Chicago Film Fest 2019: The Truth (La Verite)

The Truth (La Verite) features some brilliant acting as director Hirokazu Kore-eda tackles a project that isn’t set in his home country of Japan. The root of the film is the mother-daughter relationship between Fabienne (Catherine Deneuve) and Lumir (Juliette Binoche). Lumir’s relationship with her mom is tenuous at best.  The reason why she’s back in her native France is her mother’s memoir being published.  To say it’s a memoir would also be exaggerating the…

"Chicago Film Fest 2019: The Truth (La Verite)"

Juliet, Naked: A Touching Comedy

Based on the Nick Hornby book, Juliet, Naked is a film that comes off as Apatowian in nature with a overgrown man-child playing a large role at the center of the story. […] Annie (Rose Byrne) has spent the last 15 years wasting her life with her husband, Duncan (Chris O’Dowd), who has been obsessed with rock star Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke).  Duncan, a university lecturer, runs a fan site and has been obsessed with…

"Juliet, Naked: A Touching Comedy"

The King: Elvis Presley’s Life as An American Dream

Writer-director Eugene Jarecki uses journey of Elvis Presley in The King as a way of showing us the rise and fall of the American Dream. It’s an interesting premise.  The King isn’t an outright documentary of Elvis Presley.  There are clips of Elvis as the singer was making his rise.  We get a number of celebrities discussing Elvis while riding in his car.  The film traces us through some of Presley’s locations.  At the center…

"The King: Elvis Presley’s Life as An American Dream"

First Reformed: A Mesmerizing Drama

First Reformed is a mesmerizing drama about a pastor who counsels a husband and wife. Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke), a former Army chaplain, is a pastor at the First Reformed Church in the fictional town of Snowbridge, N.Y.  The Dutch Reform church has grown some fame by having been a station on along the Underground Railround.  However, as the church approaches 250 years, it doesn’t contain the magic that used to be there.  While…

"First Reformed: A Mesmerizing Drama"

CCFF 2018: First Reformed

First Reformed is a mesmerizing drama about a pastor who counsels a husband and wife. Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) is a pastor at the First Reformed Church.  The Dutch Reform church used to be a station on along the Underground Railround but as it approaches 250 years, it doesn’t contain the magic that used to be there.  The congregation is small even as tourists continue to stop by.  This isn’t helped by Abundant Life…

"CCFF 2018: First Reformed"

Tribeca 2018: Stockholm

Stockholm is the film that tells the absurd 1973 story that became the basis for the phrase, “Stockholm Syndrome.” Budreau wisely doesn’t wait around as the film quickly gets right down to business when Lars Nystrom (Ethan Hawke) walks into the Swedish bank.  Lars does so to the tune of a Bob Dylan song.  Lars is very demanding of what the police do.  He wants them to release his best friend, Gunnar Sorensson (Mark Strong), from…

"Tribeca 2018: Stockholm"