CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
CHICAGO – Ava DuVernay’s Sundance award-winning drama “Middle of Nowhere” is a confident, engaging drama strengthened by genuine, moving performances, particularly the stunningly good one at its center from Emayatzy Corinealdi. The movie sometimes falters due to some melodramatic, on-the-nose dialogue, but there’s an honesty, compassion, and genuine quality here that’s too often missing from adult dramas. It’s a striking debut.
CHICAGO – Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” was a landmark event in 1974, giving voice to a segment of society rarely seen on the stage. It took 34 years for a filmmaker to tackle this remarkable work in film form and Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls” retains some of the inherent power of it source and features some strong performances in the process but never finds the narrative cohesion needed to translate it to modern movie audiences.