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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 »

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 »

MIDNIGHT MASS (Netflix)

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 »

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