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57TH CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: THOUGHTS AND FINAL FILMS

Of the myriad of festivals, I have engaged in this, the 57th, was the most comprehensive, inclusive I have ever visited. In this age of cancel culture, wokeism, pejorative, purblind sensationalism the festival soared above politics, race, gender, religion but primarily myopic, narrow, restricted minds. Embracing female actors and directors, unveiling worldwide dictates regarding religion, spiritualism, focusing on one’s choices ... Read More »

CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL PART 4

“SUNDOWN” Set within the sizzling confines of Acapulco, Mexico. Director Michel Franco, sustained by a momentous performance by Tim Roth, questions man’s dominance over his choices and subsequent consequences. THREE & ½ STARS “LOVE, CHARLIE: THE RISE AND FALL OF CHEF CHARLIE TROTTER” Director Rebecca Halpern’s dissection of Trotter’s escalation from childhood to eminence is a “must see” triumph; Shakespearean ... Read More »

CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL PART 3

“THE LAST DUEL” Following the Rashomon Syndrome, viewers must decide which of the three scenarios is closest to the truth; glorious filmmaking and superior acting cement one’s attention for its over two hour duration. Director Ridley Scott focuses on an actual, occurrence in 14th century France: Marguerite, (Jodi Comer, sublime “damsel in distress”) the wife of Knight Jean de Carrouges ... Read More »

CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: PART TWO

THE POWER OF THE DOG Director Jane Campion (“The Piano”, 1993) scores radiantly, intelligently with her adaptation of Thomas Savage’s novel of the same name: Benedict Cumberbatch soars as erudite, brutal, misanthropic rancher “Phil Burbank”; his brother “George” depicted with refined docility by Jesse Plemons, valiantly strives to soften Phil’s grotesque persona; Kristen Dunst, simmers as George’s wife “Rose”, a ... Read More »

CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

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 »

LAMB (Icelandic: English subtitles) in theatres

Having recently returned from a sojourn in Iceland, where the seasons were still vying for supremacy and man is perpetually subjected to nature’s whim, domination; sheep govern the landscape, their floppy ears tagged with marked ownership; two-legged creatures are rarely sighted and these furry mammals roam with impunity. “Lamb” is eerily strange, mystical and powerfully potent; co-writer and director Valdimar ... Read More »

TITANE (French: English subtitles) (in theatres) SPOILERS!

I can say in all truthfulness that this is the ugliest film I have ever seen, totally lacking in any redemptive attributes, with the exception of a couple dance sequences; director Julia Ducournau’s (“Raw”) harrowing, bleak, frightening imagination plummets to its bottommost circle, besting Dante’s “Paradise Lost”; protagonist, “Alexia/Adrien” (androgynous, Agatha Rousselle) has a titanium (“Titane”) plate in her head ... Read More »

TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE, THAT IS THE QUESTION

“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 »

TO STREAM OR NOT

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 »

RUMINATIONS ON AN ICELANDIC EXCURSION

 This is NOT a film review; it was a time of rejuvenation, a time to doff, escape the norm, the perpetual titillation of movie manna; deliverance from the cacophonous mayhem of city life: cars, motorcycles, souped up vehicles, whose only purpose is the annihilation of peace; a time to “stop the world” and wallow, effortlessly in a landscape guaranteed to ... Read More »

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