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LES MISERABLES (FRENCH:ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

“There is more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity in the higher”; Victor Hugo “Les Misérables”, 1862. This gutsy, gritty slice of realism by writer/director Ladj Ly bleeds with the intensity, brutality of the Paris projects; a trio of politically correct police officers, daily patrol the claustrophobic, cacophonous streets of iniquities; cops and budding felons entwined; boundaries, ... Read More »

PENEFLIX PREDICTIONS: 92ND ACADEMY AWARDS

Peneflix is taking a hiatus from a competitive contest this year; not reneging on listing my “best” picks; ignoring the overlooked, concentrating on the testosterone-driven, “hueless” candidates; no “will/should”, just my feverish, instinctive selections:   BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Brad Pitt, “ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD”  *PENEFLIX PICK* Tom Hanks, A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD Anthony Hopkins, THE TWO POPES Al ... Read More »

IP MAN 4: THE FINALE (CHINESE CANTONESE, ENGLISH: SUBTITLES IN ALL LANGUAGES)

During this ponderous hiatus, waiting for the winners of the Golden Globes and Academy Awards, I periodically step out of my comfort zone, imbibing in genres I know little about and have minimal interest in; martial arts falls into this category; even though a neophyte, I found “Ip Man 4: The Finale” dimensionless, pejorative, sophomorically written but plausibly entertaining in ... Read More »

BETTER DAYS (MANDARIN/CHINESE: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

2019’s Asian films have held Western audiences enthralled: “Parasite”, “My People, My Country”, “Gully Boy”. “Better Days”, is a stunner, based on reality, director Derek Tsang, despite controversy, is breaking records, surpassing 190 million USD; focusing on the insidious, universal epidemic of bullying; “Chen Nian” (brilliant, Zhou Dongyu), a teenager struggling with a debt-ridden mother, being taunted by her contemporaries ... Read More »

THE END OF THE FEST

After bushels of popcorn, mounds of milk duds, gallons of diet coke, but quintessentially a myriad of fine films, time to bid adieu to the 55th Chicago International Film Festival; so long to heart palpating, mind boggling, enlightening, stunning scenarios; energizing, electrifying movies that titillate, horrify, prod viewers to tear down, blast ingrained perceptions, opening highways never tread, leading to ... Read More »

CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: NEARING ITS CONCLUSION

In its 55th year and stylishly stunning in its elucidation, diversity, and searing topics; documentaries have gone beyond the pale in focusing on subjects and events worthy of exposure, illumination; highlighted are: FORMAN VS FORMAN (reviewed 10/22), THE HYPNOTIST (reviewed 10/24) MOTHER (reviewed 10/24) LOVE CHILD: winner of the Gold Hugo for Best Documentary (yet to be seen).   “THE ... Read More »

CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: UPDATE

“MOTHER” (Belgium/The Netherlands); captivating true tale of two mothers, each with three children, one a caretaker the other an early-onset Alzheimer’s patient; forbearing, long-suffering and infused with kindness; audiences watch as these two disparate women become one.   “BY THE GRACE OF GOD” (France); one of the most profound indictments of the Catholic Church and the pedophilia that is pervasive ... Read More »

CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: HALFWAY MARK

In its 55th year, the Festival exponentially sears in its depth, scope, and remarkable lionization of filmmakers and their creations. Here are my pivotal takes to date:   “SONG WITHOUT A NAME” (PERU). A fraudulent clinic steals and sells newborns of poor, paperless women; a totalitarian regime interferes with its citizens lives. Gloriously filmed in black and white.   “Portrait ... Read More »

PARASITE (KOREAN: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho (“The Host”, “Snowpiercer”) won Cannes 2019’s, Palme d’or, for the astronomically mesmerizing “Parasite”; with biting, lacerating wit, psychological challenges, he orchestrates a scenario, in chess-like fashion, of a duel between the “haves” and those who long to be. Sublime acting by every character depicts a likeable group that earns respect from the inception. In dire ... Read More »

FIRST LOVE (JAPANESE: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

Perpetually, I avoid exposing myself to “too much information” about any film; avoidance is easier in the “Foreign” category; “First Love” has catastrophically, with extreme circumstances, altered forever, my resolve. A bastardized attempt by director Takashi Miike to outlandishly mimic “Marvel Mania”, Wes Craven, Stephen King, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Coen brothers, Denis Villeneuve; with the first decapitation, and subsequent drug dynamic I ... Read More »

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