Reviews, profiles and news about movies in Chicago

A Pounce of Destruction: The Collective Comedy of Key and Peele’s “Keanu”

Action, Comedy, Recommended 1 Comment »


By Ray Pride

After five years on Comedy Central, comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele make a leap to the widescreen with “Keanu,” an action comedy that pits two cousins against drug-dealing gangsters after the loss of a beloved gray tabby named, yes, “Keanu.” The tabby battles for cutest feline honors ever in a swear-filled, R-rated tribute to 1980s-nineties movies like “Midnight Run.” We caught up with the team one recent morning at Bucktown’s Tree House Humane Society, but sadly, sans kittens.

Do you know the collective noun for cats?
Key: No!

It’s a litter of kittens. But it’s a pounce of cats.
Peele: A pounce of cats. Really.

Feral cats, it’s a destruction of feral cats.
Key: Okay, that just overtook a murder of crows. Murder of crows was always the best one. A destruction! What’s a pod? Whales? No, that’s a herd. A pod. A pod of dolphins! And an army of frogs.

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Review: The Club

Drama, Recommended, World Cinema No Comments »


Four disgraced, abusive Roman Catholic priests live quietly by the remote seaside in “The Club” (El club), the latest drama from Chilean director Pablo Larraín (“Tony Manero,” 2008; “No,” 2012). Guilt and denial about Chile’s past and the predations of Pinochet run deeply through Larraín’s work and the hothouse atmosphere, steeped in tragedy and in darkest comedy, open another door to a society’s dark past. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Rio, I Love You

Comedy No Comments »


A third metropolis gets the “city of love” coochy-coo in “Rio, I Love You,” after globe-com anthologies “Paris, je t’aime” and “New York, I Love You.” It’s not much of a calling card for whichever city the producers hope to descend onto next. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Louder Than Bombs

Drama, Recommended No Comments »


The fleet dreams of Joachim Trier’s three features, “Reprise,” “Oslo, August 31st” and now “Louder Than Bombs” define the Norwegian director as one of the most cinema-savvy of contemporary filmmakers. Playing with formal qualities while also baring the darkest emotions, Trier’s style, allusive as literature, elusive as lyricism, accomplished with a regular crew of collaborators that include co-writer Eskil Vogt and cinematographer Jakob Ihre, is virtuosic but intentionally, intrinsically ragged. First, you think, how is this moment, this shot, this patterning, this music cue, so beautiful, so odd and then so true, and often so emotionally devastating? Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Old Fashioned: The Story of the Wisconsin Supper Club

Documentary, Recommended No Comments »



Holly de Ruyter’s “Old Fashioned: The Story Of The Wisconsin Supper Club” fits a snug little niche with its look at the unusual persistence of “supper clubs” in the Badger State, even as chain restaurants dot the Midwestern landscape. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Fireworks Wednesday

Drama, Recommended, World Cinema No Comments »



Master filmmaker Asghar Farhadi has a seventh feature in post-production, but the director of “The Past” and “A Separation” has had a welcome, if uncommon high profile in American art-houses, with a first theatrical release of 2009’s “About Elly” last year, and now his third feature, 2006’s “Fireworks Wednesday” (Chaharshanbe-Soori). Farhadi’s superb directorial attributes include immaculate production design, the blocking of actors inside lovingly detailed locations and a sure sense of suspense, which often simmers when the most commonplace of gestures is mistaken for the deepest betrayal. Read the rest of this entry »

Under Siege: Jeremy Saulnier on the Bloody Precision of “Green Room”

Action, Comedy, Drama, Horror, Recommended 1 Comment »


By Ray Pride

“It’s all just a clusterfuck for them,” writer-director Jeremy Saulnier says of the fate of the young punk-rock protagonists of “Green Room.” Or as Darcy, the blunt neo-Nazi club owner played by Patrick Stewart puts it: “Things have gone south. It won’t end well.”

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Review: Babushkas Of Chernobyl

Documentary, Recommended No Comments »



In the Dead Zone outside Chernobyl’s Reactor No. 4, three women—Hanna Zavorotyna, Maria Shovkuta and Valentyna Ivanivna—have lived almost three decades on their own. They get the occasional visitor, ranging from ample feral fauna to workers who rotate in and out of the exclusion zone to adventurers who play out their own post-Tarkovsky “Stalker” fantasies on some of the most toxic land on the planet. (A Chernobyl-set video game, “S.T.A.L.K.E.R.,” is the more immediate inspiration for the incursions.) Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Bill

Comedy No Comments »


Casts of two British children’s series, “Horrible Histories” and “Yonderland” combine to extremely local effect with a family-ish comedy of a low order about the “lost years” of the lute-playing “Bill” (Matthew Baynton). Read the rest of this entry »

Review: In Harmony

Drama, Recommended, World Cinema No Comments »

En equilibre 02


Denis Dercourt’s “In Harmony” (En équilibre) pits a willful stuntman (Albert Dupontel) who loses use of his legs after a fall from a horse against a woman, an insurance adjuster, who had intended to be a pianist (Cécile De France) but was thwarted early. Read the rest of this entry »