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Interview: Director Nadine Labaki Wonders ‘Where Do We Go Now?’

CHICAGO – The morality of conflict is brought to form in the new film, “Where Do We Go Now?,” written and directed by Nadine Labaki. This is a speculative fable about a small town in Lebanon that lives in harmony, as long as they are stay away from religious battles that plague the rest of the country. The town loves their peace, and the women there want to keep it that way.

Film Review: Whit Stillman’s Wittily Precious ‘Damsels in Distress’ Grows Tedious

Damsels in Distress Film Review

CHICAGO – The sly satires of Whit Stillman have cultivated a fan base that appears to consist largely of his fellow peers. Manhattan-based filmmakers such as Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach and Lena Dunham have cited his subdued comedies as an influence on their own similarly mannerist yet considerably more accessible work. For many moviegoers, Stillman’s brilliantly constructed, emotionally distant pictures are easy to admire but difficult to like.

Blu-ray Review: Great Actors Drive Intellectually Engaging ‘A Dangerous Method’

A Dangerous Method

CHICAGO – David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, features four of the most interesting performances of 2011 and is certainly a conversation piece in the themes that writer Christopher Hampton has chosen to explore. I still wish it had more of the actual “danger” of Cronenberg’s early work but there’s more to like here than I first thought, especially in what was brought to the material by those cast to deliver it.

Film Review: David Cronenberg’s ‘A Dangerous Method’ Needed More Risk

A Dangerous Method
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – There are glimpses of actual danger in David Cronenberg’s divisive “A Dangerous Method” with Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen, and Keira Knightley, and the film has a lingering power as it’s easy to roll around your brain and contemplate its themes, but I wanted a bit more actual risk to the filmmaking. Easily the masterful director’s most straightforward work in some time (possibly ever), this is a worthwhile piece that nonetheless disappoints in the context of the rest of his filmography.

Film Review: Michael Shannon Mesmerizes in Moody ‘Take Shelter’

Take Shelter Film Review

CHICAGO – It starts with a clap of thunder. Fierce winds cause the once serene landscape to shiver with unease. When the rain comes, it’s the color of motor oil. All it takes is a single glance at the looming gray clouds overhead to realize that the impending storm could be capable of anything. It’s enough to rock a level-headed man to his very foundation.

Film Review: Vera Farmiga Wrestles Religion in ‘Higher Ground’

CHICAGO – The subject of religion in America is rarely portrayed honestly in the movies, with its power to both inspire or offend. Vera Farmiga makes her directorial debut and plays the lead character in the religious-themed “Higher Ground.”

Blu-Ray Review: Sylvain Chomet’s Mesmerizing ‘The Illusionist’

The Illusionist

CHICAGO – I could (and will) watch “The Illusionist” over and over again. It is a stunning, gorgeous, mesmerizing experience. When the history books are written, I don’t think we will EVER have as strong a group of nominees in the Oscar category for Best Animated Film as we did last year when “Toy Story 3,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” and “The Illusionist” stood tall. All three would have won in many other years.

Film Review: Horrors of War Create Mystery in ‘Incendies’

Incendies

CHICAGO – One of the most honest aphorisms is “the first casualty of war is truth.” Those obscured facts are often the ones that come back to haunt future generations, and that is exceptionally illustrated in the new film “Incendies.” Piecing together a mother’s wartime activities become the basis for solving a mystery after her death.

Film Review: Morgan Spurlock Hawks ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Sold’

CHICAGO – In a remarkable idea for a film, director Morgan Spurlock (”Supersize Me”) funds his new documentary, “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” by selling sponsorships for financing. However, the process is redundantly explored, and no new ground is broken.

Film Review: World Conflict is a Boy’s Life For ‘Winter in Wartime’

Winter in Wartime

CHICAGO – When life collides with history, human beings are often both the perpetrators and the victims. In the excellent film “Winter in Wartime,” a boy grows up quickly when confronted with the realities of that history and life in the last days of World War II.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 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.

  • 2019 Physical Theater Festival

    CHICAGO – The visual artistry of the stage is often due to the picture that is created through the physicality and movement of the actors. This is brought to light in the 6th annual Physical Theater Festival in Chicago, a cornucopia of international imagination generating theater through the physical realm. Co-founders/Artistic Directors Alice Da Cunha and Marc Frost created the fest, which runs from May 31st through June 9th, 2019, Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District. All the Festival information – including tickets – can be found by clicking here.

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