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"

Fantasia: Bitch takes us on a ride

Selected for the 2017 Fantasia International Film Festival, Bitch is a dark comedy that takes us on a wild ride as lonely housewife begins acting like a dog. Written and directed by Marianna Palka, the thriller stars Jason Ritter, Marianna Palka, Jaime King, Brighton Sharbino, Rio Mangini, Kingston Foster, Jason Maybaum, with Caroline Aaron and Bill Smitrovich. The film starts out with Jill (Palka) going through with what turns into a failed suicide attempt.  Her…

"Fantasia: Bitch takes us on a ride"

CCFF: A Ghost Story closes out festival

David Lowery’s A Ghost Story closed out the Chicago Critics Film Festival with a nearly sold out crowd. Reuniting his Ain’t Them Bodies Saints co-stars, Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, writer-director Lowery returned to Sundance this year with a film that could only be made as such.  A story of this nature could not be done in any other medium, be it print or visual. Affleck stars as a white-sheeted ghost who returns to his…

"CCFF: A Ghost Story closes out festival"

CCFF: Menashe brings Yiddish back to the big screen

Menashe brings Yiddish back to the big screen for the first time in some 60-70 years. Directed by Joshua Z Weinstein, this is his first narrative feature.  The screenplay was written by Weinstein, Alex Lipschultz, and Musa Syeed. Starring Menashe Lustig, the film is loosely inspired by his life.  Given that the film is in Yiddish with English subtitles, it will be interesting to see what will happen come awards season and whether it will…

"CCFF: Menashe brings Yiddish back to the big screen"