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MARRIAGE STORY

Aching in its exquisiteness, director/writer Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” is paralyzing with its candor, straightforwardness, dignity, veracity; a couple who’ve lost their tenuous hold on togetherness, the “ties that bind”, now shackle; love’s elasticity threadbare, worn, irreparable. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, give Academy Award performances as the broken couple, “Charlie” and “Nicole”; he is a wunderkind stage play director, ... Read More »

FORD V FERRARI

Director James Mangold (“Walk the Line”) gratuitously, spectacularly blesses audiences with a film designed to please, placate, entertain, not just racing enthusiasts, but all film devotees. Matt Damen and Christian Bale dominate the screen (reminiscent of Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”) imbuing their friendship with simple, sublime sincerity; integrity rarely demonstrated. Bale is ... Read More »

THE GOOD LIAR

A preposterous premise, flirting with the absurd, leaves one groaning with its inanity; septuagenarian “Betty” (Helen Mirren) and octogenarian “Roy” (Ian McKellen) meet on a dating site (lunacy commences); coy clichés, saturated with gullibility, daffy naiveté; Betty, a supposed Oxford scholar, hoodwinked into combining her fortune with Roy’s; from the get- go, we are cognizant that Roy is the optimum ... Read More »

MIDWAY

Why did this movie, with one of the poorest, pathetic scripts ever birthed, soar to box office heights its first weekend? Because folks wanted pure, jingoism; director Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day”, “White House Down”), lionized the heroic tactics of the U.S. Navy on June 4-7, 1942, defeating the Japanese at the Battle of Midway; commencing with the December 7, 1941 attack ... Read More »

THE LIGHTHOUSE

Director/writer Robert Eggers emulates predecessors Orson Wells and William Wyler with his black and white creation, “The Lighthouse”; a tale of two freakish outliers that will fiendishly haunt you long after their filmic exit; Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, lighthouse keepers, “Tom” and  “Ephraim”;  Shakespearean in pathos, hubris and creepy comparisons to “Captain Ahab”; Tom (Dafoe at his pinnacle) is ... Read More »

HARRIET

A paragon of fortitude, courage, selflessness; Harriet Tubman (1820?-1913) depicted with monumental, staggering, dignity by actor Cynthia Ervio; Tubman, whose visage is worthy of any currency, stamp, postcard; canonization should be hers. Director Kasi Lemmons, without empiricism, gifts Harriet Tubman the lionization she earned, won, by standing against and treading upon evil: “people were not meant to own other people.” ... Read More »

MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN

From the first scene I was ambushed, happily held captive; reminiscent of archaic Humphrey Bogart movies; Edward Norton gives viewers a character of comprehensive uniqueness; afflicted with Tourette’s syndrome, in tandem with a photographic memory, private detective “Lionel Essrog” (Motherless Brooklyn) relentlessly pursues his boss and closest friend’s killer; Bruce Willis as “Frank Minna” owns this minimal but gutsy role; ... Read More »

THE CURRENT WAR

Earlier this year I attended a lecture concentrating on the contributions, competitions, inventions of: Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), George Westinghouse (1846-1941), Nikola Tesla (1856-1943); the professor’s initial question was “who was the greater genius?”; the vast majority of upraised hands were for “Tesla”; over two hours of fascinating edification left me longing for the film, directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (“American ... Read More »

JOJO RABBIT

Massively heralded by film festivals worldwide, I found director/actor Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit”  decidedly disturbing commencement, laden with solipsist sensationalism; nearing the end of WWII, German ten-year-old “Jojo” (extraordinary, mesmerizing Roman Griffin) and his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi) taut the sardonic blessings of being a paragon of Nazism: blue-eyed, virulent, anti-Semitic Aryans; Jojo, armed and prepared to defend ... 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 »

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