Posts tagged Music Box Theatre
VINTAGE REVIEW: The Astrologer

In a reversal of this practical parable’s usual cadence, one man’s treasure is another man’s trash.  This is where the tastes, descriptions, and comparisons begin for 1975’s The Astrologer.   A young man named Craig Denney set out to direct and star is his own feature film to break into stardom.  It was a passion project of sorts derailed by a backstory of avoidable failure.  Along the same lines as trash versus treasure, one filmmaker’s passion project is another man’s vanity film.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Guest on the "Page 2 Screen" podcast talking 20 years of "L.A. Confidential"

 I joined Jeff York recently as his guest for a special 20th-anniversary 35mm screening of 1997's Oscar-winning L.A. Confidential at the storied Music Box Theatre as part of the Noir City Chicago Festival.  As an added treat, author James Ellroy was in the house to kick things off with an expletive-laden bang.  After the screening, he and I hunkered down in Frio Gelato near the theatre to share our admiration and examination of Curtis Hanson's masterpiece.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Little Hours

The phrase “nuns behaving badly” sounds like a bad porno title or a silly hashtag.  Alas, that’s the low-hanging fruit and chicanery afoot in The Little Hours.  Tracing inspiration to a yarn from one of Giovanni Boccaccio’s collected 14th century novellas in The Decameron, the new ensemble film from Jeff Baena wraps it religious habit up with wit, erotica, and practical jokes from Italian prose translated into a modern vernacular.

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MOVIE REVIEW: A Ghost Story

Welcome to the polarizing gamut of engagement, acceptance, and disquiet of A Ghost Story.  This is a wholly original film that takes preparation, patience, absorption, and reflection that some, or even many, may not be ready for.  Presented in the rounded and claustrophobic corners of a centered 1.33:1 aspect ratio, it is safe to say, you will see nothing like this all year and maybe several more.

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MOVIE REVIEW: I, Daniel Blake

I, Daniel Blake is unabashedly a “bleeding heart” film on literal and figurative levels.  If this was a Hollywood film, it would be overrun with shouted speeches and orchestrational swells trying to manufacture emotional peaks.  Fluff like that is unnecessary if you have the right poetic realism,  For Loach, that’s second hand and he picks the right soapbox placement and thickness.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Landline

If the Windy City can show us anything, it’s that die-hard Chicago Cub fans come in all shapes, sizes, and ages.  More so, fans come from different walks of life, waving flags of different colors, including, best of all, the rainbow-colored variety.  “Landline,” from local do-it-all filmmaker Matthew Aaron, is a fun-loving LGBTQ+ comedy merging ardent North Siders with snappy musings on our societal obsessions with technology, all in proximity to the heavenly palace that is Wrigley Field.

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DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You

The adjectives "titan" and "humble" are not commonly found together.  Famed television producer Norman Lear is an iconoclast in every way.  His successful shows and the waves they created are forever chiseled into that industry.  Away from the his seat as a creative czar, the man remained a hard-working and vigilant self-made man of activism and integrity.  In his 90s, Lear has crossed unimaginable measures of impact and history.  The new documentary "Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You" stylishly chronicles his vast contributions.

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DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: Life, Animated

This website has been moralizing for six years now its central message that "every movie has a lesson."  As an educator, it is something that I firmly believe and stand by with every possible film, good or bad.  I don't think, in all of my years of movie-going, I have ever seen a more real, living and breathing example of the power and magic of my website's theme than in the compelling and emotional new documentary "Life, Animated."  A story like this is why I write.  If that message speaks to you, go find "Life, Animated" immediately.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Sunset Song

Beloved in its homeland of Scotland, Lewis Grassic Gibbon's 1932 novel "Sunset Song" is revered for its detailed and poignant tale of peasant life and the place of women during the transitional times of the early 20th century.  The novel has been a long-gestating passion project for highly regarded British filmmaker Terence Davies.  Brought to life with moments of 65mm grandeur, his sumptuously crafted and carefully refined film adaptation is another jewel in the filmmaker's crown, though one not without its source material's difficulties.

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CAPSULE REVIEWS: The 4th Chicago Critics Film Festival

The Chicago Critics Film Festival is currently in action at Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre and runs until May 26th.  The festival offers a selection of films comprised of festival favorites and pre-distribution sneak peeks from around the country and world.  The CCFF is in its fourth year and is programmed by the Chicago Film Critics Association.  I was granted press credentials to cover this year's slate.  With so many pre-release debuts, full reviews for the films often have to be held until their formal release.  In the mean time, check back here to this article for my capsule reviews of what I soak up.  I will update this as I add films this week!

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MOVIE REVIEW: Love

French filmmaker Gaspar Noe's new film, "Love," demands audience acceptance of seeing art in the explicitness of sex.  When you bring up the idea of explicit sex, the immediate label is "pornography."  Lead by trio of unknown leads and shot in exploitative 3D, "Love" is going to have a hard time (go ahead and start inserting "that's what she said" at every opportunity) shaking that label of "pornography" in favor of "art." 

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