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Oscilloscope

Blu-ray Review: ‘Bellflower’ Tries to Set Heartbreak on Fire

Bellflower

CHICAGO – “Bellflower” is another indie drama about romance gone horribly awry. And yet it’s also not “another” anything. With unique style choices and competing streaks of nihilism, romantic love, and misogyny, star/writer/director Evan Glodell’s debut made waves in certain circles and now comes to Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of one of the most impressive home release studios on the market, Oscilloscope. The film is such a dark slice of work that it will only appeal to a certain audience but at least Oscilloscope treats the fans of this likely cult classic well.

Blu-Ray Review: Brilliant Subtlety of Existential, Striking ‘Meek’s Cutoff’

Meek's Cutoff

CHICAGO – Kelly Reichardt’s “Meek’s Cutoff” is certainly not a film for everyone. It features long, drawn-out scenes that are not only free of dialogue but basically just feature sorrowful people walking to the rhythm of the wagon wheel and the tune of the blowing wind. For the right viewers, these passages will frustrate but if you give yourself over to this remarkable film, they will build tension inside of you in a unique, discomfiting way.

DVD Review: Two Great Docs in ‘A Film Unfinished,’ ‘Inside Job’

Inside Job

CHICAGO – Two of the best documentaries of 2010 were recently released on DVD and both are well-worth your time in the very near future as they serve as prime examples of the vitality of the form of non-fiction filmmaking. Both “A Film Unfinished” and the Oscar-winning “Inside Job” are riveting filmmaking, proof that subjects that one might consider dry can be turned into a devastating experience.

Blu-Ray Review: James Franco Rocks in Intriguing if Flawed ‘Howl’

Howl

CHICAGO – James Franco gave a riveting performance in Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours” that is likely to earn one of the best actors of his generation an Academy Award nomination in a few weeks, but it wasn’t his only stellar turn in 2010. He also thoroughly delivered as the legendary poet Allen Ginsberg in the hybrid “Howl,” a film that’s part poem, part courtroom drama, and part history lesson. It doesn’t always come together but it’s worth seeing just for Franco’s work and the strength of the source material alone.

DVD Review: ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ Redefines Documentary

Exit Through the Gift Shop

CHICAGO – The brilliant “Exit Through the Gift Shop” may look like a documentary but it’s closer to a piece of performance art, a daring examination of the creative expression of street art that becomes an expression itself. How much of it is true? How much is scripted? Unlike other “controversial” 2010 documentaries “I’m Still Here” and “Catfish” it doesn’t matter this time because Banksy’s amazing film is a joy to behold either way.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 10th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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