Chicago Film Festival: The Ballad of Lefty Brown

The Ballad of Lefty Brown shows that the western isn’t dead and gives actor Bill Pullman a showcase role in the thriller. Written and directed by Jared Moshé, Pullman leads a cast that includes Bill Pullman, Kathy Baker, Jim Caviezel, Joe Anderson, Diego Josef, Tommy Flanagan and Peter Fonda. Edward Johnson (Fonda) gets elected as a senator of Montana and Lefty Brown (Pullman) is by his side when he’s shot to death.  Nobody ever takes Brown–a sidekick for…

"Chicago Film Festival: The Ballad of Lefty Brown"

Jane: An Intimate Portrait of Jane Goodall

Jane, the new documentary from award-winning director Brett Morgen, pays tribute to the life of chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall. The National Geographic archives contained over 100 hours of footage from the last 50 years that had never been seen before.  It’s from that footage that Morgen draws from to bring us this intimate portrait of the acclaimed researcher.  In 1960, when Goodall first made waves, a woman doing this sort of research on chimpanzees was…

"Jane: An Intimate Portrait of Jane Goodall"

Chicago Film Festival: Black Cop

In his feature directorial debut, Black Cop, writer/director Cory Bowles uses unapologetic satire to explore the racial tensions within the police force and communities.  Bowles made this film in response to social media and if not viewed through the right lens, it’s a film that could come off as being absurd. For one cop, who is only known as Black Cop (Ronnie Rowe Jr.), he gets pushed over the edge and decides to target the…

"Chicago Film Festival: Black Cop"

1945: What Happens When The Jews Come Back?

1945 can best be described as a film that examines what happens in a village when the Jews start coming back after the Holocaust. Directed by Ferenc Török and based on the 2004 short story Homecoming by Gábor T. Szántó, the Hungarian film stars Péter Rudolf, Bence Tasnádi, Tamás Szabó Kimmel, Dóra Sztarenki, Ági Szirtes, József Szarvas, Eszter Nagy-Kálózy, Iván Angelus, Marcell Nagy, István Znamenák, and Sándor Terhes. The return of two Orthodox men–Hermann Sámuel (Angelus)…

"1945: What Happens When The Jews Come Back?"

Geostorm: A Suspenseful Political Thriller, Not A Disaster Movie

Geostorm, directed by Independence Day‘s Dean Devlin in his feature directorial debut, doesn’t give us the disaster movie that we wanted it to be. Devlin directed from a script he co-wrote with Paul Guyot.  The fillm stars Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Daniel Wu, Eugenio Derbez, with Ed Harris and Andy Garcia. What we got from the film is a suspenseful political thriller mixed in with some natural disasters, and two…

"Geostorm: A Suspenseful Political Thriller, Not A Disaster Movie"

Chicago Film Festival: Joe Swanberg’s Closing Keynote Session

Chicago filmmaker Joe Swanberg sat one-one-one with Anthony Kaufman of the Chicago International Film Festival as Industry Days headed towards a close. Swanberg had stepped in to replace Marc Evans, the President of the Motion Picture Group at Paramount Pictures., after it was announced that Evans would be stepping down by the end of the year. On producing a series for Netflix, Swanberg said that he missed the test screenings that came with releasing new films.  Those…

"Chicago Film Festival: Joe Swanberg’s Closing Keynote Session"

Chicago Film Festival: Ali’s Wedding

Although it means well, Ali’s Wedding is one of the weaker films selected for the two-week festival. Directed by Jeffrey Walker from a script he co-wrote with Osamah Sami, the film stars Sami, Helana Sawires, Don Hany, and Ryan Corr. The film is based on a true story and after watching the large majority of the film (it wasn’t offered as a screener link, only a P&I screening), it may have been for the best…

"Chicago Film Festival: Ali’s Wedding"

Only the Brave: A Heroic Firefighting Tale

Only the Brave tells the powerful and true story of the heroic Granite Mountain Hotshots. Directed by Joseph Kosinski from a screenplay written by Ken Nolan and Eric Warren Singer, the film stars Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, James Badge Dale, with Taylor Kitsch and Jennifer Connelly. It was based on the GQ Article “No Exit” written by Sean Flynn.  Josh Hopkins makes a quick cameo in the film. When most of us would run away from a fire,…

"Only the Brave: A Heroic Firefighting Tale"

And Then There Was Eve was Worth the Wait

And Then There Was Eve is one of the rare films that places the spotlight on a transgender actress in a leading role. Much credit should to go to director Savannah Bloch, who co-wrote the screenplay with Colette Freedman, for being adamant that a trans woman was cast as Eve rather than following the Hollywood trend of casting cis males as trans woman. Rachel Crowl shines in her role as jazz pianist Eve.  It’s one of…

"And Then There Was Eve was Worth the Wait"

Meagan Keane talks editing product Adobe Premiere Pro

Meagan Keane, the Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe, took some time in early October to talk with Solzy at the Movies about Adobe’s newest product, Premiere Pro CC. Thanks for joining Solzy at the Movies. How are things treating you? Meagan Keane:  Post TiFF for me (and the Digital Video & Audio team at Adobe) was a whirlwind as we went straight into a huge feature reveal and our biggest international broadcast trade show…

"Meagan Keane talks editing product Adobe Premiere Pro"