MOVIE REVIEW: Widows

Kicking something flaky and flimsy like Ocean’s 8 to the curb, the Shame and 12 Years a Slave Oscar winner has assembled a dauntless ensemble cast lead by dynamic females. Rooted in the thinly and sinfully fabricated dermal and subcutaneous layers of Chicago, Widows wields an effeminate brawn and sly intelligence working to stoke a masterful slow burn. The film’s bold gravity constricts us wonderfully for one of the most visceral crime films of recent memory and one of the best films of 2018.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: David Ehrlich's IndieWire Critics Survey on November 12, 2018

Notable and notorious IndieWire film critic David Ehrlich recently put out a social media call for film critic peers to join a weekly survey to discuss movie topics, answer questions, and highlight their work.  Representing Every Movie Has a Lesson, I, along with over 50 other emerging and established film critics including some of my fellow Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle members, accepted the invitation to participate.  I'm honored by the opportunity, and I hope my responses are chosen each week.  

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Minisode #55 Minisode podcast guest for "Feelin' Film" to review "A Private War"

A Private War takes Colvin’s words off the page and lets us experience just why her work was so important, making this one of 2018’s most essential films. In this special minisode, Feelin’ Film Aaron White interviews Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award winning director Matthew Heineman about his first narrative feature film, followed by a discussion with yours truly from Every Movie Has a Lesson.

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MOVIE REVIEW: A Private War

The biographical film A Private War is a collection of those slivers, each with increasing sharpness to cut to the core of our moral constitution. Like each year taking its toll on Colvin, A Private War is the kind of movie that wears you down with increasing tension and toll in the effort to move and reforge your empathetic spirit. This is a phenomenal and ferocious lead performance from Rosamund Pike, who deserves the second Oscar nomination of her career for this combination tenacity and honesty.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Outlaw King

Filmmaker David Mackenzie’s strapping Netflix epic Outlaw King starts with prologue notes surrounding the glowing heat of a single candle in close-up. The flickering warmth is inviting and a tone of liberating light coming out of darkness is set to parallel the recreated history that will follow. But how much heat can one candle emit? Try as it may, no matter what measures of warm blood and sweaty brawn is infused into Outlaw King, it is very difficult to find or create sizzle out of something balmy.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: David Ehrlich's IndieWire Critics Survey on November 5, 2018

Notable and notorious IndieWire film critic David Ehrlich recently put out a social media call for film critic peers to join a weekly survey to discuss movie topics, answer questions, and highlight their work.  Representing Every Movie Has a Lesson, I, along with over 50 other emerging and established film critics including some of my fellow Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle members, accepted the invitation to participate.  I'm honored by the opportunity, and I hope my responses are chosen each week.  

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: David Ehrlich's IndieWire Critics Survey on October 29, 2018

Notable and notorious IndieWire film critic David Ehrlich recently put out a social media call for film critic peers to join a weekly survey to discuss movie topics, answer questions, and highlight their work.  Representing Every Movie Has a Lesson, I, along with over 50 other emerging and established film critics including some of my fellow Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle members, accepted the invitation to participate.  I'm honored by the opportunity, and I hope my responses are chosen each week.  

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MOVIE REVIEW: Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody lives and dies through the vitality of its lead performer. Emmy winner Rami Malek gives a smashing performance that should skyrocket him into the Oscar conversation. He and the film thrive when the volume is turned up and the microphones are on. It withers when it stifles that provocative heat. What should and, frankly, deserved to be a line-blurring and envelope-pushing affair of affairs is, to borrow a pair of friends’ terms, “straight-washed” into something “puritanical” instead of free, open, and, most of all, potent. Allowing something this hot to go lukewarm is a cinematic crime.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: David Ehrlich's IndieWire Critics Survey on October 22, 2018

Notable and notorious IndieWire film critic David Ehrlich recently put out a social media call for film critic peers to join a weekly survey to discuss movie topics, answer questions, and highlight their work.  Representing Every Movie Has a Lesson, I, along with over 50 other emerging and established film critics including some of my fellow Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle members, accepted the invitation to participate.  I'm honored by the opportunity, and I hope my responses are chosen each week.  

