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Monthly Archives: October 2013

SPINNING PLATES

Two months ago I was feted, by my children, to a gastronomical degustation, fit for royalty; four hours of unrelenting, awesome culinary creations; organic, sculptural, floating, fired artistry defying the imagination and palate; cuisine, mythically inspired by a genius, whose gifts surpass Olympian proportions, chef Grant Achatz , renown innovator and owner of “Alinea”, a Michelin three-star restaurant, in Chicago. ... Read More »

12 YEARS A SLAVE

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“More inhumanity has been done (to man) by man himself, than any other of nature’s causes.” (Samuel von Pufendore, 1632-94). Experiencing, (it is a visceral, torturous, emotional rack) Steve McQueen’s exceptionally intelligent “12 Years a Slave”, the true story of Solomon Northup’s horrific betrayal; he is a refined, educated violinist, with a wife and two children, living respectfully in Saratoga ... Read More »

REMINISCES OF THE 49TH CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Peneflix Movie Review

Overwhelmingly, the most exceptional film festival to date; due to the prescient insights and monumental dedication of founder Michael Kutza and profoundly committed programming director, Mimi Plauche. By following Mini’s recommendations I was able to plunder the emotional vicissitudes of troubled, challenged marriages: “Le-Weekend”, “With You Without You”, “A Thousand Times Good Night”; women fighting an intransigent, male-governed sphere: “Trapped”, ... Read More »

CHICAGO FILM FESTIVAL: QUIET FILMS ORCHESTRATE A CACOPHONY OF QUESTIONS AND REFLECTIONS

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CHASING FIREFLIES (COLOMBIA:ENGLISH SUBTITLES) A film that unveils the fine line between being alone and loneliness. In a desolate Colombian salt mine, “Manrique” , a simple man, cares for the property; his sole companion, a dog “chasing fireflies”, defines his comfortable isolation until a young, sprite “Valeria” trespasses on his turf and irrevocably, magnificently changes his existence. Director Roberto Flores ... Read More »

TRIFECTA AT THE FEST: 3 FOREIGN WINNERS FROM THE CHICAGO FILM FESTIVAL

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MY SWEET PEPPER LAND: (IRAQ, FRANCE, GERMANY:ENGLISH SUBTITLES) Scintillating blend of contemporary and archaic spheres in a destitute Kurdish village after the death of Saddam Hussein. “Govend” a gorgeous, idealistic educator convinces her father and seven brothers to allow her to return to her teaching position in this testosterone-driven village;  she meets “Baran” the police commissioner, a fearless war veteran, ... Read More »

FEST REGRETS: DISAPPOINTING FILMS FROM THE CHICAGO FILM FESTIVAL: COMMENCING WITH “THE IMMIGRANT” (USA)

Marion Cotillard, with a face to launch a thousand films, could not salvage “The Immigrant” a movie with a big heart, and inconsequential spine; Ellis Island, 1921; “Ewa” (Cotillard) a Polish immigrant, separated from her sister is protected by “Bruno” (Joaquin Phoenix) a volatile “savior” who uses Ewa for nefarious, illegal purposes. The film flounders, drowns in melodrama, benign character ... Read More »

BEST OF FEST: MIDWAY THROUGH THE CHICAGO FILM FESTIVAL

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At this point of total emersion, I will address, in mini -synopsis, the requests for my favorites: A THOUSAND TIMES GOOD NIGHT (Norway: In English) Juliette Binoche, pulls out all the stops and gives one the most brilliant performances of her career; as photographer “Rebecca” she treads where only the fearless venture; commencing with the conversion of a woman as ... Read More »

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS

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Recently, there have been films, based on actual people, cosmic events, that have been controversial, challenged because of their supposed inaccuracies or flawed “hair-raising” technicalities: “The Butler”, “Gravity” and now “Captain Phillips”. Unless billed as a documentary, I gift “poetic license” to the filmmakers. These films are stunning, immensely entertaining and worthy of their embellishments or lack thereof. Once again, ... Read More »

RUNNER RUNNER

RUNNER, RUNNER

A “runner”, reminiscent of a broker’s employee, delivering a market order to the broker’s floor trader; once delivered, order executed, the runner runs, and confirms the completion, to the trader. Runners are sinking towards obsolesce, replaced by an electronic platform. Wish this film suffered the same fate before being splayed on the big screen; dumped unceremoniously on a naive, unsuspecting ... Read More »

YOU WILL BE MY SON (FRENCH:ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

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Never has cruelty been showcased in such a ravishing landscape; blackness of human nature set in luscious loveliness, a Bordeaux vineyard run by obsessive, perfectionist “Paul de Marseul” (brilliant interpretation by Niels Arestrup); a Beelzebub, with a Faustian tongue whose “grapes” reap more respect than any man. Director/writer Gilles Legrande paints a portrait of evil, so profound, overwhelmingly egregious, it ... Read More »

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