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)"

Chicago Film Festival: Chasing The Blues

Chasing The Blues is a fun but short-ass dramedy with a running time just under 80 minutes long. Scott Smith directs from a screenplay he co-wrote with Kevin Guilfoile.  The film stars Grant Rosenmeyer, Ronald L. Conner, Chelsea Tavares, Clem Cheung, with Steve Guttenberg, Anna Maria Horsford, and Jon Lovitz as Lincoln Groome. It’s 1987 and our story evolves around Alan Thomas (Rosenmeyer) and Paul Bettis (Conner).  The two of them try to con the…

"Chicago Film Festival: Chasing The Blues"

Chicago Film Festival: The Square

The Square, this year’s Palme d’Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival is an amusing but over-long comedy that satirizes the art world. Written and directed by Ruben Östlund, the film stars Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, Terry Notary, and Christopher Laessø. How far is too far to go when it comes to getting publicity?  That’s what writer/director Östlund is trying to get out of viewers watching the film. The curator of an art…

"Chicago Film Festival: The Square"

Chicago Film Festival: Why I’m Not Screening Lola Pater

Lola Pater was one of 150 films selected to screen at the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival.  As a transgender film critic based in Chicago, I opted against screening the film in the lead-up to the first screening on Friday. You’re probably wondering why a transgender film critic would opt against screening Lola Pater, a film in which a transgender character plays a prominent role.  It comes down to said character being played by a…

"Chicago Film Festival: Why I’m Not Screening Lola Pater"

Dedication pays off in On the Sly: In Search of the Family Stone

On the Sly: In Search of the Family Stone shows how dedicated director/producer Michael Rubenstone is when it comes to meeting the hard-to-find Sly Stone. Rubenstone paves the road in 2001 when he finds himself unhappy in New York and moves to Los Angeles to find acting work, listening to Sly and the Family Stone on the road trip.  Rubenstone lands a few small acting roles in LA but turns to seek out the reclusive…

"Dedication pays off in On the Sly: In Search of the Family Stone"

Fantasia: Tragedy Girls brings comedy to the slasher genre

Tragedy Girls is a horror comedy that offers us a fresh comedic take to the slasher genre. Directed by Tyler MacIntyre, who co-wrote the film with Chris Lee Hill based on an original screenplay by Justin Olson, the film stars Alexandra Shipp, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Quaid, Josh Hutcherson, Timothy V. Murphy, Nicky Whelan, Austin Abrams, Kerry Rhodes, with Kevin Durand, and Craig Robinson. Sadie Cunningham (Shipp) and McKayla Hooper  (Hildebrand) are best friends living in…

"Fantasia: Tragedy Girls brings comedy to the slasher genre"

Flyover Film Festival: Beauty Mark tackles childhood abuse

Beauty Mark, which recently won a Special Jury Prize for actress Auden Thornton’s breakout performance at the 2017 LA Film Festival, plays tonight as the closing night film at the 2017 Flyover Film Festival in Louisville, Ky. Auden Thornton stars as Angie.  She’s struggling with her convenience store job while having to take care of her three-year-old son and deal with an alcoholic mother.  As if this isn’t enough, Angie is forced to move upon…

"Flyover Film Festival: Beauty Mark tackles childhood abuse"

Fantasia: Let There Be Light looks to create fusion

Let There Be Light is a documentary following a group of scientists building an artificial star. Written and directed by Mila Aung-Thwin, the film was co-directed by Van Royko. In France, scientists from 37 countries have teamed up to build an artificial star here on Earth.  Crazy, right?  If their project works, mankind will be better off with cheap and clean energy.  If It fails, they’ll be a laughing stock in the world of fusion…

"Fantasia: Let There Be Light looks to create fusion"

Fantasia Film Festival: Most Beautiful Island

Most Beautiful Island is a psychological thriller exploring what happens when undocumented immigrants wanting a better life. Written and directed by Ana Asensio, the psychological thriller stars Asensio, Natasha Romanova, David Little, Nicholas Tucci, Larry Fessenden, and Caprice Benedetti. What does a struggling immigrant do when they are also undocumented?  This is what writer/director/actress Asensio explores and announces to the world that she’s a triple-threat in front of and behind the camera.  The film is…

"Fantasia Film Festival: Most Beautiful Island"

Fantasia: 78/52 profiles Pyscho’s Shower Scene

A selection for the 2017 Fantasia International Film Festival, 78/52 profiles the iconic shower scene shown in Alfred Hitchock’s Pyscho. Written and directed by Alexandre O. Philippe, the documentary features a wide array of interviews mixed in with archival footage.  A number of interview subjects were included including family members of Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, and Anthony Perkins. Oscar winning editors such as Walter Murch, Chris Ennis, and Bob Murawski were also among those interviewed. The…

"Fantasia: 78/52 profiles Pyscho’s Shower Scene"