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‘The Last Right’ probes dignity in living and dying

When it comes to doing right by someone in need, it should generally be fairly easy to determine what to do. Showing compassion and lending a helping hand are practices that come naturally to many of us. But how far should we go with this? What if we’re presented with a sizable request for assistance, one that could easily place quite a burden on us in our attempt at being a Good Samaritan?

2022-01-19T14:25:58+00:00December 17th, 2021|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Drama, Foreign, Movie Reviews|

Wrapping up the Chicago Film Festival

One of the great joys of reviewing movies is the opportunity to attend film festivals. They offer moviegoers a chance to see multiple offerings in myriad genres from countries all over the globe, featuring everything from little-known independent productions to Hollywood blockbusters. And so it is with my hometown event, the Chicago International Film Festival, which just recently completed its 55th edition. The Chicago festival just keeps getting better and better every year. I’ve attended many of the festivals over the past 40 years (I started attending when I was 2…), and I’ve seen vast improvements in programming and staging in that time, efforts that have truly made this a world class event. Over 12 days, I screened 15 films, [...]

2019-12-17T18:21:13+00:00October 30th, 2019|Movie Reviews|

‘American Empire’ takes a critical look at what has value

“The Fall of the American Empire” (“La chute de l’empire américain”) (2018 production, 2019 release). Cast: Alexandre Landry, Maripier Morin, Rémy Girard, Maxim Roy, Louis Morissette, Florence Longpré, Patrick Emmanuel Abellard, Pierre Curzi, Vincent Leclerc, Eddy King, Anoulith Sintharaphone, Ayana O’Shun, Kémy St-Eloy. Director: Denys Arcand. Screenplay: Denys Arcand. Web site. Trailer. We all have our priorities when it comes to determining what we believe has value. But what exactly are those determinations based on? Do they arise from rigorously scrutinized considerations, or do they stem from arbitrary, capricious, cursory examinations? Are they decided upon by consensus, or do they vary from one individual to another? And are they fixed or flexible, changeable as needs arise or forever rigid? Those [...]

2019-07-17T23:00:43+00:00June 18th, 2019|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Drama, Movie Reviews|

‘The Trouble with You’ asks, ‘how far must we go to make amends?’

“The Trouble with You” (“En liberté!”) (2018). Cast: Adèle Haenel, Pio Marmaï, Audrey Tautou, Vincent Elbaz, Damien Bonnard, Hocine Choutri, Octave Bossuet. Director: Pierre Salvadori. Screenplay: Benjamin Charbit, Benoît Graffin and Pierre Salvadori. Web site. Trailer. How far are we willing to go to make amends? To be sure, many of us justifiably feel compelled to right our wrongs, often with good reason. But, when it comes to compensating for the misdeeds of others for whom we feel responsible, how long must we leave ourselves on the hook, if at all? That’s a conundrum faced by a noble public servant with good intentions – and not always the best results – in the wacky new French farce, “The Trouble with [...]

2019-05-26T21:55:27+00:00April 23rd, 2019|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Movie Reviews|

‘BlacKkKlansman’ explores creative justice

“BlacKkKlansman” (2018). Cast: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, Ryan Eggold, Alec Baldwin, Harry Belafonte, Michael Joseph Buscemi, Robert John Burke, Ken Garito, Jasper Pääkkönen, Paul Walter Hauser, Ashlie Atkinson, Frederick Weller, Corey Hawkins, Nicholas Turturro. Director: Spike Lee. Screenplay: Charlie Wachtell, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee. Book: Ron Stallworth, Black Klansman. Web site. Trailer. Bringing hateful practices to light takes guts. Sometimes it also takes creativity, especially when those vile matters are carefully hidden or carried out by those who operate in the shadows. But, when courage and innovation successfully join forces, the ugly truth can be exposed for all to see, drawing attention to the detestable nature of these concerns, a notion explored [...]

2018-10-26T08:59:27+00:00August 20th, 2018|Drama, Movie Reviews|
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