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"

Special Unit: Imagine Mel Brooks directing Lethal Weapon

Special Unit can best be described as a film that imagines Lethal Weapon being directed by Mel Brooks.  A decade in the making, the film is one of the rare comedies that can help spread awareness by its casting actors with disabilities in those roles rather than get a big-name star who isn’t disabled and can draw in the money. Comedian Christopher Titus makes his feature film debut as a writer-director.  There’s no doubt that…

"Special Unit: Imagine Mel Brooks directing Lethal Weapon"

The Meyerowitz Stories: A Typical Dysfunctional Jewish Family

Netflix’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) is the dysfunctional Jewish family that This Is Where I Leave You wanted to be. Written and directed by Noah Baumbach, the film stars Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Elizabeth Marvel, Grace Van Patten, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson.  Judd Hirsch, Rebecca Miller, Adam Driver, Matthew Shear, and Candice Bergen co-star. Baumbach has given us some very strong films before and The Meyerowitz Stories is no exception. It’s his…

"The Meyerowitz Stories: A Typical Dysfunctional Jewish Family"

Lucky: A Fitting Tribute to Harry Dean Stanton

The best way to sum up Lucky is that the independent film is a fitting tribute to the life and career of Harry Dean Stanton as the actor passed away in mid-September. When this film was produced, nobody could have possibly predicted that it would be among Stanton’s final roles. Character actor John Carroll Lynch makes his directorial debut with Lucky from a screenplay written by Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja. Stanton leads a cast…

"Lucky: A Fitting Tribute to Harry Dean Stanton"

American Made: Tom Cruise Brings Some Fun

American Made, reuniting director Doug Liman with actor Tom Cruise, offers more laughs than one expects from watching the trailer. Based on a true story, Cruise leads a cast that includes Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright Olsen, E. Roger Mitchell, Jesse Plemons, Lola Kirke, Alejandro Edda, Benito Martinez, Caleb Landry Jones, and Jayma Mays. While Colonel Oliver North is most associated with the Iran-Contra affair, Barry Seal played the biggest role in the scandal and most…

"American Made: Tom Cruise Brings Some Fun"

mother! – A Unique Movie Badly Marketed as a Horror Film

Darren Aronofsky’s latest film, mother!, is a unique film to say the least but it should never have been marketed as a horror film nor should it have had a wide release.  Spoilers abound… Written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, mother! stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, Brian Gleeson, and Kristen Wiig. With the exception of the big-budget Noah, Aronofsky is a filmmaker who specializes in art house films.  Much…

"mother! – A Unique Movie Badly Marketed as a Horror Film"

Nocturama: A Unique Terrorism Thriller

Nocturama is such a unique terrorism thriller and one that ought to be experienced on the big screen. Written and directed by Bertrand Bonello, the film stars Finnegan Oldfield, Laure Valentinelli, Hamza Meziani, Manal Issa, and Robin Goldbronn.  Bonello proves to be a triple-threat as he scores the film menacingly, too. The film starts as we follow a group of teens in Paris.  At first, we don’t know what they are up to but we…

"Nocturama: A Unique Terrorism Thriller"

Fallen: Police Officers Are Human, Too.

Directed by Thomas Marchese with narration provided by The Shield alumnus Michael Chiklis, Fallen is a moving documentary that gives us some insight into police work and how they are impacted by their fallen service members.  After all, they are human. A police officer might be killed every 2-3 days in the United States and depending on the news story of their day, their deaths could go unnoticed and that’s a tragedy in its own…

"Fallen: Police Officers Are Human, Too."