The eternal question of “what happens after we die?” is about as enigmatic as the kind of film Clint Eastwood’s latest, “Hereafter,” tries to be. Supernatural? Thriller? Relationship drama? The film will likely defy most audience expectations, so to be helpful, the answer is all of the above, but mostly “c.) relationship drama,” final answer. Eastwood [...]
You’d be hard-pressed to think of a film concept more socially relevant and relatable to 500 million people than a movie about the origins of Facebook. “The Social Network,” however is not some insouciant attempt to capitalize on the world’s most popular social networking site for revenue purposes. It is a loaded drama that unlike [...]
“Brothers” boasts great dramatic prowess and a trio of talented actors in their prime. The only thing missing is originality. The family drama caused by a father leaving his wife and kids as he’s deployed to Afghanistan coupled with the terrors of post-traumatic stress disorder are – – as insensitive as it feels to say [...]
Not often does an Oscar winner for leading actor or actress dominate the entire picture through and through. Everything in “Gandhi” gravitates around Ben Kingsley in the role of a lifetime, or quite simply: the role he was born to play. Mahatma Gandhi’s story is about the power of one influencing the power of millions. [...]
Often times a film lifts its star to new height, but every so often the film is the thing getting lifted by the star. Jeff Bridges’ Oscar-winning performance as raging alcoholic and chain- smoking 57-year-old country singer Bad Blake places the film “Crazy Heart” on his shoulders and creates something compelling out of another film [...]
An indistinctive stew of genres best describes Peter Jackson and Co.’s attempt at adapting the Alice Sebold novel “The Lovely Bones.” Part murder mystery, part family drama and part Salvador Dali painting, the film suffers an epic identity crisis which it hopes to mask by drowning you in evocative symbolism.
25 years after directed the greatest courtroom drama ever made in “12 Angry Men,” acclaimed director Sidney Lumet returns with “The Verdict.” Starring Paul Newman in a performance best described as straight from the core, the film flips the idea of justice on its head and reveals the enduring human spirit that lies within the [...]
Queens are not just characters is period romances. Or fantasy stories. “The Queen” is a fascinating look at a monarch of not only historical fact, but also of a modern world. Played with grace and poise by the great Helen Mirren, Queen Elizabeth II becomes a specimen for our the moviegoer’s microscope rather than remaining [...]
Squarely on the shoulders of Al Pacino rests “Scent of a Woman,” a film of unlikely friendship and moral education spanning an epic 187 minutes. It is film built on memorable quotes and moments from Oscar-winning “One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest” adapter Bo Goldman as well as one unforgettable performance.
It doesn’t seem like a stretch to suggest that America might now be ready to embrace films in the style of India’s Bollywood films. While “Slumdog Millionaire” is far from a Bollywood tragic love story filled with singing and dancing, the way director Danny Boyle will rivet audiences with his film that is authentic to [...]
Boxing, despite the sport’s decline in popularity since the ’80s, has managed to make for some of the best films. Starting with “Rocky” and then films such as “Raging Bull,” boxing has is one of those things that seems to best represent life’s journey and its struggles. There might not be a stronger visual metaphor [...]
With the Oscars now less than 30 days away, I’m dedicating a lot of my archive reviews to some of the big winners. Here’s a film I watched recently, 1981 (1980 calendar year) Best Picture winner Ordinary People. The way “Ordinary People” depicts the family is tough to swallow. Is the Jarrett family really ordinary? [...]
Side Note: Check out the next Julie Powell of Chicago cuisine, my friend Stephanie, and her blog “Stephanie Eats Chicago.” She was featured on WGN Radio this morning, plus if you click you might find pictures of puppies amidst her food-pegs. “Julie & Julia” is not about food so much as it is about setting [...]
If one were taking a course on how to appropriately adapt a novel for the big screen, “Atonement’ would certainly need to be among the required materials. Though I personally have never read McEwan’s novel, the attention to detail that Joe Wright and his team bring to telling this story visually is superb.
“Changeling” reminds me a lot of 1997 thriller “L.A Confidential” in that it deals with police corruption and P.Ds’ frightening level of power. The problem with that is “Changeling” takes place about 25 years earlier — same police department, same problems, different era. It’s unfortunate how incompetent our criminal justice system was and in many [...]