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Podtalk: Director Robert Schwentke of German War Film ‘The Captain’

Captain, The

CHICAGO – Films about the Nazis and the German military during World War II are numerous… except for the ones with a pure German perspective. “The Captain,” directed by Robert Schwentke (“R.I.P.D.”), is based on a true story about a German army deserter who finds a Captain’s uniform, and decides to ride out the waning days of the war with the power of an officer.

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: 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: Joy of Life Expands When Meeting ‘Toni Erdmann’

Toni Erdmann

CHICAGO – If you need a little cinema therapy, it doesn’t get any better than “Toni Erdmann.” This subtle story builds to generate a joyful feeling, which defines the small-but-important survival guides for this thing called life. Writer/director Maren Ade has delivered the goods, and the film is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the upcoming Academy Awards.

Interview: Actor Craig Robinson, Director Chad Hartigan Reflect on ‘Morris From America’

CHICAGO – When a 13 year old African American teenager is suddenly put into the atmosphere of Germany – specifically Old Heidelberg – then a whole new adventure awaits for “Morris from America.” Craig Robinson (“The Office”) portrays the title character’s father, and the film is directed by Chad Hartigan.

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.

Film Review: ‘Unfinished Business’ is an Unfunny Vocation

CHICAGO – Have you ever seen a film where they throw everything against a wall to see what sticks? The appropriately titled “Unfinished Business” is a throwing machine, taking the flimsy premise of a business trip and using it as an excuse for a splattering of jokes that mostly don’t work.

Interview: ‘Wolfskinder’ Director Rick Ostermann at 2013 Chicago International Film Festival

'Wolfskinder" Director Rick Ostermann

CHICAGO – “The world comes to Chicago” is the mantra of the 49th Chicago International Film Festival, and one of the notable international films was “Wolfskinder,” from Germany. The story of post World War II orphans, or ‘wolf’s children,” is an impressive feature debut by director Rick Ostermann.

Film Review: More is Preferred in ‘Love is All You Need’

Love Is All You Need

CHICAGO – Creating the lofty name for this film, “Love is All You Need” – from a translation of its original title, “Den skaldede friser” – is intently ambitious considering its source is a lyric from one of The Beatles most famous songs. The film has its moments, but cannot sustain itself in a stew of high drama and mixed emotions.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Holy Motors’ Realizes Sacred Cinema

Holy Motors

CHICAGO – One of the best movies of 2012 had monsters, action heroes, animation, heart-breaking drama, Christ imagery and a sense of redemption in all of what it conveyed. “Holy Motors” may have been ignored at Oscar time, but it’s destined to make an impact for cinema fans in generations to come, and was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 26th.

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  • Stephanie Buxbaum

    CHICAGO – In the history of “Reality TV” there has been periods of up-and-down popularity, shows that have been around seemingly forever (“Big Brother,” “Amazing Race”) and spinoffs to new styles like “documentary series” as networks like the National Geographic Channel emerged. In all those permutations, producer Stephanie Buxbaum has experienced it all, and has the career and stories to prove it.

  • Deadbeat2

    CHICAGO – Not many web series start out as music videos, but the new online (YouTube) drama “Deadbeat 2” was just that. Created, written and directed by Danny Froze, the made-in-Chicago story recently premiered episodes five and six in the series, which features actor Kiwaun Stoutmire in the lead role of Ronnie.

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