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MOVIE REVIEW: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a new cornerstone for Melissa McCarthy. If she can continue this maturation and start trading one or two raunchy romps for introspection and challenge like this, she could become the one of the best American actresses of her generation. Watch out. This might just be the second coming of Robin Williams. Add a “yet” in there somewhere if you must, but the potential is real.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Silencio

Within in the 98 minutes of Silencio, this little dual-language flick accomplishes what few high concept indie films have been able to achieve with their wildly audacious ideas. It builds a bridge, not a wide and sturdy one, mind you, but a successful structure nonetheless, from the nonsensical to the profound. That is a normally a huge canyon of belief and consideration to cross.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Oath

Spinning out of a ridiculous-yet-just-plausible-enough premise, Ike Barinholtz and his fellow comedians light a ticking clock fuse towards a powder keg of social commentary dipped in the incendiary gasoline of partisan politics.The result is an entertaining explosion where every tame “bless your heart” or “agree to disagree” pleasantry shared through gritted teeth becomes replaced with “shut the f — k up” shouts and punches to the face. No matter how wrong all of this is, The Oath is a finger-pointing wake-up we could all use.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: David Ehrlich's IndieWire Critics Survey on October 15, 2018

Notable and notorious IndieWire film critic David Ehrlich recently put out a social media call for film critic peers to join a weekly survey to discuss movie topics, answer questions, and highlight their work.  Representing Every Movie Has a Lesson, I, along with over 50 other emerging and established film critics including some of my fellow Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle members, accepted the invitation to participate.  I'm honored by the opportunity, and I hope my responses are chosen each week.  

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CAPSULE REVIEWS: The 54th Chicago International Film Festival

For the fifth year in a row and the fourth with press credentials, I am proud to represent Every Movie Has a Lesson and Medium.com to cover the ambitious slate. No single critic can see it all, but I’ll take my swings to find some buried treasure and films to explore when they come to your city or streaming platforms at home down the road. Here below are my collected capsule reviews from the 54th Chicago International Film Festival, ranked in order of highest to lowest recommendation.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Beautiful Boy

This is not your typical feel-good factory product. Beautiful Boy is bracingly honest with its turns and barriers built by emotional whallup. The remarkable performances of Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet deserve the credit for that impact, fashioning a touchingly stout drama that is braver than most films on the subject. One of the best films you will ever see examining the breadth of drug addiction

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: David Ehrlich's IndieWire Critics Survey on October 8, 2018

Notable and notorious IndieWire film critic David Ehrlich recently put out a social media call for film critic peers to join a weekly survey to discuss movie topics, answer questions, and highlight their work.  Representing Every Movie Has a Lesson, I, along with over 50 other emerging and established film critics including some of my fellow Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle members, accepted the invitation to participate.  I'm honored by the opportunity, and I hope my responses are chosen each week.  

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MOVIE REVIEW: Loving Pablo

The overarching challenge remains making romance out of a villain, enough to soften the depravity of the historical truth. Matching Vallejo’s own findings, Loving Pablo defines that Escobar’s darkness cannot be diluted, making much of this film a difficult and treacherous viewing experience. To its great credit, the merciless edge of Loving Pablo rejects forced cinematic sugar-coating overused in other crime films to romanticize its leviathans.

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

Kicking the Seat’s Ian Simmons sounded the horn and the “comic council” of film critics have convened again! Our heroic dais scratches their heads and wrestles a handicap match with Ruben Fleischer’s Venom. Enjoy myself, Ian, David Fowlie of Keeping it Reel, and Emmanuel Noisette of Eman's Movie Reviews as we step into the black symbiote ink to get dirty with the dirty of Tom Hardy and company. Enjoy our extremely entertaining back-and-forth chat!

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