Reviews, profiles and news about movies in Chicago

Review: The Lobster

Comedy, Drama, Recommended, World Cinema No Comments »


Deadpan allegory without a single straight answer: Yorgos Lanthimos’ fourth precise, absurdist comedy (after “Dogtooth” and “Alps”), and his first in English, is the answer to the question: Is one of the worst bad-date movies ever made also one of the great ones? Oh yeah. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: A Brighter Summer Day

Action, Comedy, Drama, Recommended, Romance, World Cinema No Comments »



“A Brighter Summer Day,” the late Edward Yang’s four-hour 1991 masterpiece, set in Taiwan in 1959 or so, is a coming-of-age film, a love story or three or four or five. It is also a true-crime tale, a wondrous gift in so many ways, especially on a large screen in this recent 4K digital restoration. Its multitude of astonishments include a sure, novelistic mastery of accruing details in an expansive shape that is built upon observation of the smallest moments, gestures, blood-boiling fixations, fetish objects, mortal desires, moral frustrations. Read the rest of this entry »

Gleaming the Narcissist: Whit Stillman Updates Jane Austen in “Love & Friendship”

Comedy, Recommended, Romance No Comments »

By Ray Pride

“They have really good coffee here,” Whit Stillman tells me as he busies our introduction with small talk, recalling a previous interview. (I wondered if he actually remembered a slightly confounded review of “Damsels in Distress.”) “I’m so excited by this good coffee.” Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Money Monster

Action, Comedy, Drama, Recommended No Comments »



“Money Monster,” a verbally snappy, ticking-clock, balls-in-the-air near-real-time hostage thriller-media satire, in the hands of director Jodie Foster, is compact and expansive, breezy and bitter, and attentively, lovingly layered (even when the plot falls to contrivances). It’s also a head-rush of twists and turns, behavioral asides. explicit, angry political exchanges and deeply dark passages. And: wish fulfillment for the fantasy that any banking or stock market CEOs would be punished for wrongdoing in the past decade of fiscal indecencies. (“This is just business and this is how business is done!” the bad guy insists with tonic assurance.) George Clooney brings his Coen-style goofball game to a womanizing, telegenic airhead, Lee Gates, a less-shrill version of “Mad Money”’s Jim Cramer. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Viktoria

Comedy, Drama, Recommended, World Cinema 1 Comment »


A girl is a woman is a country in the bold thunderclap of “Viktoria,” Bulgarian filmmaker Maya Vitkova’s magical mixed-genre widescreen debut feature. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: My Big Night

Comedy, Recommended, World Cinema No Comments »


Álex de la Iglesia’s sprawling backstage farce “My Big Night” (Mi gran noche) revels in the chaos behind the scenes of a woefully disastrous New Year’s Eve variety show, as it’s pre-recorded months early, to extrava-gonzo result. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: High-Rise

Comedy, Drama, Recommended No Comments »



Apocalypse? And how! “High-Rise,” J. G. Ballard’s slim but fierce 1975 novel-cum-provocation about the wages of indolence and the precariousness of social decorum, slides into calculated chaos in Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump’s deadpan adaptation. Read the rest of this entry »

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: 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 »

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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