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Hiam Abbass

Blu-Ray Review: Talented Director Lost in Saga of ‘Miral’

Miral Film Review

CHICAGO – I wanted to like Julian Schnabel’s “Miral” for so many reasons. I think Schnabel (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” “Before Night Falls”) is not only one of our most interesting filmmakers but he’s redefining what one should expect from a biopic. I love the supporting cast — Hiam Abbass, Alexander Siddig, Willem Dafoe, more. I want Freida Pinto to be more than that pretty girl from “Slumdog Millionaire.” Despite my high hopes, this is Schnabel’s least effective film, a startling misstep that both bites off more than it can chew and still finds a way to be his least passionate work.

Film Review: ‘Miral’ Succeeds as Historical Drama, Falters as Character Study

Miral Film Review

CHICAGO – No matter how many films he makes, Julian Schnabel may always consider himself a painter first. Watching one of his cinematic efforts is akin to being pulled headfirst into the vivid and visceral canvas of a true neo-expressionist. His work aims to engulf the viewer. It shatters the barriers between a contrived character’s existence and that of the flesh-and-blood audience.

Interview: Julian Schnabel, Rula Jebreal Explore the Perspective of ‘Miral’

CHICAGO – Julian Schnabel’s controversial new drama, “Miral,” tells a tale both sprawling and intimate. On one level, the film is about the titular Palestinian girl (Freida Pinto), and her coming of age during the Arab-Israeli war. On another level, the film is about a movement for peace, and the several generations of women whose acts of independence eventually set it into motion.

13th Annual EU Film Festival Highlights, Week Three: ‘Rembrandt’s J’Accuse,’ ‘Disengagement’

Disengagement

CHICAGO – The third week of the 13th Annual EU Film Festival at the Siskel Film Center has arrived, and we’re back to give you an idea of what to expect in the second half of arguably the best fest in the Windy City. We profile several of this week’s hottest tickets, including an anticipated screening hosted by Chicago’s own Jonathan Rosenbaum.

DVD Review: ‘Amreeka’ Balances Genuine Warmth with Obvious Clichés

Amreeka DVD

CHICAGO – Nominating Cherien Dabis’s “Amreeka” for an Independent Spirit Award is sort of redundant, since the film has, in a sense, been nominated many times before. The film will only seem original to audiences unfamiliar with “The Visitor,” “Real Women Have Curves,” and “Crash” (and no, I’m not referring to the one about James Spader’s fetish for car accidents).

Interview: Richard Jenkins on First Lead Role in ‘The Visitor,’ ‘Six Feet Under,’ Coen Brothers

DeKALB, Ill. – Richard Jenkins is a familiar if not overly recognizable character actor. With his distinctly grave voice, he’s best known for his turn as the dead father in the seminal HBO series “Six Feet Under”.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Jesus Christ Superstar, Lyric Opera

    CHICAGO – As a wee lad, I would often go into my parent’s record collection. One day, out of the blue, that brown double album with the gold embossed angels appeared, like a gift from the divine. “Jesus Christ Superstar” began as a record album “rock opera” in 1970, evolved to a Broadway show and film, and then was interpreted through a myriad of stage revivals over the years. The latest is an exciting piece of stagecraft at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The show has a various evening/matinee run through May 20th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • 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 May 6th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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