MOVIE CLASSROOM: Baywatch

Too busy heading to the beach over the holiday weekend to read a lengthy review?  Listen and watch instead in under 8 minutes.  Next up in my "Movie Classroom" video series on the Every Movie Has a Lesson YouTube channel is Baywatch where I heap praise on all things jiggle, sizzle, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

MOVIE REVIEW: Baywatch

Contrary to how well the Mythbusters pulled it off, you can't shine sh-t, not turds of the TV or film variety.  Terrible TV shows make terrible movies.  Asking for anything more is asking too much, and there's nothing wrong with that.  All of the zing and jiggle audiences enjoyed in eleven seasons and 242 episodes of Baywatch get the amplified and gaudy movie treatment an entertaining guilty pleasure deserves.  Enjoy what you enjoy and don't be ashamed of it.

CAPSULE REVIEWS: Short films of the 5th Chicago Critics Film Festival

Over 40 feature-length and short films, many of which making their Chicago premieres, graced the main screen of the Music Box Theatre this past week-and-change as part of the fifth annual Chicago Critics Film Festival.  It was an honor and pleasure to be be granted press credentials to cover the event.  Here are my collected capsule reviews of the short film programs.

CAPSULE REVIEWS: Feature films of the 5th Chicago Critics Film Festival

Over 40 feature-length and short films, many of which making their Chicago premieres, graced the main screen of the Music Box Theatre this past week-and-change as part of the fifth annual Chicago Critics Film Festival.  It was an honor and pleasure to be be granted press credentials to cover the event.  Here are my collected capsule reviews of the feature-length films.

MOVIE CLASSROOM: Alien: Covenant

Are my reviews too long to read?  Do you want something you can watch or listen to instead?  Check out my "Movie Classroom" video series.  Hot off the processor, here's my second and newest whiteboard video version of my complete movie review of Alien: Covenant on the Every Movie Has a Lesso YouTube channel!  Like and subscribe!  

MOVIE CLASSROOM: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

THEY'RE BACK! I've been meaning to fire up my "Movie Classroom" series again after a few years off.  Enjoy my YouTube review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2!  I've improved the tech/apps used to build them.  Give me a few films and tries to get my voice and cadence together!

MOVIE REVIEW: Alien: Covenant

Designed by H.R. Giger and manifested by Oscar-winning special effects puppetry, the unforgettable xenomorph creature that debuted in 1979’s Alien lunged with more menace than suddenness.  The acid-dripping extraterrestrial was an overpowering stalker.  Fast-forward 38 years to Alien: Covenant, and the CGI-boosted effects capable today have accelerated the monster’s lethal velocity to an unhinged and downright bonkers level.  Let me tell you, that’s a dandy of a jolt.

MEDIA APPEARANCE: Guest on YPA Reviews' "The Cinephrauds"

Mike Crowley's YPA Reviews was soliciting for participants and topics for a video series of discussions highlighting guest-chosen overrated films, performers, and filmmakers.  I nominated myself and the highly regarded auteur of Terrence Malick and a meeting and a rant on camera was born.  Enjoy both the refined and uncut versions of our enlivened talk below!

GUEST CRITIC #24: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Steve Clifton acknowledges that his relevance in today's culture is barely recognized.  I'm right there with him, but, both he and I continue to pretend people like us.   Maybe you will too.  The film critic of Popcorn Confessional and regular columnist Feelin' Film is my latest GUEST CRITIC reviewing "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword."

GUEST CRITIC #23: Snatched

For his debut GUEST CRITIC appearance on Every Movie Has a Lesson, please welcome Steve Pulaski, a fellow member of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle.  This young man has been a film critic since 2009, self-taught and reviewing films throughout his academic career.  Steve Pulaski currently writes for his personal forum, The Steve Pulaski Message Board, as well as Influx Magazine, where he serves as the lead film critic of the website.  The guy cranks out 300 reviews a year, which is an insane pace and triple what I do over here in the same amount of time.

SHORT FILM REVIEW: Jack & Amelia

The key strength of “Jack and Amelia” is the focused narrative that sketches a telling and accurate microcosm example of Chicago.  It blends lifestyles for people feeling the city’s stresses in their own unique ways.  Just when you think you these four central characters are random and will stay random, the short-order shifts and twists of “Jack and Amelia” push their destinies forward in engaging and cunning ways.  This really was a blossoming treat.

MOVIE REVIEW: The Dinner


More often than not, the label of “private family matter” spells doom and gloom.  A good time is not going to be had.  That’s the unfortunate impetus that brings two disunified brothers and their wives together for “The Dinner.”  Compressing layers of familial discontent and rancor thinly-masked by the repulsive worst of white privilege, the tightly-wound urgency and shattering purpose of this titular meeting reveals itself over the film’s two hours.

MOVIE REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2” is an brazen explosion of Crayola-sheened special effects wonder mixed with invisible grays of magnetic character growth and depth.  Just as with the first film, Marvel and company have taken a D-list roster of obscure also-rans and created new superstars and household names that you actually care about.  True to the unwritten rules of sequels, the core is bolstered and improvements have been made.

MOVIE REVIEW: Love, Lies

“Love, Lies” plays upon the decaying dichotomy orbiting the two women as they vie for love and validation against dignity and betrayal.  It’s impossible not to feel the emotions imbued into the punctuating moments of expression through song that fully embody the conflict and romantic encumbrances weighing on the characters.  The music is the vital and resonating fiber that unites the period atmosphere with the stirring portrayals of talent.

MOVIE REVIEW: My Egg Boy

The trappings of “My Egg Boy” are firmly entrenched in melodrama, yet kissed with delightful fancy.  The strength is in the dynamic writing to weave practical magic with fertile imagination.  The romantic and symbolistic peaks and valleys built by Tien-Yu Fu are endlessly relatable even when characterized.  What begins as whimsy evolves quite affectingly to something rapturously heartfelt.

MOVIE REVIEW: The Circle

100% of you right now are reading this review via the internet on either a computer or a mobile device.  Like it or not, you and I leave digital footprints everywhere we go.  The new pseudo-dystopian thriller “The Circle” incites the over-obvious social media and data-mining fears of our present surveillance society of sharing and shines them up into a shiny and engrossing yarn of mainstream entertainment.  Fiction or not, it’s the kind of film that may or may not irk you enough to take that Facebook sabbatical you keep saying you’ll do.

MOVIE REVIEW: Sand Castle

Wars transform the soldiers that participate in them.  Men and women in combat can be broken down, built up, or both in positive and negative ways.  Because the young tend to serve, their stories, and the films that tell them, can mirror a late-term version of the “coming-of-age” archetype.  The fingerprints of forced maturity appear all over the likes of “The Deer Hunter,” “Platoon,” “Jarhead,” and dozens of other films.  In all honesty, the trope is overused and over-familiar and that’s the first mistake of “Sand Castle.”

MOVIE REVIEW: The Sex Addict

“The Sex Addict” is tailor-made to serve comedy fans that soak up humor akin to “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation.”  The humor is naturally vulgar and dark, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.  The crowd that will be repulsed can be replaced by those rolling on the floor laughing.  “The Sex Addict” is a ways away from the supreme mockumentary exemplars of Christopher Guest, but that’s the perfect plane for Amir Mo and company to aspire to.