Reviews, profiles and news about movies in Chicago

Review: The Devil Inside

Horror, Mock Documentary No Comments »

In “The Devil Inside,” William Brent Bell’s mock-documentary, Isabella (Fernanda Andrade) travels to Rome with filmmaker Michael (Ionut Grama) to investigate an attempted exorcism twenty years prior that left Isabella’s mother (Suzan Crowley) committed in a mental hospital outside Vatican City. After an unsettling reunion leaves her unsure that her mother’s affliction is psychological, she appeals to devout David (Evan Helmuth) and cynical Ben (Simon Quarterman)—both of whom are ordained priests as well as exorcists—for help. When Isabella and Michael accompany the two priests to an exorcism to learn about possession and determine the truth about her mother, they fall into a world of the possessed Read the rest of this entry »

Review: The Grand

Comedy, Mock Documentary, Reviews No Comments »

Not as zingy as his first semi-improvised comic mock-doc, “Incident At Loch Ness,” writer-director Zack Penn’s “The Grand” allows his actors a chance to chisel comic fineries with character consistency, if not always agreeable comic results. Unfortunately, the subject’s card playing, which like sex and infidelity is always a more interesting topic to those with hands in the pot than those outside. While there are bits from Woody Harrelson, David Cross, Dennis Farina, Cheryl Hines, Richard Kind, Ray Romano, Gabe Kaplan and Chris Parnell that miss and hit, I kept my eyes open for “The German”—Werner Herzog in another tasty passage of gleeful self-parody. Still, unlike recent Christopher Guest offerings, I didn’t feel like I needed a shower immediately afterward. There’s silliness here, but not much spite. 104m. (Ray Pride)

Review: Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Comedy, Mock Documentary, Recommended, Reviews No Comments »

“This is Spinal Tap” mocked the rock documentary. Now the clichés of the pop-star biopic (such as “Ray” and “Walk the Line”) get slapped silly by director Jake Kasdan and producer-co-writer Judd Apatow. Earlier this year, Kasdan slammed the making of TV pilots in so-so comedy “The TV Set.” Apatow’s writing and producing credits include skewering the TV talk show (“The Larry Sanders Show”) and the TV news personality (“Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”). He also directed “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.” Kasdan and Apatow now showcase John C. Reilly in the title role as a blues-rock-soul-folk-country-psychedelic-easy-listening singer whose career spans musical decades and drugs of choice. Blame amphetamines for a brief punk phase. By the time Cox takes the stage for his lifetime achievement award, he’s walked hard from marijuana to Viagra. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Brothers of the Head

Drama, Mock Documentary, Recommended, Reviews No Comments »

Louis Pepe and Keith Fulton’s fake documentary “Brothers of the Head” is one of the most densely referential movies I’ve seen in a long time, and yet also one of the most original, apocrypha of the highest order that begins as a great, gorgeous goof about conjoined twins Tom and Barry Howe, who like the infamous Hilton Twins, were exploited by a promoter to become a sideshow act. But as played by heart-racingly pretty twins Harry and Luke Treadaway—chunky shag haircuts, full, pouty mouths, matching unfinished bone structures, big, hurt blue eyes— the satire of 1970s rock ‘n’ roll grows into something richer, a sublime and darkly beautiful film about love unto death that amazed me for its just-right length. Read the rest of this entry »