Reviews, profiles and news about movies in Chicago

Review: Full Moon In Paris

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


Eric Rohmer: where to begin? How about with an offhanded masterpiece, 1984’s “Full Moon in Paris,” the most elegant of the splendid miniatures that constitute his cycle of “Comedies and Proverbs” romantic comedies? Louise (Pascale Ogier) is the bright center of his tale, an artistic young woman working in a design firm who abandons an older lover for a sequence of flings and affairs that have consequence by virtue of their very inconsequence. The slender but electric Ogier is a natural screen presence, and she beguiles her men (and the audience) with her angular, even aquiline features, her quick smile, her 1980s hair piled high, large-lidded wide eyes taking it all in with gentle bemusement and modest befuddlement. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: The Little Death

Comedy, Recommended, World Cinema No Comments »


Writer-director-actor Josh Lawson’s “The Little Death” is a rude rapscallion of an Australian comedy, drawing its title from a French term for orgasm, “le petite mort.” Lawson’s script hits much more than it misses, with bracing bursts of unlikely honesty in overlapping vignettes about five couples, their sexual hopes, fetishes and downfalls, with a sequence of endings that come together in a ravishingly sustained comic climax. (Scenes include masochism, foot fetishism, watching a partner sleep, enjoying a partner crying, roleplaying, obscene phone calls, and a cheery sex offender whose gift of cookies distracts the neighbors when he comes by to notify them he lives nearby.) Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Manglehorn

Drama, Recommended, Romance No Comments »

Manglehorn Pacino


“I’m losin’ hope in tomorrow.” Man, those words murmured by Al Pacino in what may be his finest performance in far too long, they’re bittersweet. David Gordon Green’s quiet character study of a lonely, lovelorn small-town Texas locksmith, “Manglehorn,” was written by Paul Logan, a childhood friend of Green’s, who was also a driver on Green’s “Prince Avalanche.” As written by Logan, and with letters to a lover lost decades early, heard in voice-over, partially improvised by Pacino, A. J. Manglehorn’s wistful want for love in his late years holds no less ache than that of Green’s young lovers in “All The Real Girls.” Manglehorn meets a younger woman (Holly Hunter), a teller at his local bank, and his mood lightens, if not the brood of his long-nurtured wounds. Along with his usual knack for finding privileged moments of behavior, Green also expands on his use of expected, near-surreal images to gratifying effect. (Spontaneous public singing; a strange roadside accident out of a particular Godard movie; earthquakes.) Manglehorn is surprised by nothing, no matter how odd: this becalmed man lives fully in his head and Pacino plays him quietly, a magnificent loser. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Eden

Drama, Musical, Recommended, Romance, World Cinema No Comments »



With her fourth feature, the dreamy, low-key “Eden,” Mia Hansen-Løve continues to work in a different style that suits the subject at hand. Based on a screenplay she wrote with her brother, Sven Hansen-Løve, who is also a deejay, her film follows two decades in an unaging young deejay’s life in the Parisian electronic dance scene of the 1990s. Based partly on Sven’s experience, as well as those of Daft Punk, “Eden,” simmers in music and mood but the floppy-haired cipher of a male lead (Felix De Givry) is her least interesting protagonist yet, especially in light of the sharply drawn, nuanced figures of the middle-aged male protagonist of “Father of My Children” (2009) and the young girl center-screen in “Goodbye First Love” (2011). Read the rest of this entry »

Requiem for a Scream: “Heaven Knows What” and NYC Mad Love

Drama, Recommended, Romance No Comments »

Heaven Knows What

By Ray Pride

“Heaven Knows What” is an unabating horror movie, superficially a story about heroin and homelessness, filled with wakeful terrors, but it’s about something far worse, far more toxic.

Harley is a young woman, an unfinished child, on the streets of modern-day New York City. She’s wide-eyed, more than a waif, but lost to a terrible addiction: a crude brute of a boy named Ilya (Caleb Landry Jones). Love and heroin: which is Harley’s worse addiction? The opening of Josh and Benny Safdie’s third feature finds her on the street, lost to a kiss, but soon in need of help. What could kill her? What she believes: that she has a freighted case of true and fated love, or at least a willful misapprehension that nothing matters more than him. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Inside Out

3-D, Animated, Comedy, Recommended No Comments »



The streamlined storytelling of Pixar’s “Inside Out,” directed by Pete Docter (“Up”), startles for many reasons, but most for the ease with which it executes its improbable premise—“mind workers,” or cartoon figures inside the head of eleven-year-old Riley, and how they define her emotional state—and makes it wholly accessible and very, very funny. Reportedly informed by extensive research with scientists in multiple fields, “Inside Out” is provocative about how emotions and memories drive the other characters as well. The quick glimpses inside Riley’s mother and father’s minds are terrific, too, and the device culminates in one of the most hilarious, logical, inspired, nearly perfect final scenes ever. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: The Yes Men Are Revolting

Comedy, Documentary, Recommended No Comments »



The aging of the prankster is front and center in “The Yes Men Are Revolting,” the third feature about the half-assed but often convincing hoaxes perpetrated by shameless political activists Mike Bonanno (Jacques Servin) and Andy Bichlbaum (Igor Vamos). It’s a curious place to find two smart clowns like these now-middle-aged media savants, but its meta-meta material about communication and miscommunication between the duo speak to issues both larger and more personal than the economic and political miscreants they target. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Results

Comedy, Recommended No Comments »



After the deeply eccentric singularity of “Computer Chess,” Austin-based screenwriter-director Andrew Bujalski returns to reshaping the relationship comedy with the splendid “Results.” How could he top that haphazard-seeming, cunningly constructed bacchanalia of oddity? By returning to the genre he seems born to work in: comedies of miscommunication, dislocation, and money. (Men and women and the shaggy-dog dance.) Newly rich, out-of-shape and wholeheartedly depressed Danny (Kevin Corrigan) happens into an unlikely romantic triangle at the local gym, owned by guru-wannabe Trevor (Guy Pearce), whose passions include trainer Kat (Cobie Smulders), a former flame. Bujalski’s wit remains devilishly dry, and his portrait of three very prickly souls who can monkey up almost any interaction is sly, lovingly structured yet still unswervingly funny. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Little England

Drama, Recommended, Romance, World Cinema No Comments »



(Mikra Anglia) Pantelis Voulgaris’ 2013 dream project, “Little England,” is a nice slice of Greek pageantry, a richly melodramatic “women’s picture” centering on three young women on the Greek island of Andros in the 1930s and, as the slogan for the local release put it, “one house, one secret, one man, two sisters.” Ships come and go, the waves crash, passions thrive. Men leave for the sea, women await, triangles turn. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: The Farewell Party

Comedy, Recommended, World Cinema No Comments »



(Mita Tova) Life, death and laughter erupt at a Jerusalem retirement home when the facts of assisted suicide come into play among five friends in Sharon Maymon and Tal Granit’s bold, measured, but near-impudent “The Farewell Party.” The screenplay’s mix of gallows humor, moral pondering and uplift is deft even in the face of the creation and application of a euthanasia machine, and the acting by Ze’ev Revach, Levana Finkelshtein, Aliza Rozen, Ilan Dar and Rafael Tabor is universally fine. Read the rest of this entry »