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Preview: Second-Week Films at 52nd Chicago International Film Festival

CIFF 2016 2nd Week Films

CHICAGO – It’s Week Two of the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival, and with Closing Night coming next Thursday, what film gems still are yet to see? The film reviewers of HollywoodChicago.com has been previewing several second week screenings, and offers the following capsule summaries.

Film Review: ‘Morgan’ Takes Out Intelligence in Artificial Intelligence

CHICAGO – There is nothing like the feeling of watching a completely immersive sci-fi film that delivers the complexity of technology in a modest package, and uses elements of nature to create a beautiful contrast. Unfortunately, “Morgan” doesn’t deliver on the enlightenment it promises.

Exclusive Portraits: Matt Dillon, M. Night Shyamalan of ‘Wayward Pines’

CHICAGO – The 2015 TV season just got a little more intriguing, with the premiere of “Wayward Pines” on the FOX network on Thursday, May 14th. The series features Matt Dillon, and the Executive Producer and Director of the first episode, filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense”).

Film Review: Undeniably Unique Oddity of ‘Berberian Sound Studio’

CHICAGO – If David Lynch directed a Giallo it might have come out something like “Berberian Sound Studio,” a truly surreal oddity opening this week at the Siskel Film Center, starring the great Toby Jones as a man driven mad by his work on a ‘70s horror film. Or is it? Like “Eraserhead” or “Inland Empire,” there are times when the film simply defies interpretation.

TV Review: HBO’s ‘The Girl’ Presents Intersection of Madness, Genius

CHICAGO – Alfred Hitchcock is inarguably one of the most important and influential directors in the history of cinema. There’s no debate or controversy regarding his agreed-upon genius. However, fans of films like “Rear Window,” “Psycho,” “Vertigo,” and “The Birds” may not know that Hitch had a much darker side behind the camera.

Film Review: Cillian Murphy, Robert De Niro in Messy ‘Red Lights’

CHICAGO – “Red Lights” is a mess. And yet it’s also not messy enough. Rodrigo Cortes follows up his vastly superior “Buried” with this supernatural tale filled with plot contrivances that would make M. Night Shyamalan call bullshit. Still, he does so with a direct, straightforward style when a bit less polish would have given it the character it’s missing.

Interview: Cillian Murphy, Rodrigo Cortes Run ‘Red Lights’

CHICAGO – Writer/director Rodrigo Cortes really broke through with the award-winning “Buried,” starring Ryan Reynolds. He returns this week with a very different thriller called “Red Lights,” starring the great Cillian Murphy, who joined Mr. Cortes recently in Chicago for a discussion about “2001,” working with Robert De Niro, and the complexity of audience expectations.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ with Gary Oldman

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy with Gary Oldman

CHICAGO – Gary Oldman scored his first Oscar nomination for his incredible, subtle work in Tomas Alfredson’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. The film is ultimately a bit too cold and clinical for this viewer but it features enough amazing parts, including Oldman’s performance and incredible production design, that the lack of a more-impressive sum shouldn’t hold you back.

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ Looks Great, Feels Hollow

The Adventures of Tintin

CHICAGO – Being a Steven Spielberg super-fan, I looked forward to being able to re-appreciate “The Adventures of Tintin” with a beautiful HD picture and, I hoped, some special features to enhance my opinion of a film that I found pretty seriously flawed in theaters. Well, the HD transfer is a beauty — the film looks just as good as its 3D theatrical presentation — but the film is still flawed and the special features are lackluster. In theaters, it was a near-miss and my opinion has not changed on Blu-ray.

Film Review: Spielberg’s Disappointing ‘The Adventures of Tintin’

CHICAGO – Being a huge Steven Spielberg fan and a pretty big aficionado of Peter Jackson (who produced) as well, I was pretty psyched to see what these two undeniable geniuses could do in the world of motion-capture animation with their collaboration on the adaptation of the hit Herge cartoon “The Adventures of Tintin.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Wiz, The

    CHICAGO – When stage theater can cause outbreaks of elation, celebration and joy, then it must be due to Kokandy Productions’ revival of “The Wiz.” The urban reinterpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” story – told through tuneful euphoria and jubilant dance – is ecstatically produced, in every morsel of its stagecraft.

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