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Vincent Cassel

Film Review: The Artist’s Obsession in ‘Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti’

CHICAGO – The art masters, and the masterpieces they have created, become a background culture in our lives… even if we don’t necessarily know the artist. Paul Gauguin is one of those painters-as-cultural-influencer, and a vital point in his artistic life is told in the film “Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti.”

Film Review: Matt Damon is Fighting Mad in Tense ‘Jason Bourne’

CHICAGO – To come back to a character that everyone thought he had left behind, Matt Damon needed the right creative team. He got it again in co-writer (with Christopher Rouse) and director Paul Greengrass, and together they fashioned a paranoid spy tale in the rat-a-tat “Jason Bourne.”

2015 Sundance Diary: ‘Listen to Me Marlon,’ ‘Pervert Park,’ ‘Seoul Searching’ & Festival Wrap-Up

PARK CITY, Utah – This is the last batch of Sundance reviews I’ve got to offer. A tad late, but I couldn’t let these films go uncommented on, especially with their special offerings for those who seek them out. I hope that each of these films finds an audience.

Blu-ray Review: Danny Boyle’s ‘Trance’ Isn’t Hypnotizing Enough

Trance

CHICAGO – It may sound harsh but “Trance” will be a mere footnote in the career of Danny Boyle. It’s neither one of his best but also far from his worst film. The mega-talented director of “Shallow Grave,” “Trainspotting,” and “127 Hours” brings his confident style to the film but the convoluted script turns in on itself so many times that I think even Boyle got a little bored with it. Rosario Dawson overplays but Vincent Cassel once again intrigues and James McAvoy delivers. It will be a footnote for them all.

Film Review: Danny Boyle Nearly Mesmerizes with ‘Trance’

CHICAGO – Danny Boyle’s “Trance” is an undeniably well-made thriller that works back in on itself a few too many times for disbelief to stay suspended but delivers enough escapist entertainment to be considered a success. It’s totally ridiculous and yet never boring, propelled by the quick-cut style of the man who brought similar momentum to “Shallow Grave,” “Trainspotting,” and “28 Days Later.”

Blu-ray Review: Criterion Unleashes Young Fury of ‘La Haine’

La Haine

CHICAGO – With NATO protests about to descend on Chicago, “La Haine” seems to have as much power as it did on its release almost twenty years ago. It is a visceral, draining experience about class struggles, increased diversity in Paris, economic inequality, and unchanneled rage. In other words, it’s a perfect choice for a Criterion Blu-ray upgrade as the Occupy Movement prepares to descend on the Windy City.

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.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1’ Offers More of the Same

Mesrine Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – Just as Steven Soderbergh’s “Che” and Olivier Assayas’ “Carlos” recounted the true tale of a controversial revolutionary over the span of at least two theatrically released pictures, Jean-François Richet’s 2008 double feature “Mesrine” stages the jaw-dropping amount of robberies and prison escapes committed by its titular French gangster. His resumé is impressive, but his life makes for rather redundant drama.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Orange is the New Black

    CHICAGO – Orange Day is Friday (July 27, 2018)… as in “Orange is the New Black.” That’s when Season Six will be available for download from Netflix, as the online series continues to showcase the women inmates at Litchfield Penitentiary, three of whom are played by Taylor Schilling (Piper), Kate Mulgrew (Red) and Dascha Polanco (Daya).

  • Everybody, Brown Paper Box Co

    CHICAGO – When is the last time a stage play, based in an intimate setting, made you think about your life, death, and the destiny inherent in both? “Everybody,” staged by Brown Paper Box Co. (BPBCo), is such a play, and the energetic aura and sense of surprise that the show contains is soul soothing wonder. The show has various evening/matinee performances at the Pride Arts Center in Chicago run through August 12, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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