Chicago Film Festival 2018: Echo

The Israeli film, Echo, shows the lengths that a husband will go when he starts to suspect that his wife is cheating on him. Perhaps it may not be the best idea to turn to spying in your own home.  Whatever the case, this is what Avner (Yoram Toledano) does when he starts to get the idea that his wife, Ella (Yaël Abecassis), is cheating on him.  This takes Avner to the extremes by recording…

"Chicago Film Festival 2018: Echo"

Chicago Film Fest 2018: Funny Cow

What Funny Cow does is manage to tackle the subject of being a woman in comedy by showing a focus on the  behind-the-scenes drama. Funny Cow (Maxine Peake) is a woman who looks to break into the comedy scene during the 1970s.  She would continue her rise into the next decade.  The film is grounded through the performances in British comedy clubs.  Whether this format works is up to the viewer but I surely struggled…

"Chicago Film Fest 2018: Funny Cow"

Chicago Film Festival 2018: Diane

Led by a career-best performance from Mary Kay Place, Diane tells the story of a Massachusetts woman who puts others before herself. Time flies by for Diane (Mary Kay Place)–this is a woman who rarely puts herself first.  When we’re first introduced to her, it’s at the hospital to show support for her cousin, Donna (Deirdre O’Connell).  If she’s not showing care for Donna, she’s trying to deal with the mess that is her son,…

"Chicago Film Festival 2018: Diane"

Chicago Film Festival 2018: Wolkenbruch’s Wondrous Journey into the Arms of a Shiksa

Wolkenbruch’s Wondrous Journey into the Arms of a Shiksa may play into some comedic tropes that we’ve seen before but the humor is delightful. This film has a classic Woody Allen vibe going for it–only this film features Yiddish, German, and Hebrew.  While I don’t want to say that Judith Wolkenbruch (Inge Maux) is the stereotypical Jewish mother, she comes very close.  She wants her son, Mordechai “Motti” Wolkenbruch (Joel Basman) to marry a Jewish…

"Chicago Film Festival 2018: Wolkenbruch’s Wondrous Journey into the Arms of a Shiksa"

Chicago Film Festival 2018: Friedkin Uncut

A host of talent, directors, and more pay tribute to the career of William Friedkin in Francesco Zippel’s documentary, Friedkin Uncut. Fresh off a Best Director win for The French Connection, the Chicago-born native would do to horror what Star Wars did to sci-fi.  When The Exorcist premiered in 1973, audiences were lined up for the film like crazy.  Because of its content, Quentin Tarantino’s mom forbid him from seeing the film. Friedkin was born to…

"Chicago Film Festival 2018: Friedkin Uncut"

Chicago Film Festival 2018: The Other Story

The Other Story is grounded through a father-daughter relationship but also touches on the struggles between Ultra-Orthodox Judaism and secular lifestyles. There are two major plots going in The Other Story.  One is the relationship between Anat Abadi (Joy Rieger) and Shachar Elkayam (Nathan Goshen).  The other deals with patients of Dr. Shlomo Abadi (Sasson Gabai), Rami (Maayan Bloom) and Sari (Avigail Harari).  While Shlomo brings in his son, Yonatan (Yuval Segal), to help these…

"Chicago Film Festival 2018: The Other Story"

Chicago Film Festival 2018: An Acceptable Loss

Headlined by shining performances from Tika Sumpter and Ben Tavassoli, An Acceptable Loss is full of political thrills in the Chicago-set thriller. A brief prologue introduces us to former US security advisor, Elizabeth ‘Libby’ Lamm (Tika Sumpter), and her boss, then-Vice President Rachel Burke (Jamie Lee Curtis).  While watching the film, we learn that Lamm authored the controversial and “commission-proof” Burke Doctrine.  It’s because of this that Lamm decides to step away from her position.  Cut…

"Chicago Film Festival 2018: An Acceptable Loss"

Chicago Film Festival 2018: The Great Buster

The Great Buster: A Celebration is a well-deserved cinematic tribute to Buster Keaton–one of the greatest silent comedy stars to have ever lived. Discussing the great silent comedy stars must include Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and Harold Lloyd.  Interestingly, Keaton starred in College as a response to Lloyd’s The Freshman.  Where Lloyd starred as a freshman who played football, Keaton would play every other sport.  As for Chaplin, he directed Keaton in 1952’s Limelight.  This…

"Chicago Film Festival 2018: The Great Buster"

Chicago Film Fest 2018: This Changes Everything

Addressing the gender disparity that troubles Hollywood, This Changes Everything is one of the most important documentaries of the year. I can’t exactly point to when all the focus started turning to women directors not getting the same opportunities as men.  That being said, This Changes Everything is equally important to the Amy Adrion-directed Half the Picture.  This two films go hand in hand with a similar focus on women directors. “The door has to…

"Chicago Film Fest 2018: This Changes Everything"

Art Paul of Playboy: The Man Behind The Bunny

Art Paul of Playboy: The Man Behind The Bunny profiles the man who revolutionized the magazine industry through his role as art director. When people think of the Playboy magazine, it’s not uncommon to think of nude women or founder Hugh Hefner.  The magazine started up in 1953 and would later grow into a full-blown brand in later years with the changing technology.  For the era in which the magazine begun, it would play an…

"Art Paul of Playboy: The Man Behind The Bunny"