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CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL CONTINUES TO ASTOUND

“Motley’s Law” (Denmark). Kimberly Motley is a contemporary, tough, captivating symbol of a woman who earns her badge of courage every waking moment, as the solitary American permitted to practice law in Afghanistan. Director Nicole Horanyi follows Kimberly through her courageous, terrifying days, gifting audiences a penetrating, inspirational portrait of an individual whose mission knows no fears, no bounds. “Tag” ... Read More »

MORE TIPS FROM THE FEST: CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

“Sparrows” (Iceland, Denmark). Beautiful portrait of a young, gifted teenager, ripped from his comfort zone, adjusting to a life with his alcoholic father; poignant, gritty and provocative. “Tikkun” (Israel). At this point in the festival, “Tikkun” is the most problematic, traumatic; filmed sensationally in black and white, focusing on a Yeshiva boy, saved from death’s clutches by his stringent, intransigent ... Read More »

CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: FLICKS TO PICK OR SKIP

Seeing three or four films a day, bouncing from one country to another is thrilling, entertaining and challenging; after four days here is a “taste” of the places I’ve savored so far: “Mia Madre” (Italy, France); Nanni Moretti (director/actor) semi- autobiographical scenario revolving around the  vicissitudes of balancing one’s daily life/profession while dealing with the imminent passing of a beloved ... Read More »

STEVE JOBS

Doubt if this is the final film/documentary on the Merlin who changed the universe; a complicated,  conflicted man whose genius has invaded, conquered our cognizant existence. Based on Walter Isaacson’s biography (approved by Jobs), screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, director Danny Boyle and the inimitable Michael Fassbender as the forceful, vindictive visionary, “Steve Jobs”, is visually extraordinary, stunningly written, directed and performed; ... Read More »

LABYRINTH OF LIES (GERMAN: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

Imagine the perfect, idyllic childhood: all your needs and whims met by adoring parents; parents you strove to emulate, please, desiring only to meet or surpass their expectations; then as an adult discovering that they were complicit in the most horrific, catastrophic crime visited on humanity since its birth. This moral dilemma is addressed succinctly, passionately, without platitudes or obfuscations  ... Read More »

THE WALK (A MUST IN 3-D)

Watching this stunningly sensational film, directed by Robert Zemeckis (“Forest Gump”) and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as funambulist, Philippe Petit, who on August 6th, 1974 floated between the rooftops of New York City’s World Trade Center aka the “Twin Towers”, I was overwhelmed by a powerful, wrenching sense of nostalgia, not just for the loss of lives and the erasure of ... Read More »

EVEREST (A MUST IN 3-D)

On April 14, 2009 a friend and I flew in a twelve-seater airplane around Mt. Everest, the world’s tallest mountain at 29,029 feet; a daunting experience being in the presence of one of nature’s most intimidating, unfriendly, hostile behemoths. The frigid colossus lacked man’s interference that day. Director Baltasar Kormakur’s magnificent, prescient “Everest” focuses on the catastrophic events of May, ... Read More »

THE MARTIAN

Director Ridley Scott and actor Matt Damon bless audiences with a film that has it all: breathtaking, mystical planet Mars; there is something positively spiritual about the otherworldly landscape; compelling, futuristic scientific strategies; actors trained (similar to Sandra Bullock in “Gravity”) to maneuver corridors of the gliding spaceship, “Hermes” (the Greek god of of the underworld,  a messenger); a script ... Read More »

99 HOMES

2008 was the year of global financial reckoning; banks imploded;  helium fizzled, at a stratospheric rate, from the real estate market; accountability has yet to be determined; those who believed their homes would always escalate in value were devastated when the reverse occurred; incapable of paying their mortgages, the banks foreclosed on their egregious loans and countless evictions ensued. The ... Read More »

PENEFLIX PICKS AND SKIPS: CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (OCTOBER 15-29TH)

After a gluttonous, film- frenzied week at the Cannes Film Festival (May 2015) I posted a mini synopsis of those movies I experienced; repeating again, hoping to inspire those umbilically attached to their couches, to valiantly severe the relationship and venture forth to the darkened, silent anonymity of AMC 21 Theatres. This year’s selection is especially stunning, with over 200 ... Read More »

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