Reviews, profiles and news about movies in Chicago

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 »

Review: Captain America: Civil War

3-D, Action, Recommended, Sci-Fi & Fantasy No Comments »


“Everyone’s got a gimmick now!” one of the phalanx of superheroes rightly remarks in the middle of “Captain America: Civil War.” And hell-o, Tom Holland, Spider-Man the third! With 147 minutes of call-and-response among eleven characters, and despite the affable dispatch of the second “CA” movie directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, the debut of the newest lamb relatively late in the picture (not lessened by the introduction of a new Aunt May, Marisa Tomei) was the first passage where I found myself chortling aloud. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Francofonia

Documentary, Recommended, World Cinema No Comments »



“Who would we be without museums?” In “Francofonia: An Elegy for Europe,” Aleksandr Sokurov’s latest prose-poem-cum-philosophical essay on art and history housed in a world-class museum, the Russian filmmaker alights on the Louvre in 1940 at the onset of World War II as museum director Jacques Jaujard (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing) and German officer Count Franz Wolff-Metternich (Benjamin Utzerath) collaborate to keep the assembled artworks from Nazi hands. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: April And The Extraordinary World

Animated, Recommended, World Cinema No Comments »



A question to which I immediately say yes, yes: Smart, clever, ceaselessly dazzling steampunk, drawn entirely from French visual sources, about a family of scientists obsessed with longevity who dash about an alternate-universe Paris, where the Industrial Revolution never happened, where progress stopped when most of the scientists disappeared at the turn of the century and where everything is fueled by coal and steam, with no electricity to light the land?

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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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Film Top 5: May 1-May 15, 2016

Top 5 Lists No Comments »


Louder Than Bombs
(River East, opens April 29)
Joachim Trier’s essential third feature moves from Oslo to upstate New York to describe the unfinished grief of a hurt, artistic family. Trier is one of our most literary filmmakers, in the sense that in movies like “Reprise” and “Oslo, August 31st” he fuses the lyricism of cinema with the flow and structure of the novel. Read the rest of this entry »

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: 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 »