DOC NYC 2018: Beyond the Bolex

Filmmaker Alyssa Bolsey takes us Beyond the Bolex to share the story of her great-grandfather, Jacques Bolsey. When Emil Bolsey died in 2004, he left behind a vast archive belonging to his late father, Jacques Bolsey.  Until this point, filmmaker Alyssa Bolsey thought she was the only one in her family.  As fate would have it, her great-grandfather was one of the early Swiss pioneers in filmmaking.  This is because he was the creator of the Bolex…

"DOC NYC 2018: Beyond the Bolex"

Chicago Film Festival 2018: Flammable Children

Flammable Children, while released as Swinging Safari in its native Australia, takes us back to the 1970s for a nostalgic comedy. The nostalgia starts the moment that “Spirit in the Sky” starts to play during the opening credits.  It’s from this point where writer-director Stephan Elliott wisely introduces us to the people in the neighborhood along the beach.  We’re introduced through Jeff Marsh (Atticus Robb), who serves as the narrator.  We soon meet the Halls, Jones,…

"Chicago Film Festival 2018: Flammable Children"

Chicago Film Festival 2018: Olympia

A coming-of-age dramedy set in Chicago, Olympia is headlined by a delightful performance from writer-actress McKenzie Chinn. Olympia Wells (McKenzie Chinn) is approaching the crossroads of her life with tough decisions to make.  These decisions come as the Chicago artist is approaching her 30th birthday.  Some of these decisions aren’t so much because of her but because of her relationships.  Her boyfriend, Felix (Charles Gardner), is moving to California in a few weeks with his…

"Chicago Film Festival 2018: Olympia"

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"