CCFF: The Hero shines through in Sam Elliott

Sam Elliott delivers a shining performance in The Hero as Lee Hayden. In the newest film from writer/director Brett Haley, Elliott gives one of the strongest performances I have seen so far during this year’s Chicago Critics Film Festival.  We all know his voice–it’s just as iconic as Morgan Freeman.  It’s one of two films that played in which Hayden confronts his own mortality when he gets diagnosed with cancer.  He’s not getting much work…

"CCFF: The Hero shines through in Sam Elliott"

CCFF: Lucky is a tribute to Harry Dean Stanton

The best way to sum up Lucky is that it is a tribute to the life and career of Harry Dean Stanton. John Carroll Lynch makes his directorial debut with Lucky from a screenplay written by Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja. Stanton leads a cast that includes David Lynch, Ron Livingston, Ed Begley Jr., Tom Skerritt, Beth Grant, James Darren, Barry Shabaka Henley, and Yvonne Huff Lee. The performance by Stanton is one of the…

"CCFF: Lucky is a tribute to Harry Dean Stanton"

CCFF: Band-Aid fights it up through music

Band-Aid is a funny relationship comedy where the fights are done through music.  The movie throws a new perspective on love in cinema. Actress/writer Zoe Lister-Jones makes her directorial debut with this cute indie film about a couple, Anna and Ben (Lister-Jones, Adam Pally), that keep having fights to the point in which they decide they should write songs about their fights.  The decision, with the hope of saving their marriage, to write the songs…

"CCFF: Band-Aid fights it up through music"

CCFF: Score: A Film Music Documentary amazes

Score: A Film Music Documentary, directed by Matt Schrader, played to 60 people on Saturday morning at the Music Box Theater in Chicago. When I screened the movie on Friday afternoon, it immediately jumped to the top of my shortlist for best documentary film in 2017. Financed in part through a Kickstarter campaign, the documentary is amazing but it could be so much more. It’s only 93 minutes but with a better budget, it could…

"CCFF: Score: A Film Music Documentary amazes"

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is Awesome and So Much Fun

The Guardians of the Galaxy have returned in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, a sequel that provides just as much action and fun as the first movie. The soundtrack for the sequel is provided by Awesome Mixtape #2.  This is the last gift that Meredith Quill (Laura Haddock) gave to her son, Peter (Chris Pratt), prior to dying in the first movie. For Peter Quill, he has never known who his father is.  Lo…

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is Awesome and So Much Fun"

Power Rangers Reboot, Offer Diversity in Casting

The Power Rangers are back on the big screen for the third time after the television series debuted on August 28, 1993. With its release, we see the first blockbuster film to feature both LGBTQ and autistic superheroes. Dean Israelite directs the franchise’s third film from a screenplay written by John Gatins, based on a story written by Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless and Michele Mulroney & Kieran Mulroney. The cast features Dacre Montgomery, Naomi…

"Power Rangers Reboot, Offer Diversity in Casting"

Beauty and the Beast: Disney Does It Again

Our childhood comes back to the big screen with the live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. The retelling stays true to the animated classic but fills in the plot holes that they were unable to do with the animated film. If it were up to me, Beauty and the Beast would also get a Best Picture nomination. Directed by Bill Condon from a screenplay written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos, the star-studded cast…

"Beauty and the Beast: Disney Does It Again"

Kong: Skull Island reboots King Kong in great fashion

Kong: Skull Island takes us back to the Vietnam War era to reboot everyone’s favorite gigantic primate. It may not match the original classic but the fast-paced story holds its own. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer) from a screenplay written by Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly with the story by John Gatins, it’s not a movie that makes us wait a while for King Kong in the same way…

"Kong: Skull Island reboots King Kong in great fashion"

Logan: One Last Time for Wolverine

It’s one last time for Hugh Jackman as Logan’s story comes to an end in Logan, the newest installment of the X-Men franchise. Inspired by Old Man Logan, this film is very grounded and it’s not the typical superhero action film. It’s a powerful film and one really doesn’t need to see the prior films going into it as it’s a standalone pic in which one really doesn’t need to have seen the previous X-Men…

"Logan: One Last Time for Wolverine"

The Lego Batman Movie: Everything is Awesome-er

Everything is awesome-er in this Batman-themed spin-off to The Lego Movie. Will Arnett reprises his role as Batman in this family-friendly sequel that puts Batman v Superman to task. Depending on what animated fare is being offered by Disney and Pixar this year, this one is a sure contender for Best Animated Feature. Whereas the first film was brighter, the filmmakers do a good job at depicting Batman’s classic environment. Chris McKay directs from a…

"The Lego Batman Movie: Everything is Awesome-er"