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"

Chicago Film Festival – Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me

Sam Pollard’s documentary, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me is the first major documentary to spotlight the life of the late Rat Pack member. The documentary features interviews with Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg and Kim Novak, among others, including Nixon staffers such as former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.  We are treated to never-before seen photos as well as numerous clips from Davis’ career. For someone such as Davis, it’s beyond crazy…

"Chicago Film Festival – Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me"

Chicago Film Festival: Princess Cyd

From writer-director Stephen Cone, Princess Cyd adds to a nice collection of films showing that the Chicago filmmaking scene is as vibrant as ever.  The film is also important in that the coming-of-age film adds to the LGBTQ voices in media. Written and directed by Cone, the film stars Rebecca Spence, Jessie Pinnick, Malic White, James Vincent Meredith, with Matthew Quattrocki and Tyler Ross.  The younger actress makes her feature film debut and rises to the…

"Chicago Film Festival: Princess Cyd"

Chicago Film Festival: The Replacement

The Replacement, starring the Midwest Independent Film Festival’s own Mike McNamara, is one of the shorts to make its world premiere during the Chicago Style: City and State shorts presentation at the Chicago International Film Festival. “What I love about this script is that it packs so much into 15 minutes,” McNamara tells Solzy at the Movies.  “Action, satire, humor, suspense and even a little bit of romance.  And it’s so timely.  And we shot…

"Chicago Film Festival: The Replacement"

Chicago Film Festival: Thelma

Norway’s official Oscar submission, Thelma, makes a stop in Chicago this weekend. Directed by Joachim Trier (Louder than Bombs) from a screenplay co-written with Eskil Vogt, the foreign film stars Eili Harboe, Okay Kaya, Ellen Dorrit Petersen, and Henrik Rafaelsen. The film combines a few genres with a mix of romance, thriller, and the supernatural as the shy Thelma (Harboe) undergoes terrifying seizures away at college in Oslo.  It’s not even a few minutes into…

"Chicago Film Festival: Thelma"

Chicago Film Festival: Zoo (Dir. Colin McIvor)

Based on an inspiring true story of a woman who rescued an elephant from the Belfast Zoo, Zoo showcases bravery in Belfast 1941. Written and directed by by Colin McIvor, the Belfast-set film stars Art Parkinson, Penelope Wilton, Toby Jones, Ian O’Reilly, Ian McElhinney, Amy Huberman, and Damian O’Hare. Tom (Parkinson) has to step it up when his zookeeper father, George (O’Hare) decides to enlist in World War 2.   As George takes the fight overseas,…

"Chicago Film Festival: Zoo (Dir. Colin McIvor)"