Matt Fagerholm

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Last Stand’ Marks Career Low for Schwarzenegger

The Last Stand Blu-ray

CHICAGO – “The Last Stand” may mark the first time Arnold Schwarzenegger fulfilled his iconic promise, “I’ll be back,” and the general public replied, “Who cares?” Designed as a comeback vehicle for the actor-turned-governor-turned-wannabe actor, this competently made yet instantly forgettable flick has already gained notoriety as one of the year’s biggest bombs. Hasta la vista, indeed.

Film Review: ‘I Do’ Tackles Weighty Issues with Tender Insight

I Do Film Review

CHICAGO – Nothing bugs a critic more than obstacles strategically placed in the path of otherwise happy characters. Without the conspiratorial manipulations of the plot, these people would have no problem leading perfectly content lives. Instead of emerging organically from the characters themselves, the conflict swoops in like a speeding car fresh off the highway.

Film Review: Ulrich Seidl’s ‘Paradise’ Trilogy Proves Darkly Transfixing

Paradise Trilogy Film Review

CHICAGO – What is paradise but a mirage unaccustomed to reality? It hovers over us at all times, tantalizing our minds with illusions of perfection, divinity and eternal harmony. Only when one reaches out with desiring hands does it fade into the ether. No one seeks utopia without setting themselves up for certain disappointment.

DVD Review: Audacious ‘Swimming to Cambodia’ Gets Long-Awaited Release

Swimming to Cambodia DVD

CHICAGO – Moviegoers allergic to copious amounts of talk will be hacking and wheezing minutes into “Swimming to Cambodia.” It’s a cinematically lensed 1987 recording of a show that consists entirely of actor/writer Spalding Gray sitting in a chair telling stories. He’s a vibrant presence and a brilliant wordsmith, but his mouth could literally talk one’s ear into a coma.

Film News: ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ Wins Palme d’Or at Cannes 2013

Cannes 2013 Wrap Up

CHICAGO – After heating up juror monocles with the steamiest three hours at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the lesbian romance “Blue is the Warmest Color” won the coveted Palme d’Or at the 2013 awards ceremony held Sunday, May 26th. The top prize was shared by French-Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche (“The Secret of the Grain”) and his two leading ladies, Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos.

Film Review: Lauren Ambrose Shines in Heartbreaking Indie ‘About Sunny’

About Sunny Film Review

CHICAGO – In the annals of bad parenting portrayed on film, the heroine of Bryan Wizemann’s 2011 indie drama is a special case indeed. Though we watch helplessly as she makes countless bad decisions guaranteed to send her young daughter to intensive therapy, we don’t regard her a sinister figure on the order of Monique’s monstrous matriarch in “Precious.” Our gaze is one of empathy.

Film News: ‘David Lynch Swerves’ Author Martha P. Nochimson on Indie Outlook

David Lynch Swerves

CHICAGO – Acclaimed film critic and writer Martha P. Nochimson gave an exclusive interview to Indie Outlook, the independent film blog and podcast founded by Hollywood Chicago staff writer Matt Fagerholm. Her book, “David Lynch Swerves,” reveals how the titular director’s interest in quantum mechanics and the Holy Vedas of the Hindu religion provide a key to understanding his later work on an exhilaratingly new level.

Blu-ray Review: Awful Script Strands ‘Open Road’ in Formulaic Wasteland

Open Road Blu-ray

CHICAGO – So you’re a young woman who decides to fall asleep in your car parked just off the highway. You’re awoken by the rapping fist of a chiseled cop who leers at you with the sexual appetite of a drooling wolf. Sounds like a meet cute straight out of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” But in Marcio Garcia’s head-slapping dud, “Open Road,” it’s supposed to be heartwarming.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Frankie Go Boom’ Offers Plentiful Humiliation, Few Laughs

Frankie Go Boom Blu-ray

CHICAGO – “Frankie Go Boom” is a comedy about deplorable people who commit heartless acts and expect us to laugh at them. It casts the hugely lovable Chris O’Dowd as the most loathsome schlub ever to materialize on the big screen since Josh Gad’s wretched comic relief in “Love and Other Drugs.” And it puts Ron Perlman in drag but fails to give him a single laugh-worthy line. What a misfire.

Blu-ray Review: Brilliantly Acted ‘Starlet’ Portrays Beauty of Unlikely Bond

Starlet Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Besedka Johnson was 85 years old when she was discovered at a YMCA. After devoting her life to astrology, the genial woman was suddenly brought to the attention of indie filmmakers intrigued by her vintage movie star features. At 86, she delivered a tour-de-force film debut in Sean Baker’s marvelous drama, “Starlet.” And at 87, she passed away.

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