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 – I adore David Cronenberg. He’s one of the most important filmmakers of his generation from “Videodrome” (also available in a great Criterion release) to “The Fly” to “Dead Ringers” to “The History of Violence.” He matters. And yet I’ve never been in love with “Naked Lunch,” recently released in Criterion Blu-ray and DVD. It’s one of those movies that I always admired but never loved. It’s about all that could be done with a Burroughs’ book, one that clearly could not be directly adapted into film, but I find it more interesting as a filmmaking exercise than an enjoyable piece of work on its own. Having said that, the Criterion treatment of it is expectedly stellar.
CHICAGO – Some writing sounds better on the page than it does when read aloud. That’s certainly the case with Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel, “Cosmopolis,” a spectacularly unsettling social commentary largely confined within the limo of billionaire asset manager, Eric Packer. He claims that he’s 28, but looks as if he’s been strolling the streets for centuries, while displaying all the decadent beauty of Dorian Gray.
CHICAGO – One of our best living filmmakers, one of our best working authors, and a teen heartthrob who has largely been known for looks over skill get into a slow-moving limousine in David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Don DeLillo’s “Cosmopolis” starring Robert Pattinson in almost exclusively one-on-one scenes with some great supporting actors and actresses.
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CHICAGO – David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, features four of the most interesting performances of 2011 and is certainly a conversation piece in the themes that writer Christopher Hampton has chosen to explore. I still wish it had more of the actual “danger” of Cronenberg’s early work but there’s more to like here than I first thought, especially in what was brought to the material by those cast to deliver it.
CHICAGO – There are glimpses of actual danger in David Cronenberg’s divisive “A Dangerous Method” with Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen, and Keira Knightley, and the film has a lingering power as it’s easy to roll around your brain and contemplate its themes, but I wanted a bit more actual risk to the filmmaking. Easily the masterful director’s most straightforward work in some time (possibly ever), this is a worthwhile piece that nonetheless disappoints in the context of the rest of his filmography.
CHICAGO – Chicago movie buffs psyched for the 47th Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF) have a limited-time opportunity to purchase their passes at a discounted price. Festivalgoers can save $10 on their purchase through Sept. 21, 2011. CIFF has wisely enticed attendees by releasing the names of their 25 official selections at the 2011 festival, which is scheduled from Oct. 6 through the Oct. 20, 2011.
CHICAGO – “Attack the Block” has been building buzz all year and Chicago will finally be able to see what all the positive internet hype has been about when it opens here on Friday, July 29th, 2011.
CHICAGO – They just don’t make movies like “Videodrome” all that often. Well, there just aren’t that many filmmakers like David Cronenberg out there, especially not those working in the psycho-sexual milieu that typified the work from the first half of his career. Arguably the best film from the early period of one of our best filmmakers, “Videodrome” has been granted the Blu-ray treatment from The Criterion Collection.
CHICAGO – A Best Picture winner that looks nowhere near as old as many of the films that came out a quarter-century ago with it, a recent masterpiece from David Cronenberg that probably should have been more recognized by Oscar, and a little film that was never on the Academy’s radar but has developed an insanely huge and loyal cult following.