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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.

Film Review: Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet in ‘Leap!’

CHICAGO – One of the rites of passage for most girls in the U.S.(and elsewhere, I presume) is ballet lessons. Usually it lasts for a very short time, but some girls-to-women keep pursuing it, and may even become prima ballerinas. A new animated film named “Leap!” is dedicated to that spirit.

Film Review: Heroics of ‘Dunkirk’ Portrayed Ardently & Humanely

CHICAGO – War is hell, even in “The Good War.” The early days of World War II were a desperate time for the British, and the events of “Dunkirk” were largely about loss, yet mostly about inspiration. Director Christopher Nolan gives his film a grand cinematic treatment, evoking an era that has mostly faded away.

Film Review: Emotionally Animated ‘My Life as a Zucchini’

My Life as a Zucchini

CHICAGO – Leave it to the Europeans to inject some realistic drama into the art of animation. The recently Oscar nominated “My Life as a Zucchini” is opening in Chicago this weekend, and tells the story of parental abandonment, orphanages and finding family. Co-produced by France and Switzerland, it uses a familiar claymation stop-motion style for more emotional resonance.

Film News: 2016 CineYouth Festival Kicks Off, Runs Through May 7, 2016

CineYouth 2016

CHICAGO – Last night (Thursday, May 5th), the 2016 CineYouth Film Festival – which is associated with the Chicago International Film Festival and Cinema/Chicago – kicked off with “Nocturna,” a European animated film from the famed GKIDS distributor (“A Cat in Paris”). The 2016 festival runs through Saturday, May 7th, with a full schedule of film related youth activities on Friday and Saturday. For the full schedule, click here.

Film News: 19th Chicago European Union Film Festival at Gene Siskel Center Through March 31, 2016

2016 Chicago Euro Film Fest

CHICAGO – Last week, one of the most diverse film festivals of the year in Chicago opened with the Swedish film “The Paradise Suite.” The 19th Annual Chicago European Union Film Fest will be at the Gene Siskel Film Center on State Street. With countries ranging from Austria to Slovakia, European cinema voices will be available to the Chicagoland area through March 31st, 2016.

Interview: Actor Omar Sy Tackles Immigrant Issues in ‘Samba’

CHICAGO – The situation with in-country immigrants is not just an issue in the United States. The new French film “Samba” focuses on the ongoing status of immigrants in Paris, who often do menial jobs while surviving under the radar of immigration laws. French Actor Omar Sy portrays the title character with insight and humor.

Film Review: A Fashionable Man is Captured in ‘Yves Saint Laurent’

CHICAGO – Fashion is art, and the canvas is provided by the wearer of that fashion. The designer biography depicted in “Yves Saint Laurent” is one of tortured genius, as Saint Laurent influenced and commodified the world of clothing and accessory creation for over 50 years.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • We're Gonna Be Okay

    CHICAGO – The 1960s were a time of historical social transition. The movements – civil rights, feminist, gay rights – all had roots in that tumultuous decade. The Chicago premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s “We’re Gonna Be Okay” echoes all of those movements in its characters, and collides them against the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the American Theater Company through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Remember Me, Rita Moreno

    CHICAGO – Academy Award winner (in 1962!) Rita Moreno is in the midst of a big media comeback. The 86 year-old actress, who famously portrayed Anita in that Oscar-winning role in “West Side Story,” is in her second season of the “One Day at a Time” reboot on Netflix, and is featured in the indie film “Remember Me,” available now for download and Video On Demand.

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