CHICAGO – Standing up at the Lyric Opera house in Chicago is unusual before a show. But in this case, it was the night after a tragedy, and the operetta “The Merry Widow” – set in Paris, France, in 1905 – was about to unfold. The orchestra struck up La Marseillaise, a reminder that we’ll always have Paris.
CHICAGO – Greta Gerwig’s persona as a character actress has blossomed in the last three years, as she has taken on three women in their twenties at the crossroads of life, in that life decade of consequence. In addition to her title roles in “Lola Versus” and “Francis Ha,” her latest is “Mistress America,” which she also co-wrote.
CHICAGO – When it comes to how dance music evolved in the last thirty years, there was a ground zero that was launched right here in Chicago. House music, or Garage House, were inspired beats that were mixed from a DJ source in front of the dancers, creating a brand new club scene. The late DJ Frankie Knuckles was one of the pioneers, and his legacy eventually reached Paris, where it was discovered and re-invented in fresh and different forms. A new film called “Eden” explores that phenomenon, and it features Félix de Givry as a Paris DJ in the 1990s and 2000s, based on the life of the co-writer of the film, Sven Hansen-Løve.
CHICAGO – We’re born, we’re nurtured, we seek purpose and we die. In between there are a million decisions between the words of that opening sentence, and writer/director Noah Baumbach understands that intuitively in his great new film, “While We’re Young.”
CHICAGO – Director Noah Baumbach is a master in creating cinematic atmosphere. Whether it’s the adolescent mood of “The Squid and the Whale,” the weird loneliness of “Frances Ha” or his screenplays with director Wes Anderson, Baumbach generates a worthy emotional imprint. His latest film is “While We’re Young.”
CHICAGO – Greta Gerwig is a gift to the type of film acting that dominates the screen. This beautiful, versatile actor gives poignant energy to her latest title character, “Frances Ha,” a collaboration with indie director Noah Baumbach (“Greenberg”).
CHICAGO – From “(500) Days of Summer” to “Ruby Sparks,” Fox Searchlight has been distributing some of the most refreshingly honest films about twentysomething romance in recent memory. The unapologetically flawed titular heroine in “Lola Versus” may have appeared more groundbreaking had she not debuted the same year as HBO’s “Girls,” which has the market cornered on such heroines.
CHICAGO – Writer/director Woody Allen continues his film travelogues in “To Rome with Love,” touring The Eternal City with four separate vignettes. An all-star cast – including Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Penélope Cruz and Woody himself – hit and miss with this varying blend of stories.
CHICAGO – Greta Gerwig is now being recognized in the movie universe, and has climbed a ladder from micro-budget independent (“Baghead”) to mainstream monstrosities (the “Arthur” remake). She takes the lead role in “Lola Versus,” and anchors a terrific story about “settling down” and the decisions behind that certain time of life.
CHICAGO – The sly satires of Whit Stillman have cultivated a fan base that appears to consist largely of his fellow peers. Manhattan-based filmmakers such as Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach and Lena Dunham have cited his subdued comedies as an influence on their own similarly mannerist yet considerably more accessible work. For many moviegoers, Stillman’s brilliantly constructed, emotionally distant pictures are easy to admire but difficult to like.
CHICAGO – It takes a special kind of talent to appear wholly natural on-camera. Delivering dialogue with dramatic inflection is easy.