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David Styburski

DVD Review: Belgian ‘Left Bank’ is Short on Suspense

Left Bank

CHICAGO – “Left Bank” centers on` a woman whose apartment appears to be above a black hole, or a pit or something dark and deep like that. The Belgian horror outing (which has gone straight to DVD in the United States after playing in Chicago at the EU Film Fest) isn’t nearly as dumb as that synopsis makes it out to be, but in the end, that’s actually more of criticism than a compliment.

DVD Review: ‘Il Divo’ Explores the Bloody Trenches of Italian Politics

Il Divo

CHICAGO – Since the totality of what I know about Italian politics could fit inside a fortune cookie, I’d normally be inclined to demand that films on the subject keep it simple by not utilizing too many characters and not bothering with a complicated plot that spans roughly fifteen years. But the slick “Il Divo” didn’t have me pleading with writer director Paolo Sorrentino to slow down so that I could catch up with its history.

DVD Review: ‘Cheri’ Knows Love Isn’t Love if It’s All About You

Cheri

CHICAGO – “Cheri” could be confused with an updated adaptation of a Jane Austen novel if its characters weren’t so comfortable with what goes on between the sheets. Like players in many stuffy costume dramas, they wear the best clothes, live in lavishly decorated homes and speak their perfect grammar in posh accents. But since they aren’t sexually repressed, they do it all with a little bounce in their step.

DVD Review: ‘Lymelife’ is the Same Old Story

Lymelife

CHICAGO – Only a few short weeks ago, I sat through the two-hour shrug-fest that is Ang Lee’s “Taking Woodstock” and lamented how so many of the film’s interactions between parents and the younger generation were played for cartoonish laughs instead of striving for the haunting poignancy of the director’s 1997 family drama “The Ice Storm.” Well, upon viewing Derick Martini’s “Lymelife,” I determined that the cliché is true: Be careful what you wish for.

DVD Review: ‘O’Horten’ Tells of One Odd Fellow

O'Horten

CHICAGO – The problem with defining yourself by your job, as anyone in this god-awful economy might tell you, is that you probably won’t work forever. Odd Horten, the kind yet unexcitable title character in a strange, little Norwegian comedy by Bent Hamer, has steered locomotives for 40 years, and if you were to take the trains out of this simple fellow’s life, there wouldn’t be much left.

DVD Review: The Insignificance of ‘Important Things With Demetri Martin’

Important Things With Demetri Martin

CHICAGO – The inaugural sketch in the first season of Comedy Central’s “Important Things With Demetri Martin” takes place on a movie set where an actor knows his lines but can’t summon the proper emotions to make them believable. The character calls his unfaithful girlfriend some nasty names in what is supposed to be a fit of fury, but the words coming out of his mouth are said in a nonchalant, nearly cheery tone.

DVD Review: ‘Silent Light’ Rewards Those With Patience

Silent Light

CHICAGO – Proving that its title is at least partially appropriate, “Silent Light” is loaded with torturous durations of quiet. The cinematographer shoots a landscape. A clock ticks and tocks.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Cornerstone, Nothing Without a Company

    CHICAGO – We all need some help. The stage play group Nothing Without a Company realizes that, and has collaborated with the organization “Cornerstone” to provide that assistance. Cornerstone is a seminar and a happening in downtown Chicago, facilitated by “experts” to generate your potential. The presentation has a Thursday-Sunday run at Michigan Avenue’s Artspace 8 through April 29th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Cold War

    CHICAGO – Local filmmaking is thriving, thanks to the many creators who choose to make independent movies in Chicago. Co-directors Stirling McLaughlin and J. Wilder Konschak (also writer) brought their cast and crew to the Windy City to make their comedy, “Cold War.” The film made its digital debut on April 6th, 2018, and will be available on iTunes, Google Play, FandangoNow, Amazon, Vudu and more.

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