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Orson Welles

Interview: Victor Skrebneski Unveils 2014 Portrait For the 50th Chicago International Film Festival

CHICAGO – Opening Night for the 50th Chicago International Film Festival is October 9th, and their official portrait on the poster this year was again photographed by the iconic lensman Victor Skrebneski.

Blu-ray Review: Charles Chaplin’s Dark, Riveting ‘Monsieur Verdoux’

Monsieur Verdoux

CHICAGO – Charles Chaplin’s “Monsieur Verdoux,” recently released in a lavish Criterion Blu-ray set with new special features and a glorious 2K digital restoration, is such a unique film that it has kind of gone under the radar when the career of its beloved star/director is discussed. His first post-WWII film, “Verdoux” doesn’t feature his iconic Tramp character, contains a ridiculously dark anti-hero, and is more socially demented than most films of its era. While it can be easy to look at the satire of films like “The Great Dictator” and “Modern Times” and apply them not just to today but Chaplin’s era, “Verdoux” can be a more difficult film to dissect. Which is not to imply that you shouldn’t. You really, really should.

Interview: Vincent D’Onofrio on Directorial Debut of ‘Don’t Go in the Woods’

Vincent D'Onofrio, photo by Patrick McDonald

CHICAGO – Vincent D’Onofrio has had a career that is rich and diverse. He has worked with directors as distinct as Stanley Kubrick (”Full Metal Jacket”) and Tim Burton (”Ed Wood”), and has starred in the legendary TV franchise “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” He presents his directorial debut, “Don’t Go in the Woods,” on November 12th in Chicago at the “Tribeca Film Festival on the Road.”

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Citizen Kane’ Continues to Stun 70 Years Later

Citizen Kane

CHICAGO – I have written about thousands of movies and yet I still feel daunted by addressing “Citizen Kane,” recently released in a stunning Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray for the 70th anniversary of what many still consider to be the best film of all time. What could I possibly add to the conversation? Pulitzer Prize winners have dissected the film down to every decision made by Orson Welles during its production. All I can tell you is that the movie has lost none of its power. It is still one of the most striking cinematic achievements of all time and the impressive Blu-ray box set does the film the justice it has long-deserved.

Blu-Ray Review: StudioCanal Editions of ‘Delicatessen,’ ‘The Third Man’


CHICAGO – What do Carol Reed’s beloved “The Third Man” and Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Marc Caro’s “Delicatessen” have in common? Almost nothing and yet I kind of love that they’re now linked in Lionsgate’s StudioCanal Collection because it illustrates the diversity of this increasingly-interesting wave of releases. They’ll never top The Criterion Collection, but it’s nice to have another series of timeless and modern classics making the Blu-ray market that much richer.

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  • Merry Widow, The

    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.

  • Black White Love Play

    CHICAGO – The love story of a prominent Chicago celebrity couple becomes the basis for a metaphoric and tuneful celebration about courage and coming together. “The Black White Love Play: The Story of Chaz & Roger Ebert” – written and directed by Black Ensemble Theater’s Jackie Taylor – portrays the film critic and the civil rights lawyer in their time, but also creates an atmosphere of emotion through song, sorrow and jubilation.


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