Chicago Comedy Film Festival: Love in Moreno Valley

Love in Moreno Valley is a well-directed film from Steven Huffaker about two tenth graders who turn to high school as way to escape from their lives at home. Directed by Huffaker from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jared Lively, the film stars Jack Seavor McDonald, Jaire Bowen, John Ennis, Suilma Rodriguez, Paul Tirado, Lili Soto, Brendon Small, Alem Sapp, and Chandler Murphy. Tenth graders James Watson (McDonald) and Abraham Willis (Bowen) don’t have the best…

"Chicago Comedy Film Festival: Love in Moreno Valley"

Chicago Comedy Film Festival: For the Love of George

For the Love of George reminds us that we should never give up on happiness. Directed by Maria Burton, the female-empowered comedy stars Nadia Jordan, Rex Lee, Kristen Johnston, Shaun Sipos, Petra Bryant, Ruth Connell, Marina Sirtis, Henry Hereford, with Rosanna Arquette, and Tate Donovan. Poppy Wakefield (Jordan) is obsessed with George Clooney and after catching her husband Stephen (Hereford) in the act of cheating, Poppy sets off for Los Angeles to meet the love…

"Chicago Comedy Film Festival: For the Love of George"

Chicago Comedy Film Festival: Room for Rent

Selected for the Chicago Comedy Film Festival, Room for Rent is a film that should be seen as a lesson for lottery winners when it comes to dealing with finances. Matt Atkinson makes his feature debut as the writer/director of Room for Rent, a film that could very well be an AirBNB or Craigslist horror story brought to life.  Atkinson directs from a script that pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock.  It’s not a horror film per…

"Chicago Comedy Film Festival: Room for Rent"

Austin Film Festival: Transformer

Premiering at the Austin Film Festival, Transformer is a moving documentary telling the story of transgender power lifter Janae Kroczaleski. Michael Del Monte directs the documentary of the power lifter who struggled with her gender identity for many years–as most transgender people have.  When the former US Marine was outed on a YouTube video as a transgender woman in 2015, her life fell apart.  She still had her children, who couldn’t be more supportive, but…

"Austin Film Festival: Transformer"

Austin Film Festival: Quality Problems

Quality Problems takes the true story of Brooke Purdy’s battle with breast cancer and finds a way to turn it into a comedy. Directed by Brooke & Doug Purdy from a script written by Brooke, the film stars Brooke, Doug, Max and Scout Purdy; Mo Gaffney, Chris Mulkey, Jenica Bergere, Ryan Bollman and Michael Patrick McGill. There are not that many comedies about cancer because it’s not really a laughing matter.  The only cancer comedy…

"Austin Film Festival: Quality Problems"

Chicago Film Festival: The Rape of Recy Taylor

The Rape of Recy Taylor is one of the timeliest films to screen during the Chicago International Film Festival with two screenings last week. With sexual harassment and assault making the waves in and out of Hollywood, it’s something that has to be talked about.  In this case, The Loving Story director Nancy Buirski brings us Recy Taylor’s story and dedicates the film to those women who haven’t been heard yet. Recy Taylor came of…

"Chicago Film Festival: The Rape of Recy Taylor"

Chicago Film Festival: The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water is perhaps the finest film ever to be directed by Guillermo del Toro and actress Sally Hawkins delivers a top-notch performance in the Cold War-set film. With a screenplay co-written by  del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, the film stars Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg and Octavia Spencer. Set in 1962, a classified asset is brought into a government laboratory in Baltimore where Strickland (Shannon) is hellbent…

"Chicago Film Festival: The Shape of Water"

Chicago Film Festival: The Ballad of Lefty Brown

The Ballad of Lefty Brown shows that the western isn’t dead and gives actor Bill Pullman a showcase role in the thriller. Written and directed by Jared Moshé, Pullman leads a cast that includes Bill Pullman, Kathy Baker, Jim Caviezel, Joe Anderson, Diego Josef, Tommy Flanagan and Peter Fonda. Edward Johnson (Fonda) gets elected as a senator of Montana and Lefty Brown (Pullman) is by his side when he’s shot to death.  Nobody ever takes Brown–a sidekick for…

"Chicago Film Festival: The Ballad of Lefty Brown"

Jane: An Intimate Portrait of Jane Goodall

Jane, the new documentary from award-winning director Brett Morgen, pays tribute to the life of chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall. The National Geographic archives contained over 100 hours of footage from the last 50 years that had never been seen before.  It’s from that footage that Morgen draws from to bring us this intimate portrait of the acclaimed researcher.  In 1960, when Goodall first made waves, a woman doing this sort of research on chimpanzees was…

"Jane: An Intimate Portrait of Jane Goodall"

Chicago Film Festival: Black Cop

In his feature directorial debut, Black Cop, writer/director Cory Bowles uses unapologetic satire to explore the racial tensions within the police force and communities.  Bowles made this film in response to social media and if not viewed through the right lens, it’s a film that could come off as being absurd. For one cop, who is only known as Black Cop (Ronnie Rowe Jr.), he gets pushed over the edge and decides to target the…

"Chicago Film Festival: Black Cop"