Chicago Critics 2019: Yesterday

Danny Boyle’s Yesterday may be inspired by a world without The Beatles but unfortunately, the film loses its focus somewhere on the long and winding road. Imagine a world where The Beatles never came into existence.  This is what screenwriter Richard Curtis asks in a crowd-pleasing screenplay.  Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) was about to give up his dreams as a singer-songwriter.  Best friend Ellie (Lily James) shows support for Jack but it isn’t enough.  For…

"Chicago Critics 2019: Yesterday"

Tribeca 2019: For They Know Not What They Do

Grounded in the stories of four LGBTQ people, For They Know Not What They Do is an essential documentary and should be a must-watch for everyone. This film tells the stories of Sarah McBride, Elliot Porcher, Vico Báez Febo, and the late Ryan Robertson.  If you’re anything like me, you will get emotional while viewing the documentary.  I got chills all over my body just from watching the clip of Sarah addressing the DNC in 2016. …

"Tribeca 2019: For They Know Not What They Do"

Tribeca 2019: Storm

Storm is what happens when you imagine a near-distant future where the government is put in charge of our dating and sexual affairs. The film starts out with a message from the U.S. Department of Social Health that introduces us to the Relationship Compatibility Act.  Participation is required by law as all Americans are “paired with or reassigned” to our ideal partner.  If no such matches occur in a 12-month period, people will be then…

"Tribeca 2019: Storm"

Tribeca 2019: Master Maggie

An unknown actor practically has to beg a celebrity acting coach to help him audition for a TV role in the short film, Master Maggie. Most people think of acting classes as being a necessary requirement on the way to their Emmy, Oscar, or Tony.  The direction that director/co-writer Matthew Bonifacio takes us on is not quite as we expected.  One could see this as an acting coach’s worst nightmare.  In addition to filmmaking, Matthew Bonifacio is…

"Tribeca 2019: Master Maggie"

Tribeca 2019: Flyby

Flyby is a well-made sci-fi drama from writer-director Jesse Mittelstadt in which viewers can’t help but ask the hard questions after viewing. When an asteroid, Chrono-7, enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it begins to mess with our perception of time.  The film focuses on Bill (Riley Egan).  After hanging out with friends, we see Bill go back with Cora (Tommee May).  It’s only when she wakes up really pregnant the next day that we realize something is…

"Tribeca 2019: Flyby"

Tribeca 2019: Momster

Drew Denny’s Momster works as a proof-of-concept film while laying the groundwork for what may be the feature film that follows. Angel (Brianna Hildebrand) works at Wild Ride, a drug dealing diner operated by Dallas (Josh Ennis).  Angel’s mother, the Momster (Amanda Plummer), had left her with Dallas so as to live a life free of the cops.  Unfortunately, Angel isn’t leaving an easy life with Dallas around.  While her mom comes back into the…

"Tribeca 2019: Momster"

Tribeca 2019: Nick Borenstein’s 99 and Sweater

Actor-filmmaker Nick Borenstein had a pair of shorts, 99 and Sweater, screen in the Tribeca N.O.W. program during the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Both of these are very different films but they’re both comedies.  In 99, both mother (Kathryn Markey) and son (Borenstein) are shopping in a 99 cent store for a bar mitzvah gift.  She’s a frequent customer so it comes as no surprise that many of the store’s employees know who she is. …

"Tribeca 2019: Nick Borenstein’s 99 and Sweater"

Tribeca 2019: Lady Hater

Lady Hater is a smartly written comedy from Alexandra Barreto that challenges the gender norms that come with being a woman. The gist of the film is that Sam Hardy (Allyn Rachel) is a “guy’s girl.”  When the yoga class turns out to be a seminar to find the goddess within, it really hits a nerve.  She’s not really into the things that people would describe as girly.  Oh, yes, this includes brunch and shopping.  If you dare…

"Tribeca 2019: Lady Hater"

Tribeca 2019: I Think She Likes You

I Think She Likes You has us thinking that it is one type of comedy but the reality is that there’s something hiding just beneath the surface. A night at the bar takes a quick turn into something else for Jake (Josh Fadem) when he meets Julia (Teresa Lee).  Julia spots Justine (Christine Medrano) across the way and thinks she likes Jake.  The next thing we know, Jake finds himself in a threesome with both…

"Tribeca 2019: I Think She Likes You"

Tribeca 2019: Hook Up 2.0

Hook Up 2.0 re-imagines what the late night hook up would be if a Rotten Tomatoes type program was used for potential mates. A sorority girl (Veronica Dunne) is a finalist for a program that she invented.  To see if it works, she needs to try it out on someone (Billy Meade).  When he requires her to consent as to how far she’s willing to go, she takes things up a notch.  Not only does…

"Tribeca 2019: Hook Up 2.0"