France

Film Review: An Obsessive Couple’s Journey in ‘Ash is Purest White’

CHICAGO – Obsessive love is a movie story staple, and “Ash is Purest White” puts a Chinese point-of-view on this strange phenomenon. This is a coupling in the background of organized crime and a changing China, and their success and failure is based on the events surrounding them as much as their devotion to each other.

Film Review: ‘Transit’ is an Absorbing Thriller with a Perplexing Conclusion

Transit

CHICAGO – What if a new fascism were to sweep the land, and affects Paris, as it did in World War 2? “Transit” postulates on that very theory and creates a paranoid atmosphere that is stunningly real, but brings that emotion to a conclusion that I believe is redundant, and pretends to be deeper than it is.

Film Review: ‘The Upside’ Works Because of Kevin Hart & Bryan Cranston

Upside, The

CHICAGO – In 2011, there was a notable French film called “The Intouchables,” based on the true story of quadriplegic Phillippe Pozzo di Borgo and the relationship with his caregiver. Leave it to the U.S. film industry to get its sticky fingers on the story, and seven years later Bryan Cranston portrays “Phillip” and his caretaker is portrayed by Kevin Hart. Instead of story, this version relies on its lead actors.

Film Review: Keira Knightley is Ahead of Her Times as ‘Colette’

Colette

CHICAGO – The maturation of Keira Knightley… from ‘Bend it Like Beckham” to “Pride and Prejudice” to the current “Colette,” has had the actor delivering an evolving depth and purpose to her roles. The latest is a fantastic overview of an ahead-of-her-time French novelist, as the rest of society tried to catch up.

Film News: ‘The Summit’ on Closing Night of 34th Chicago Latino Film Festival on April 19, 2018

2018 CLFF Closing Night 'The Summit'

CHICAGO – It’s coming up on Closing Night for the 34th Chicago Latino Film Festival, and the two weeks of the fest was a celebration and gift to film in Chicago. The Closing Night Gala on April 19th, 2018, will feature the film “The Summit” (“La Cordillera”) from Argentina, Spain and France. Actor Ricardo Darín will also receive the Gloria Career Achievement Award as part of the festivities. The event is sold out, but click here for more information.

Podtalk: Christian Taylor on Origins for her Documentary ‘The Girl Who Wore Freedom’

The Girl Who Wore Freedom

CHICAGO – The era of World War II, now close to 80 years in the past, seems ever so farther in the rear view mirror of history. Movies have done their part to keep the memories and the spirit alive, so joining such works as “Band of Brothers” and “Saving Private Ryan” is a new documentary in development, “The Girl Who Wore Freedom,” now in pre-production by filmmakers Christian Taylor and Terry Jun of Reverse Negative Studios in Skokie, Ill.

Interview: Sophia Wong Boccio on Season 6 of Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema

Sophia Wong Boccio

CHICAGO – The Asian Pop-Up Cinema (APUC) series has established a foothold in the Chicago film scene through the last three years and now five seasons. For Spring 2018, Season 6 will open on March 13th with a U.S. Premiere from Japan, “Colors of Wind,” featuring an appearance by hot lead Japanese actor, Yuki Furukawa (click here for details). The series will then unspool 14 more films through May 16th, all facilitated and curated by the Founder of APUC, veteran film programmer Sophia Wong Boccio.

Film Review: Strange ‘15:17 to Paris’ Can’t Make the Connection

CHICAGO – What’s up with Clint Eastwood, and why in the Sam Hill did he attach himself as director to this film? Also, why was the decision made to use the actual rescuers as the actors in a true terrorist train incident? Nothing adds up in the strangely disconnected “15:17 to Paris.”

Film Review: Zen and the Art of Cinema in ‘24 Frames’

24 Frames

CHICAGO – The legendary Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (“Certified Copy”) passed away in 2016, but he left one more meditation on cinema and illusion, in the artistic “24 Frames.” Yes, it refers to the number of still photos that make up a second of film, but in this case it is also Kiarostami’s observations of stillness in motion.

Film Review: Inflammatory ‘In the Fade’ is the State of Our Now

CHICAGO – In one of the more truthful and contemporary films of 2017, “In the Fade” is a German/French production about the fallout due to a terrorist act. What it also emphasizes is the generated hatred, frustration and waste of such acts, and its textual story is stunning and distressing.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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