And Then There Was Eve was Worth the Wait

And Then There Was Eve is one of the rare films that places the spotlight on a transgender actress in a leading role. Much credit should to go to director Savannah Bloch, who co-wrote the screenplay with Colette Freedman, for being adamant that a trans woman was cast as Eve rather than following the Hollywood trend of casting cis males as trans woman. Rachel Crowl shines in her role as jazz pianist Eve.  It’s one of…

"And Then There Was Eve was Worth the Wait"

Chicago Film Festival: Scaffolding

Scaffolding is one of four Israeli films to be shown during the Chicago International Film Festival. Written and directed by Matan Yair, the Israeli film stars Asher Lax, Ami Smolartchik, Jacob Cohen, and Keren Berger. Lax makes his professional and cinematic debut as an actor and takes home an Ophir Award nomination in the process. Asher (Lax) is a troublemaker and he’s always been this way in school.  Despite the rage and violence that Asher…

"Chicago Film Festival: Scaffolding"

Sidemen: Long Road to Glory profiles Three Bluesmen

Sidemen: Long Road To Glory celebrates the contributions that Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and Hubert Sumlin made to the blues musical genre. Scott Rosenbaum came to direct Sidemen following the inclusion of the aforementioned musicians in a previous feature film of his, The Perfect Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll.  They were cast because of the authenticity they added for the evolution of rock and roll through blues.  One thing led to another and…

"Sidemen: Long Road to Glory profiles Three Bluesmen"

Too Funny to Fail revisits The Dana Carvey Show

The newest Hulu documentary, Too Funny to Fail, revisits a short-lived 1996 ABC sketch comedy series, The Dana Carvey Show.  The sketch comedy series was truly ahead of its time. I was there at the beginning in 1996 for The Dana Carvey Show.  Carvey was fresh off the success of a run on Saturday Night Live and hit comedy Wayne’s World.  Why wouldn’t I have watched the show?  The Beatles sketches, fresh off of The…

"Too Funny to Fail revisits The Dana Carvey Show"

Chicago Film Festival: I, Tonya

The Tonya Harding biopic, I, Tonya, could bring Allison Janney an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the figure skater’s abusive mother. Directed by Craig Gillespie from a screenplay by Steven Rogers, the biopic stars Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Paul Walter Hauser, Julianne Nicholson, Caitlin Carver, Bojana Novakovic and Bobby Cannavale. Interspersed with documentary-style footage, the film gives off a humorous vibe as we revisit one of the biggest events…

"Chicago Film Festival: I, Tonya"

Breathe: An Emotionally Exhausting Film

Andy Serkis’ feature directorial debut, Breathe, is a film that is emotionally exhausting to watch and it is one that would have best been served as a documentary rather than what could easily be described as an expensive home movie. Serkis directs from a screenplay written by William Nicholson.  Breathe stars Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy, Tom Hollander, and Hugh Bonneville. The filmmakers were smart to focus on the love story in the film’s first few…

"Breathe: An Emotionally Exhausting Film"

Chicago Film Festival: Rogers Park

Depicting two biracial relationships, Rogers Park is one of many Chicago-set films to premiere during the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival. Directed by Kyle Henry from a screenplay written by Carlos Treviño, the Chicago-set film stars Antoine McKay, Sara Sevigny, Jonny Mars, and Christine Horn. Rogers Park is a family affair.  The film follows Zeke (McKay) and his wife, Grace (Sevigny), and Grace’s brother, Chris (Mars), and his partner, Deena (Horn).  Both couples are dealing with…

"Chicago Film Festival: Rogers Park"

Slamdance: Supergirl comes to Chicago

Slamdance Film Festival selection Supergirl comes to Chicago for one night only at the Arclight Cinemas as a part of the Slamdance Cinema Club. Directed by Jessie Auritt, we get a glimpse into the life of a very unique pre-teen, Naomi Kutin.  She’s not like other Orthodox girls her age.  One wouldn’t expect to see a powerlifter when they look at Naomi, let alone someone who could lift three times her body weight.  The girl from New Jersey…

"Slamdance: Supergirl comes to Chicago"

Chicago Film Festival: The Experimental City

The Experimental City documents the fascinating story behind a failed domed metropolis that was to be located in Minnesota. Chad Freidrichs, who directs the documentary, does a fantastic job in bringing history–even if forgotten to many–to life. The city was the brainchild of scientist and University of Minnesota dean Athelstan Spilhaus.  In watching, I was reminded of Walt Disney’s vision for Epcot as being a city of tomorrow.  Just as the Florida project never came to fruition, the…

"Chicago Film Festival: The Experimental City"

Chicago Film Festival: Blueprint

The South Side-focused Blueprint is one of many Chicago-focused films playing at the Chicago International Film Festival. Directed by Daryl Wein from a screenplay that was co-written with Jerod Haynes, the film spotlights the Chicago Southside. Chicago’s Southside is one that does not have a great reputation because of the gang violence that overwhelms the news day in and day out. Haynes stars as Jerod, a daycare teacher.  He loses a close friend and from…

"Chicago Film Festival: Blueprint"