterion Assembles Great Package For Landmark ‘Breaking the Waves’

Breaking the Waves

It’s hard to overstate the shock waves that Lars Von Trier’s “Breaking the Waves” made when it was released in 1996. It’s not as if LVT was a completely unknown commodity but this was a new level for the filmmaker in the way he both played with his form and embraced larger-than-life imagery. “Breaking the Waves” was both grounded in classic themes and felt like the coming-out party for Dogme, the movement founded by LVT that embraced natural filmmaking techniques like handheld cameras and sunlight.

Film Review: Brutal Next Chapter Defines ‘Nymphomaniac: Vol. 2’

Nymphomaniac: Vol. 2

CHICAGO – The exploration of sexuality is a stark breakthrough in the “Nymphomaniac” film series by writer/director Lars von Trier. In the story of a woman interacting with her nature, there are shades of all physically active individuals. “Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1” covered the younger days of the main character of Joe. Vol. 2 takes her to the next, and more brutal phase – challenging her life and her disposition.

Slideshow: Exclusive Portraits of Stars Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe of ‘Nymphomaniac’

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Uma Thurman in 2009, Portrays Mrs. H. in ‘Nymphomaniac.’

CHICAGO – The release of the controversial new film from Lars von Trier, “Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1,” took place on March 21st. This is part of a two volume “Nymphomaniac” film series, featuring Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe and Connie Nielsen. Photographer Joe Arce of HollywoodChicago.com offers Exclusive Portraits of all three cast members from past appearances in Chicago.

Film Review: Nature, Morality Collide in ‘Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1’

Nymphomaniac: Vol 1

CHICAGO – Director and writer Lars von Trier creates exposure through his film art. He is unafraid to explore the very nature of being human, while at the same time revealing the very foibles of barriers to our nature – social structures, economies, religion and our own conceits in life. Lars von Trier’s latest barrier breaker is “Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1.”

Film Feature: The 10 Best Films of Sundance 2014

The instant-response nature of our media has forced a bizarre question on nearly every minute of the Sundance Film Festival — “Is it a GOOD year?” Journalists and festival goers talk in hushed tones about the first time they saw beloved Sundance films like “Clerks,” “Bottle Rocket,” “Winter’s Bone,” or “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and wonder if there’s anything this year to compare. Personally, I had a spectacular year.

2014 Sundance Diary, Day 6: Wrapping it Up with a Twisted Double Feature

Park City was abuzz on the final day with guesses as to what the secret screening known as “Film X” would be on Tuesday night. Could it be Wes Anderson’s “Grand Budapest Hotel”? Maybe “Foxcatcher,” which was almost done in time for awards season and so may be now? “Snowpiercer”? The new Kevin Smith? “Star Wars, Episode VII”?

Film News: Columbia College’s ‘Cinema Slapdown’ to Feature Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com

Cinema Slapdown

CHICAGO – Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 12th at 7pm as Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com participates in “Cinema Slapdown,” presented by the Film & Video Department at Columbia College in Chicago. Screening at the event is the film “Melancholia,” directed by Lars von Trier, followed by a “debate” between McDonald and Penelope Steiner of Peneflix.com. The exchange will be “refereed” by Film & Video Associate Professor and “Talk Cinema” host Ron Falzone.

Blu-ray Review: Gorgeous Transfer For Lars Von Trier’s Incredible ‘Melancholia’

Melancholia

CHICAGO – Lars Von Trier’s incredible “Melancholia” gets better both in memory and on repeat viewing, especially with a pristine, jaw-dropping transfer like the one granted it by Magnolia on their recently-released Blu-ray. It may have been left out of all Academy Award categories but this was easily one of the best movies of last year. And the few before that as well. Most people missed it in theaters. Catch up on Blu-ray.

Film Review: Lars Von Trier’s Mesmerizing ‘Melancholia’ Turns Depression Into Art

CHICAGO – Lars Von Trier’s “Melancholia” is a mesmerizing, haunting portrayal of the world-shattering force of depression from a filmmaker who has first-hand knowledge of the debilitating disease. With career-best work by Kirsten Dunst and some of the most confident filmmaking from its controversial director, this is one of the best films of 2011, a stunningly original examination of that which is completely out of our control.

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  • Grace, Or the Art of Climbing

    CHICAGO – What is life but a constant climb? The Brown Paper Box Co., one of the most vital storefront theater groups in Chicago, asks that question and more in the significant “Grace, Or the Art of Climbing.” Using a woman’s journey through some difficult situations, the parallels of “the climb” become a artfully performed story that is all inspiration and uplift. The play runs through July 7th, 2019, at Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District in Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Elizabeth Laidlaw

    CHICAGO – The recent limited series “The Red Line” on CBS-TV was notable for a couple elements – it was set in Chicago and it featured Chicago actors in major roles. Creators Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss (from here), cast their Chi-town colleague Elizabeth Laidlaw, who portrayed police officer “Vic” Renna.

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