Reviews, profiles and news about movies in Chicago

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: Fireworks Wednesday

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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 »

Review: The Measure of a Man

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French film stalwart Vincent Lindon offers one of his most engaging performances in memory in the muted drama “Measure of a Man,” as Thierry, an unemployed working-class husband and father of a mentally challenged teenager, who returns to the workplace after nearly two years of unemployment. (The French title of “La loi du marché,” translates roughly to “The Law of the Market.”) Read the rest of this entry »

Review: In Harmony

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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 »

Review: Mountains May Depart

Romance, World Cinema No Comments »



Jia Zhangke’s heartfelt, melancholy, ever-mysterious eighth feature, “Mountains May Depart,” is an intimate drama that, on a globalized level, teems with enigma and patterns with grace. On black, under the main titles, we hear birds and the sea. Young Chinese men and women dance in a line in a nondescript hall while we hear the Pet Shop Boys’ cover of the Village People’s “Go West.” The camera moves in. They’re happy. A title arrives: “1999.” Fireworks erupt. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: No Home Movie

Documentary, Drama, Recommended, World Cinema No Comments »


The cumulative impact of “No Home Movie” is of being slammed against a brick wall. Full stop. The great Chantal Akerman’s final feature, at the age of sixty-five before taking her own life, is a bittersweet testament about the final years and last spaces of her beloved mother’s life. A Holocaust survivor and recurrent figure in Akerman’s work, Natalia is the subject of moments that Akerman calls “rough-hewn,” “raw material.” Her poetic filmmaker’s statement about her essay film continues, “The film wanders without our really knowing where it’s going. And yet, it can only lead us to one thing, death.” Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Remember

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Plummer Remember


Working from Benjamin August’s debut script, which attempts Hitchcockian scrappiness and “Memento”-like pathos, Atom Egoyan’s revenge thriller “Remember” is one of his most peculiar pictures in a roller-coaster career of three decades, but boasts a central performance of the most unlikely plausibility but the most thrilling particulars. Christopher Plummer plays ninety-year-old Zev, a man of failing faculties, a widower of only a few weeks, who is dispatched by his wheelchair-using retirement home compatriot, Max (Martin Landau) to carry out the execution of a guard who had murdered their families at Auschwitz. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Sweet Bean

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Naomi Kawase’s “Sweet Bean” (An) is an understated drama of community and friendship (and flavorful red bean paste served between pancakes) that quickly takes a historical swerve. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: I Don’t Belong Anywhere—The Cinema of Chantal Akerman

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In just over an hour, Belgian filmmaker Marianne Lambert’s now-bittersweet documentary “I Don’t Belong Anywhere: The Cinema Of Chantal Akerman” (2015), spans the four decades of the great filmmaker’s work, providing a coherent map as well as insights even for viewers already familiar with her essential work. And, with Akerman’s passing, its form as an unintentional tribute makes its existence even more virtuous. Read the rest of this entry »

Reel Truth: Behind Doc10, Chicago’s Newest Film Fest

Chicago Artists, Documentary, Events, Festivals, World Cinema No Comments »

Werner Herzog’s “Lo & Behold”

By Ray Pride

After two years of Docs at the Box, a spring showcase of new nonfiction at the Music Box, programmed by journalist-programmer Anthony Kaufman, a larger event, expanding the work of the nonprofit Chicago Media Project, will take its place. The quartet behind the long weekend, which will augment Chicago debut attractions with post-screening discussions, interactive events and panels, are Kaufman, CMP co-founder and board chair Steve Cohen, CMP co-founder and executive director Paula Froehle and festival coordinator Sarah Nobles.

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