TIFF 2018: What They Had

Strong performances lift up What They Had as one Chicago family realizes that they must come to a decision on what to do about a loved one’s health. It’s the blistery cold of December when Ruth (Blythe Danner) has wondered off again.  Not knowing where she is, Bert (Robert Forster) calls Nick (Michael Shannon) who in term calls California-based sister Bridget (Hilary Swank).  The next thing we know, Bridget and her daughter, Emma (Taissa Farmiga),…

"TIFF 2018: What They Had"

Fahrenheit 451: A Trump Era Adaptation

Fahrenheit 451 depicts a bleak future in which one can only hope will never come to fruition.  It also feels as if it’s very much made for 2017. This is only the second-ever feature-length adaptation of the classic novel written by Ray Bradbury.  In his novel, Bradbury presented a future where firemen start fires by burning books rather fighting fires.  Moreover, nobody seems to give a regard for either facts or history.  As for the…

"Fahrenheit 451: A Trump Era Adaptation"

Tribeca 2018: State Like Sleep

Led by Katherine Waterston and Michael Shannon’s performances, writer-director Meredith Danluck takes a fascinating approach to grieving by way of State Like Sleep. Katherine Grand (Katherine Waterston) had relocated to the US following the death of her husband, Stefan Delvoe (Michiel Huisman).  One year after the tragedy, Katherine learns that her mother suffered from a stroke.  She flies to Brussels in order to visit her in the hospital.  Because of all that had happened, Katherine…

"Tribeca 2018: State Like Sleep"

12 Strong: Unsung Heroes Get Their Due

Unsung heroes get their due in 12 Strong as another declassified story comes to the screen. Nicolai Fuglsig makes an impressive feature directorial debut by giving audiences a thrilling drama based on the book Horse Soldiers by author Doug Stanton that revisits the beginning years of the War on Terror with soldiers traveling on horseback.  In no easy feat, Ted Tally and Peter Craig adapted the book as a screenplay.  Perhaps because of this, it…

"12 Strong: Unsung Heroes Get Their Due"

Chicago Film Festival: The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water is perhaps the finest film ever to be directed by Guillermo del Toro and actress Sally Hawkins delivers a top-notch performance in the Cold War-set film. With a screenplay co-written by  del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, the film stars Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg and Octavia Spencer. Set in 1962, a classified asset is brought into a government laboratory in Baltimore where Strickland (Shannon) is hellbent…

"Chicago Film Festival: The Shape of Water"