REWIND REVIEW: The Lion King

Anyone who seeks to own this version of The Lion King is doing so with a “how did they do that?” curiosity. The technical brilliance is its biggest selling point. That interest is answered very well by this disc release. Unlike its Pixar and Marvel offerings, Disney compiled a legitimate look into this re-imaginings wholly revolutionary bells and whistles. This movie will look gorgeous on your high-end television at home.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: David Ehrlich's IndieWire Critics Survey on October 14, 2019

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: What is the best 21st Century movie about capitalism and class anxiety?

I gotta say, this topic was much tamer and quite the switch from the dangerous inquiry last week. Every generation and decade has their bumper crop of movies about our American capitalizm. In my lifetime, I point to Wall Street in the 80s and Boiler Room in the 90s. For this century, I went sentimental more than combative. The Big Short was a tempting second place choice.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Lighthouse

Nothing about this place, its natural topography or its man-made constructs, looks, sounds, or feels comely. The disquiet is palpable. All the atmosphere is there in Robert Egger’s torturous and pin-pricking thriller. The unfortunate struggle is that the suspense ends there. There is not enough compelling story, mystery, or perversion to fill or overwhelm this eerie environment. All of the portending, however attuned it is to its sense of art, registers as pretentious.

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FESTIVAL PREVIEW: The 10 best special presentations at the upcoming 55th Chicago International Film Festival

For the 55th year, the excellent and eclectic of national and international cinematic art descends on the Windy City for a fall conclave. The 55th Chicago International Film Festival begins on Wednesday, October 16th with the Opening Night bow of Edward Norton’s period crime drama Motherless Child and continues until October 27th with the Closing Night documentary premiere of The Torch chronicling the life of blues legend Buddy Guy. Norton’s film leads an eleven-day showcase of 21 different themed programs containing over 120 films.

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: Loyalty

As a school teacher by day beyond this role as a film critic, let me say that there can never be enough messages sent about the troubling epidemic of bullying. All are necessary. All are helpful. We need every personal testimonial. We need every pamphlet. We need every artistic measure of expression that can gather attention, provoke thoughts, and change a few hearts. The Chicago-made short film Loyalty from filmmaker Ira Childs is one of those necessary contributions. The short recently played at the 25th Black Harvest Film Festival at the Siskel Center.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Gemini Man

Ang Lee’s new actioner Gemini Man is the cinematic embodiment of the figure of speech “chasing your tail.” A reminder from The Free Dictionary, defines that idiom as “to take action that is ineffectual and does not lead to progress” and “refers to how a dog can exhaust itself by chasing its own tail.” Boy, is that ever this movie. You have a multiple Academy Award-winning filmmaker chasing a technological benchmark that the industry cannot match. And you have a lead actor exhausting himself (and us) literally, instead of just figuratively, chasing his own tail.

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GUEST EDITORIAL: 7 Biographical Movies About Scientists

People find the reading of biographies of some of the most notable individuals in the world interesting. You cannot see what it changes in them until you have sat and read one. The film industry has not fallen short of the same approach to its greatest movie creations. One common category is that of biographies of individuals such as scientists. If you find biographies of scientists interesting, then you cannot miss looking out this list of biographical movies about scientists. 

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: David Ehrlich's IndieWire Critics Survey on October 7, 2019

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: What is the most “dangerous” movie of this century?

I’m not a believer that movies can incite violence, but I am a big believer that they can incite stupidity. Just like the poor fitness and health that comes from when all you eat is garbage, a mind can be trashed the same way. I put the school teacher hat on for my response to this week’s survey question and I don’t care if I get laughed at. Danger to me is seeing the youth of America in my classrooms accepting the Minions as high quality entertainment worth their screen time.

