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Film Review: ‘The Wife’ is Classic Drama & Relevant Social History

CHICAGO – One of the more fascinating questions about civilization is ‘how much talent went unrealized because of time and place of birth?’ The patriarchy – which denied people of color and women for so long – often reduced fellow travelers into subservient roles. For example, there were women who were just known as “The Wife.”

Podtalk: Director Marc Turtletaub Solves the ‘Puzzle’

CHICAGO – When a notable indie film producer decides to direct, what does it feel like on that other side? For Marc Turtletaub, the connection was in his sophomore effort as director, “Puzzle.” The emotional drama features the impeccable Kelly Macdonald, as a stay-at-home Mom named Agnes who discovers a hidden talent.

Podtalk: Director Shana Feste & Actor Lewis MacDougall Establish Their ‘Boundaries’

Boundaries

CHICAGO – Combining an intimate, personal story with a superstar cast, writer/director Shana Feste realized a semi-autobiographical journey in her new film “Boundaries.” The cast includes Oscar winners Christopher Plummer and Vera Farmiga, as well as Lewis MacDougall (“A Monster Calls”), Kristen Schaal, Bobby Cannavale, Christopher Lloyd AND Peter Fonda in a road trip picture that reunites ne’er do well Dad Jack (Plummer) with his desperate-to-connect-with-him daughter Laura (Farmiga).

Film Review: Armie Hammer Sits for Geoffrey Rush in ‘Final Portrait’

CHICAGO – Paris in the 1960s seems to be a place where anything was possible. “Final Portrait” is an indication of this, as Armie Hammer portrays a Mad Men style American critic (what!) in 1964, who sits for a portrait painting by eccentric artist Alberto Giacometti, portrayed with relish by Geoffrey Rush.

Film Review: Helen Mirren Takes Another Ride in ‘The Leisure Seeker’

Leisure Seeker, The

CHICAGO – Helen Mirren keeps establishing herself as an international treasure with each new role. She is the prime motivator in the new film “The Leisure Seeker,” about a retired couple taking one last spin in their RV, which takes its nickname from the title of the film. Along the way secrets are revealed and the devastation of dementia is exposed, but the story never gets too serious or heavy handed.

Film Review: Annette Bening Proves ‘Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool’

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool

CHICAGOGEORGE BAILEY: “Hey, you look good. That’s some dress you got on there.” VIOLET: “This old thing? I only wear it when I don’t care how I look.” That is how actress Gloria Grahame (as Violet Bick) was introduced in the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Now she is portrayed by Annette Bening in “Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool”.

Interview, Audio: Michael Stuhlbarg in ‘Call Me By Your Name’

CHICAGO – The character actor Michael Stuhlbarg is one of the more complete players in today’s show business. His embrace of a role is absolute, and his characters ring with a particular poetry based on his interpretations. His latest role is of an academic and father in the new film, “Call Me By Your Name.”

Film Review: Cautionary ‘Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House’

Mark Felt

CHICAGO – Everything old is new again, in the 1970s story of the infamous “Deep Throat” – the source in the FBI who tipped off the Washington Post about the issues surrounding Watergate scandal – who revealed himself in 2005. He is now the subject of a new film, and is portrayed by Liam Neeson, in “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House.”

Film Review: Diane Lane Hits the Blacktop in ‘Paris Can Wait’

Paris Can Wait

CHICAGO – The cache of “Paris Can Wait” is what immediately makes it attractive. It’s Diane Lane road tripping through France on the way to Paris, guided by the script and direction of Eleanor Coppola, in her narrative film debut (at age 80!). Along the way there is food, seduction, incredible sights and Alec Baldwin. That formula was destined to work.

Film Review: It Hurts Trying to Laugh at ‘The Comedian’

Comedian, The

CHICAGO – Mention this possibility…Robert De Niro portrays an aging stand-up comic who once had a popular sitcom in the 1980s…and 99% of filmgoers are in. Add that he beds a woman 25 years his junior, does community service, roasts Cloris Leachman and becomes a reality show host, and suddenly 80% of that 99 are out. That’s just part of the over-extension and dread in “The Comedian.”

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