Reviews, profiles and news about movies in Chicago

Review: Sunset Song

Drama, Recommended, World Cinema No Comments »

SUNSET-SONG-1

RECOMMENDED

Master British filmmaker Terence Davies spent the years between 2000’s “House Of Mirth” and 2008’s “Of Time And The City” working on projects that did not come to fruition, including his adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s 1932 “Sunset Song,” a novel beloved in Scotland for its portrait of rural families in the pre-World War I countryside. (“It is a dark and brooding novel about the Scottish peasantry, about the land in general and one family–The Guthries–in particular,” Davies writes.) Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Aferim!

Drama, Recommended, Western, World Cinema No Comments »

aferim03

RECOMMENDED

Radu Jude’s cruel, cunning “Aferim!,” a 35mm black-and-white Western set in the feudal Romania of 1835, is set in motion by a runaway Roma slave, and the moral clash that ensues in the episodic road-movie structure is no less pertinent in modern times. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Weiner

Documentary, Drama, Recommended No Comments »

Weiner6

RECOMMENDED

Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s nonfiction politico-horror-comedy “Weiner” begins with a quote ascribed to Marshall McLuhan: “The name of a man is a numbing blow from which he never recovers.” Followed by a jauntily scored credit sequence playing over former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s hot-tempered defense of 9/11 first responders, we’re positioned to take the man who brought himself down, twice, in nonsexual-sexual texting humiliation under the nom de spume of “Carlos Danger” as downright comedy of mortification. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Lolo

Comedy, Recommended, World Cinema No Comments »

lolo01

RECOMMENDED

Writer-director-star Julie Delpy’s sixth feature, “Lolo,” is a lightly likable, largely lowbrow slapstick comedy with dashes of eye-widening Oedipal terror, observing Violette, a hardworking single mother of forty (Delpy) who starts a new affair with a nice-guy “hick,” Jean-Rene (Dany Boon) while on a Biarritz spa vacation, before the hell-bent complication of her spoiled teenage son, Lolo (Vincent Lacoste) raises its curly head. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Hockney

Documentary, Recommended No Comments »

hockney01

RECOMMENDED

“Everyone is looking all the time; you just have to train yourself to look harder.” “Hockney” is a pleasingly colorful assay, made with permission but pretty much free of puffery, of the lengthy career of seventy-eight-year-old English creative force David Hockney, son of Bradford, man of Los Angeles, purveyor of Polaroids, brusher of iPads. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: The Lobster

Comedy, Drama, Recommended, World Cinema No Comments »

RECOMMENDED

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 »

BB32.tif

RECOMMENDED

“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: Strange Victory

Documentary, Recommended No Comments »

strangevictory

RECOMMENDED

Leo Hurwitz’s dense, dizzying essay film about racial prejudice and ingrained bias in postwar America, “Strange Victory,” was recently restored from a nitrate 35mm “fine grain” by essential distributor Milestone Films. (Its producer was Barney Rosset, fiery free-speech advocate and publisher-producer of Evergreen Review.) Like other important work Milestone has championed or preserved—“I Am Cuba,” “The Exiles,” “On The Bowery,” the films of Shirley Clarke—”Strange Victory” is an exploding flower of visual and formal beauty. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You

Documentary, Recommended No Comments »

Norman Lear 1

RECOMMENDED

Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s brisk, modest “Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You” escapes by a whisker the whiff of hagiography in its portrait of the nearly ninety-four-year-old television writer-producer and political activist: in the case of such a loquacious while opaque character, we can take the good with the good. (The most challenging section is a brief interlude where black actors question the political integrity of some of Lear’s creations.) Read the rest of this entry »