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REWIND REVIEW: Toy Story 4

I should rename this section from “Late Homework Excuse” to “Inciting a School Riot” for my participation with the June release of Toy Story 4. I saw the film early for press, covered a fun family event at Navy Pier, and was very unimpressed by the final product. My review was one of the initial wave of four that broke the Rotten Tomatoes perfect 100% Tomatometer score for the movie. The trolling comments and death threats followed and I wrote about that experience. I didn’t want to be that guy, but I just couldn’t call this sequel worthwhile trying to follow the near-perfection of Toy Story 3.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Guest on the "Kicking the Seat" podcast talking "Joker"

The movie that had everyone talking before its release had four film critics filled with words after its advance press screening. The comic council convened to be dared to love or hate Joker. As always, Ian Simmons leads the Kicking the Seat podcast as myself, David Fowlie of Keeping It Reel and Emmanuel Noisette of E-Man’s Movie Reviews hop into this clown car. The surprise and heat in voices was palpable coming out of that screening. Enjoy this podcast episode!

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INFOGRAPHIC: 9 Lessons We Can Learn on Risk-Taking From Stunt Drivers

The average moviegoer may not know that even stunt drivers have their limits when it comes to risk. For some, this threshold is fire, while for others it could be heights. Knowing when to take risks and when to play it safe is all about knowing your limits. While these fascinating car stunts look great on the big screen, risky driving has serious consequences in the real world. However, taking measured risks in other life situations — like your career — may lead to personal growth and success. We looked to famous stunt drivers and action films to find examples of how risk-taking can be rewarding in the right situation — but never on the road. 

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INFOGRAPHIC: Landmarks Destroyed by Movie Monsters

There’s something so visceral and alluring about the spectacle of it. And it’s that spectacle that Hollywood loves to create for the silver screen over and over again. These monumental destructions then most likely feature in all of the marketing materials too, as there is such an appeal to it. On this theme, Vibrant Doors made these travel posters from landmarks destroyed by movie monsters in a vintage, retro style and I’ve featured them here for you to check out!

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GUEST EDITORIAL: 7 Movies You Might Not Know Were Based on Books

There are so many great movies out there that we all know and love that you’re often sat there at the end wondering where on earth the director go their ideas. Well, to give you some food for thought we’ve tracked down a whole host of timeless classics that were available in book form years before they ever made it to the big screen. Here are a few that will surprise you. 

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GUEST EDITORIAL: 10 Best Movies About Writers

Movies about writers can be really motivating and inspiring if you’re a writer yourself. It’s important to be reminded that others struggle to write and it’s a long process to write something worthy. With that in mind, here are ten movies about writing that are entertaining and offer good lessons about writing that will help motivate and inspire you.

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EDITORIAL: 5 Lessons from Movie Gamblers

“You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em …” Yeah, you’re welcome for the earworm. Who would have thought that a Kenny Rogers song, later turned into a movie, would really provide life lessons? It is just one of many movies about “gamblers” that offer messages beyond laying bets. Of course, those lessons still apply when visiting online sportsbooks and making decisions on wagers. Here are 5 lessons from the top movie gamblers that you can apply to your life in ways that fit you:

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MOVIE REVIEW: Joker

A pungent plethora of hot-button words are being branded into the film flesh of Todd Phillips’ Joker. Be them complementary or damning, they seemingly cannot be rubbed away. An interesting debate to have is classifying which of those fiery adjectives actually talk about the film and not some external controversy, projection, trigger, or angle being spun before Joker even hits public screens. Not to be undone, this writer offers a self-appointed definitive word centered on the movie itself, one that he’s never used in a review in nine years and change. The word is gall.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: David Ehrlich's IndieWire Critics Survey on September 30, 2019

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: What is the best biopic performance of all-time?

After a month off to accomodate the heart of festival season for David Ehrlich, the IndieWire Critics Survey returned this week to point at Renee Zellweger’s raved performance in Judy. The question was posed of what is the best biopic performance of all-time. A year ago, the question of the best biopic movie has been done on this survey (where I picked Raging Bull). For single performance, I went more musical.

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GUEST EDITORIAL: 7 Best Films About the World of Translation

Nowadays, in today’s globalized world, translators are more important than ever before. The experts from The Word Point explain that” Translators are the ones that enhance communication by conveying information accurately from one language to another, thus, eliminating any language barriers that exist across the world. And, unlike computer-generated translations, professional interpreters can provide 100% accurate language translation”.   Although there are very few movies who revolve around this profession, those who do, succeed to perfectly capture the challenges the translators and interpreters face. Here are the 7 best movies about the world of translation and its importance: 

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