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In the embryonic stages of the 57th Chicago International Film Festival, I can predict it will surpass all expectations because of the astute prescience of Artistic Director Mimi Plauche and Managing Director Vivian Teng. Viewed to date: “Lingui, The Sacred Bonds”. (French: English Subtitles) Director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun focuses on the restricted lives of Muslim women living in Chad; abortion is ... Read More »

NO TIME TO DIE (in theatres)

Daniel Craig has completed his fifth 007 and it is a stunner; initially not a fan, missing the debonaire, dark suaveness of his predecessors: Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan; Craig was more of an ale guy, no way “shaken, not stirred”; after his third, “Skyfall” his fair, steely-eyed muscularity convinced me that he was imminently plausible as ... Read More »


Moments of stunning brilliance shrouded in diabolical, draconian, sacrilegious horror; created and directed by Mike Flanagan (an altar boy in his youth); this series of seven episodes has enraptured or scandalized viewers; I find myself vacillating between the two. Familiarity with both the old and new testaments lends concrete legitimacy to Flanagan’s literal, visceral, visual interpretation of the texts; the ... Read More »

DEAR EVAN HANSEN (in theatres)

The play was, and still is, one of the most idiosyncratic gems ever to grace the stage; the film is worthy of a second visit. Ben Platt again scores as the insecure, troubled teenager, “Evan Hansen”; director Stephen Chbosky in tandem with music creators Justin Paul and Dan Romer, for much of the movie, delightfully manipulate viewers emotions; tears were ... Read More »

BLUE BAYOU (in theatres)

In the past year we have watched endlessly, refuges on our borders; bedraggled stragglers, parentless children, nameless souls straining for life within the confines of our democratic society; we have also witnessed those who have lived in the United States their whole lives, only to be ripped away from their families because of undocumented status; “Blue Bayou” is an intimate ... Read More »

CRY MACHO (in theatres & streaming)

Clint Eastwood is an urban icon; he’s the “make my day” guy, legendary “Dirty Harry”; I have seen Clint Eastwood and his presence off the screen is just as magnificent as on, pulsating with charismatic enormity; so why in the name of his vast and stellar career would he produce, direct and star in this abysmal testimony of self-aggrandizement? He ... Read More »

THE CARD COUNTER (in theatres)

You will investigate one of the more intriguing protagonists on today’s screen; “William Tell” (depicted with astounding skill by Oscar Isaac), is a gambler with inscrutable control, a card counter, winning just enough to live, avoiding the casino’s radar screen; Tell is the purist study of PTSD I have ever witnessed; jailed for his role as an interrogator at Abu ... Read More »


“CANDYMAN”  (in theatres) A refreshing rendition of the 1992 original; taking it seriously from the get-go was an easy task because of the casting and direction (Nia DaCosta); “Candyman” is an urban legend, rising from the defunct Cabrini Green project in Chicago; doomed by his reputation, murdered unjustly; to meet him, stand in front of a mirror and say his ... Read More »


“MYSTERY OF THE LOST PORTRAIT” (AMAZON PRIME) Remarkability pungently, powerfully informs these two documentaries about a man, a polymath, whose iconic genius defies categorization: analyzation of the human body, helicopter, parachute, armored tank, a pioneer in the field of robotics, but it is his visionary paintings that cement his lionization, still pulsating fervently at the center of today’s art world, ... Read More »


SKIP: BECKETT (NETFLIX)  In fairness I could not last for more than 15 minutes of tested endurance; insufferable travails of “Beckett” (John David Washington) and his unflinching, clueless, girlfriend “April” (Alicia Vikander); a sparkless relationship and plot deserving of cauterization at its inception. ANNETTE (AMAZON PRIME) Yikes! Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, two respected, consummate actors had me cringing with ... Read More »

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