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COLLECTIVE (On Demand)

If you watch one documentary in the 2020 field of reality, where truth is key and despite the license of the filmmakers, stuns to the core, “Collective” dominates the genre. On October 30th, 2015 a catastrophic fire in the nightclub “Collectiv” in Bucharest, Romania claims the lives of twenty-seven and alters forever the one hundred and eighty who escaped; the ... Read More »

ETHOS (TURKISH: ENGLISH SUBTITLES) NETFLIX

A stellar, refreshing, compelling series made for contemporary Turkish television; commanding performances in tandem with a notable, intelligent script and scenario; Western viewers are challenged to grasp the dichotomies between the secular and ever encroaching religious conservatism in a Muslim world; hijabs versus free flowing manes; women therapists justifying their scholarship in a closeted milieu, where naked honesty, self-doubt, insecurities ... Read More »

FINAL FILMS & 56TH CIFF WRAP-UP

Because of the advantage of screening from home I was able to pass the 40 plus mark; the last two days were a blitzkrieg : SHORTS: STEP INTO THE RIVER (CHINA/FRANCE). An animated film beautifully conveying acceptance, bullying, sending a strong message to children and adults.  FOUR STARS!!!! COMRADS (CHINA). Hong Kong uprising of 2019 is an intimate portrayal of ... Read More »

56TH CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL MARCHES TO ITS CONCLUSION; SWEAT (POLAND, SWEDEN) (GOLD HUGO, BEST FILM)

This film would not have been my choice, “New Order” or “Tomorrow, the World!” were far superior; but “Sweat”, which also took the award for Best Art Direction, spoke to the pervasive narcissism saturating social media in today’s milieu: ubiquitous sharing, from morning through evening, following gorgeous exercise guru “Sylvia Zajac” (Magdalena Kolesnik) motivating her fitness fans, walking her dog, visiting family, shaming her stalker, culminating in her ... Read More »

56TH CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL UPDATE

MEMORY HOUSE (BRAZIL). Haunting in its meanness, baseness, ugliness, the purist depiction of “man’s inhumanity to man” splayed upon the screen, in recent “memory”. There is not one redeeming characterization in its entirety; evil blooms exponentially with each generation. TWO STARS!! KUBRICK BY KUBRICK (FRANCE, POLAND) ( ENGLISH, FRENCH, ITALIAN). By watching this insightful documentary, director Gregory Monro’s unveiling of ... Read More »

VIRTUAL 56th CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL CONTINUES

Soars in intelligence, intrigue and imagination: GAZA MON AMOUR (ARABIC). Two beautiful, simple souls shimmer with goodness, kindness; destined to be united, rising above the restrictiveness of their state.  Ending, romantically with Puccini’s, Musetta’s Waltz from La Boheme. THREE STARS!!! NIGHT OF THE KINGS (FRENCH). Hypnotic, mystical, magical film, focusing on one night, in a prison, run by inmates; the ... Read More »

VIRTUAL CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Skipping negativity, focusing on positivity. The plusses of viewing from home: no dress code, heathy cuisine, seat is permanent, unrestricted bathroom breaks; viewer determines the genre and the time to watch.  Now in its fifth day, here is a wrap-up of movies seen: APPLES (GREECE). A simple, poignant tale of an amnesiac; beginning and ending with a bouquet of flowers; ... Read More »

MURDER MOST FOUL

Always a sleuth advocate: “Columbo”, “Kojak”, “Cagney & Lacey”, “Remington Steele” satiated by a weekly dose of mystery, murder and mayhem, my thirst for the macabre has grown exponentially through the years. Here are some suggestions guaranteed to quench one’s appetite for an enigmatic, inscrutable conundrum: “AMERICAN MURDER: THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR” (Netflix) director Jenny Popplewell’s true crime documentary focuses ... Read More »

I SEE YOU (NETFLIX) THE GIRL IN THE FOG (ITALIAN: ENGLISH SUBTITLES) AMAZON PRIME

Two mysteries created to titillate the most seasoned of “series” or movie sleuths; missing murdered children, myriad of homicidal possibilities; both infused with an appropriate modicum of barbarity, enough to stave off ennui, and most importantly, capitalize on the element of surprise. “I See You” commences benignly with the search for a missing teen: Jon Tenney (“The Closer”, “Major Crimes”) ... Read More »

MULAN (DISNEY+) & THE EIGHT HUNDRED (CHINESE:ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

Despite the political hubris, here are two films, whose attributes render the purist forms of entertainment: magically, magnificently filmed, landscapes proving a higher power, extraordinary metaphors universally resonating in this pandemic period; in spite of the controversy bubbling around the mythical “Mulan” or the veracity of the non-fictional “The Eight Hundred” directors Niki Caro’s (“Mulan”) and Guan Hu’s (“The Eight ... Read More »

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