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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MOVIE REVIEW: Venom

For the purpose to sell tickets, this proper villain is touted to be an response to the world having enough superheroes. The resulting film debunks its marketing by reducing Venom into a do-gooder and carnival attraction opposite of that claim. Never once does your heart pump a little quicker from tension. Never once do any hairs stand up in fright in the presence of what should be a complete badass. Those deficiencies shouldn’t happen with Venom.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: David Ehrlich's IndieWire Critics Survey on October 1, 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: First Man

Unlike the popular space race films that have come before it, not a millisecond of First Man feels like typical hero worship celebrating astronaut and aeronautical engineer Neil Armstrong.  The music or soundtrack doesn't announce his entrances or achievements. The camera doesn't bathe Armstrong in light and genuflect in his presence to make him seem larger than he really is.  What is not trumpeted as heaps of grandiose praise by Academy Award-winning La La Land director Damien Chazelle is instead honed into a poignant and resolute testament of honor.

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MOVIE REVIEW: A Star is Born

Cooper simmers with swagger before Gaga’s vocal force boils the cauldron over, taking everything to another level.  Songs emerge and what was cauterized by charged passion is now frozen in alluring amazement of the talent on display.  With this fourth version of A Star is Born, you will find yourself captivated watching the expressive performances, both sung and unsung, no matter if it is for an audience of thousands or just merely one.

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EDITORIAL: Four modern movies begging for the MST3K treatment

Watching quality cinema is all well and good, but sometimes a bad movie is even better. Giving a movie the full Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment can be a blast. Now that actually good projectors cost under $500 and are affordable enough for anyone, you can even do it on a big screen right in your home (since heckling in the theater is generally frowned upon). Old movies make great fodder for mockery, but there are movies coming out all the time that strike that perfect balance of patently ridiculous and super fun.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Sisters Brothers

From “spaghetti,” “meat pie” and “ostern” to “curry” and “charro,” there are reasons for the good ole’ U.S. of A. to feel jealous and intrigued to realize that some of the best westerns being made today are coming from foreign directors and sources. After The Salvation, look no further than The Sisters Brothers from French director Jacques Audiard. Call it a “baguette,” “crepe,” or “foie gras” western, but the Rust and Bone and Dheepan filmmaker has genuflected to make a proper addition to this movie discipline.

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CAPSULE REVIEWS: The 4th Irish American Movie Hooley

For the fourth year, the proud national and international efforts of Irish flair and flavor grace the Gene Siskel Film Center in downtown Chicago. With sponsorship led by Slane Irish Whiskey, the Irish American Movie Hooley is a three-night trio of films gracing Chicago screens as a special program. The “party” translation of its title at the forefront. Here are my capsule reviews!

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: David Ehrlich's IndieWire Critics Survey on September 24, 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 60 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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