Posts in CAPSULE REVIEW
CAPSULE REVIEWS: Feature films of the first ever Rom Com Fest

Founded by entrepreneur and romantic comedy connoisseur Miraya Berke, the goal is celebrating the joy to be had and the art on display in this undervalued film genre. I think this is a smashing idea for a festival and I jumped at the chance to offer some remote coverage for its five-film competition slate. Compiled below are my capsule reviews for the movies I viewed in order from highest to lowest recommendation:

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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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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: Minisode podcast guest for "Feelin' Film" to review "Searching"

If you follow my social media shingles, you know I can't stop and won't stop stumping for this film.  Searching is an incredible combination of innovative filmmaking, anxiety-inducing thrills, emotionally complex characters, and relevant commentary on the internet as both a danger and potential tool for good. Feelin' Film co-creator Aaron White and I were both floored by writer/director Aneesh Chaganty’s debut feature film and John Cho’s performance in it, so we sat down for a conversation about what makes the film so special.  Enjoy this excellent conversation with all the feels and kudos!

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Minisode podcast guest for "Feelin' Film" to review "Eighth Grade"

Host Aaron White of the Feelin' Film podcast brought me in for a chat about rookie director Bo Burnham’s new feature film Eighth Grade. The film is currently generating a lot of buzz and most everyone who has seen this darling indie has loved it - us included. You can count on it making our year-end list conversations.  Director/Writer Bo Burnham is most known for his stage comedy routines so humor was definitely a big part of the film, but it has an amazing amount of heart and life lessons (my favorite) for us to discuss, as well.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Minisode podcast guest for "Feelin' Film" to review "First Reformed"

Friend-of-the-page and always the supportive collaborator, Aaron White of the Feelin' Film podcast exited his advance screening of Paul Schrader's First Reformed in need of a therapy session to exhale and unpack the heavy film.  I had the same challenge.  Combining forces, we jump on the mic to talk through what we just saw. First Reformed hit us hard with its intellectually profound script regarding matters of faith and environmentalism, providing plenty of questions and few answers. One of the strengths of the film is its ability to be a powerful conversation-starter, and this episode is proof of that.

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CAPSULE REVIEWS: Feature films of the 6th Chicago Critics Film Festival

UPDATED: Found within are my capsule reviews of the feature films and documentaries covered by Every Movie Has a Lesson from this year’s 6th Chicago Critics Film Festival.  This post will be updated as new films are reviewed are completed, so be sure to bookmark this and come back each day as new offerings arrive.  Build your 2018 hidden gem list and see you at the Music Box Theatre in Lakeview!

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CAPSULE REVIEWS: 13th Beloit International Film Festival

Now entering its thirteenth year, the Beloit International Film Festival, hosted across the “Cheddar Curtain” border in Wisconsin, is no slouch of a gathering for film lovers.  For ten days, the organizers, backers, and lucky audience members have the pleasure of discovering over 100 national and international films of all genres.  The visiting filmmakers are welcomed by full venues and eager audiences looking to share the love of independent filmmaking.  I honored to have absentee press access to the BIFF and it’s my pleasure to share reviews of its highlighted films.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Guest on the"Page 2 Screen" podcast reviewing the 2018 Oscar-nominated shorts

Together at The Century Bar of the Landmark Century Centre Cinema, fellow CIFCC critic Jeff York and I critiqued the ten short films nominated for the 90th Academy Awards for Best Live Action Short Film and Best Animated Short on the "Page 2 Screen" bost on the International Screenwriters' Association network.  Both categories of contenders boasted impressive range and buried treasure.  Enjoy our reviews and discussion!

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REVIEW COLLECTION: The Oscar nominees for Best Animated Short Film

Here are my collected reviews for the Oscar nominees for Best Animated Short Film.  Listed in order of rating and true to my website’s hook, each review includes a life lesson takeaway.  A collected program of these films is available from various theater chains, including the Landmark Cinemas locations here in Chicago, starting on February 9th.  In 90 minutes-and-change, you get five exceptional works for one ticket.  Calling all Oscar completists!

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CAPSULE REVIEWS: Playing catch-up on December awards contenders

Though the day job work was no longer in the way, good times with family and friends was the better thing to do than lock myself in a room on a laptop and write.  Three of these films are cracking my Top 20 of 2017 and possibly even my final “10 Best” list.  A year-end bang like that deserves to be talked about, and I couldn’t keep sitting on them without getting something out to you.  To get the good word out there, here are some quick hot take capsules of the films with full reviews in the works.

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CAPSULE REVIEWS: The 53rd Chicago International Film Festival

The 53rd Chicago International FIlm Festival brings over 1,000 films of all genres and sizes to our fair city.  There are premieres aplenty, between those making their world, North American, or Chicago debuts.  Opening with a red carpet premiere of Marshall, peaking with the centerpiece of Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, and closing with the Oscar contender The Shape of Water from Guillermo del Toro, the 53rd CIFF fills the AMC River East 21 for two weeks.  For the fourth year in a row, Every Movie Has a Lesson has been granted press credentials to cover the CIFF and here are my capsule reviews.

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CAPSULE REVIEWS: The third annual Irish American Movie Hooley

The third annual Irish American Movie Hooley is happening this weekend at the Gene Siskel Film Center from September 29-October 1st.  This very writer and website was both lucky and honored to cover this event last year and has again been granted coverage access this year.  The event is comprised of three feature films, two of which are directorial debuts, all of whom are making their Chicago premieres.  Here are my capsule reviews of the three films.  Get your Irish on at the Siskel Film Center this weekend!

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Reviewing "Baywatch" on Super News Live from Creators Media

I was invited to be a contributor on their weekly Super News Live program on Facebook.  The page has a whopping 474,000+ likes!  One of their new segments collects quick reviews and hot takes of current new film releases from site contributors like myself.  Check out your boy batting second in this video talking Baywatch.

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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.

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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.

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: More Than a Barbershop

2017 Chicago Irish Film Festival: Shorts Program II

In the world of poker, they say all you need is a chip and a chair to play and be a factor.  For a musician, all you need is a time and a place.  Your voice and instruments can do the rest.  Not every concert needs to be in front of hundreds or thousands of adoring fans powered by a stadium’s worth of light and speakers.  A singer and a microphone can fit just about anywhere.  Well, how about a barbershop, and not the quartet variety?

 

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: Blackbird

2017 Chicago Irish Film Festival: Shorts Program I

Diverting from the other short films in this program at the Chicago Irish Film Festival, “Blackbird” leans to the existential and experimental.  The abstract feel and weighty themes are in place to knock one’s socks off.  However, in an ironic fashion, this is a short film that feels too short.

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