CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’
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”).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
CHICAGO – Espionage sure isn’t like it used to be. The new film “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” is set during the Cold War period of the early 1970s, when lines were drawn by their proximity in front of and behind the Iron Curtain. Gary Oldman plays an old British spook in this thriller adapted from the famous John le Carré novel.
CHICAGO – Gary Oldman is a living legend. He’s just as fascinating in person as one would hope after seeing him dominate his craft in films like “Sid and Nancy,” “JFK,” “The Professional,” “True Romance,” “The Fifth Element,” “Hannibal,” “Harry Potter,” “The Dark Knight,” and much more.