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‘Honk for Jesus’ satirizes a fool’s pursuit

Sometimes, no matter how sincere we may appear in taking on a cherished task, we might easily come across looking like buffoons – and not even realize it. Yet somehow we saunter on, striving to reach our goals, despite the obstacles and the odds being innately stacked against us. So what will become of such fool’s pursuits?

2022-09-11T19:41:48+00:00September 11th, 2022|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Featured Post, Movie Reviews|

‘Official Competition’ wrangles with rivalry, self-deception

To thine own self be true. It’s solid, sage advice we’d all be wise to heed, especially if we lose sight of it and fall prey to the perils of self-deception, something that can get us into trouble with both ourselves and others. Yet it’s astounding how often we ignore this wisdom and stray off into dangerous territory, full of pitfalls with serious consequences.

2022-08-01T11:32:46+00:00July 10th, 2022|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Foreign, Movie Reviews|

Wrapping Up the 2020 Chicago Film Festival

The Chicago International Film Festival recently completed its 2020 edition in its first-ever all-virtual format. With moviehouses just now beginning to reopen due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this alternative approach made it possible for the Festival to go forward, and it worked remarkably well, enabling viewers to screen a variety of films while remaining safe at home or in the comfort of their vehicles at its drive-in performances. As has been the case with other such events this year, this is a viable approach well worth considering for future programs, even without the threat of a pandemic. It makes it possible to offer the Festival’s films to a wider audience and provides flexible viewing conditions, benefits not necessarily available when presented [...]

2020-12-12T01:17:22+00:00October 26th, 2020|Movie Reviews|

Wrapping Up Reeling

Reeling 38, Chicago’s International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, recently completed its 2020 edition in its first-ever all-virtual format. With movie houses just now beginning to reopen due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this alternative approach made it possible for the festival to go forward, and it worked remarkably well, enabling viewers to screen a variety of films while remaining safe at home. In fact, in some ways, this is a viable approach well worth considering for future events, one that makes it possible to offer the festival’s films to a wider audience and providing flexible viewing conditions, benefits not necessarily available when presented in theatrical venues. Because of this new format, I was able to screen a greater number of films than [...]

2020-11-12T06:42:42+00:00October 7th, 2020|Movie Reviews|

‘Bare Necessity’ inspires us to strip away the clutter

“The Bare Necessity” (“Perdrix”) (2019 production, 2020 release). Cast: Swann Arlaud, Maud Wyler, Fanny Ardant, Nicolas Maury, Patience Munchenbach, Alexandre Steiger, Bastiste Kerroué. Director: Erwan Le Duc. Screenplay: Erwan Le Duc. Web site. Trailer. How often have you wanted to rid yourself of the unnecessary elements of your life, removing the clutter and seriously focusing only on what’s most important? Like cleaning an overstuffed closet, it’s something many of us say we have to get around to doing one day but somehow don’t manage to find the time – that is, until our hand is forced and we have to do it out of necessity. Wouldn’t it be easier if we made peace with the idea and just went ahead with [...]

2020-10-12T20:32:22+00:00September 11th, 2020|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Movie Reviews, Romance|

‘The Report’ chronicles the heroic pursuit of an ugly truth

“The Report” (2019). Cast: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Corey Stoll, Jon Hamm, Maura Tierney, Michael C. Hall, Tim Blake Nelson, Linda Powell, Victor Slezak, Scott Shepherd, John Rothman, Ted Levine, Douglas Hodge, T. Ryder Smith, Fajer Kaisi, Zuhdi Boueri, Ratnesh Dubey, Carlos Gómez, Pun Bandhu, Joanne Tucker, Ian Blackman, Damian Fumusa, Joseph Siravo, Jennifer Morrison, Alexander Chaplin, Evander Duck Jr., Matthew Rhys. Archive Footage: Barack Obama, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, John McCain, John Kerry. Director: Scott Z. Burns. Screenplay: Scott Z. Burns. Story: Katherine Eban, “Rohrschach and Awe,” Vanity Fair magazine, July 2007 (uncredited). Web site. Trailer. Exposing a painful truth is never easy. That’s especially the case when those who have much to lose hinder the process by nefariously [...]

2020-01-16T11:18:15+00:00December 15th, 2019|Conscious Creation, Drama, 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|

‘The Old Man & the Gun’ celebrates life, vitality

“The Old Man & the Gun” (2018). Cast: Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, Tika Sumpter, Ari Elizabeth Johnson, Teagan Johnson, Gene Jones, John David Washington, Elisabeth Moss, Keith Carradine, Robert Longstreet. Director: David Lowery. Screenplay: David Lowery. Story Source: David Grann, “The Old Man and the Gun,” New Yorker magazine. Web site. Trailer. What gives us personal satisfaction? That’s something many of us chase down throughout our lives, and some of us are fortunate enough to find it. But is this a quest we should pursue at any cost, especially if the goals are dubious? That’s a question posed in the new, fact-based biopic, “The Old Man & the Gun.” Septuagenarian Forrest Tucker (not the [...]

2018-11-24T14:20:35+00:00October 26th, 2018|Conscious Creation, Drama, Movie Reviews|

Personal reinvention probed in ‘He Won’t Get Far on Foot’

“Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot” (2018). Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Jack Black, Rooney Mara, Carrie Brownstein, Tony Greenhand, Beth Ditto, Mark Webber, Ronnie Adrian, Kim Gordon, Udo Kier. Director: Gus Van Sant. Screenplay: Gus Van Sant. Story: John Callahan, Gus Van Sant, Jack Gibson and William Andrew Eatman. Book: John Callahan, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot. Web site. Trailer. We’ve all heard about the metaphorical notion of making lemonade when life unexpectedly hands us those tart little yellow orbs. The process is seldom easy, either, particularly when we’re deluged with vast quantities of lemons or when their juices are especially sour. But it’s indeed possible to turn things around, provided we apply ourselves [...]

2018-09-25T08:59:02+00:00August 6th, 2018|Conscious Creation, Drama, Movie Reviews|

‘Neighbor’ showcases the spirit of kindness and compassion

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (2018). Cast: Interview Footage: Joanne Rogers, James Rogers, John Rogers, François Scarborough Clemmons, Yo-Yo Ma, Elizabeth Seamans, Margy Whitmer, Davis Newell, Joe Negri. Archive Footage: Fred Rogers, Robert Kennedy, Tom Snyder, Christa McAuliffe, John O. Pastore, Betty Aberlin. Director: Morgan Neville. Web site. Trailer. Showing a little kindness goes a long way, especially to those in need of compassion, nurturing and support. This is particularly true when it comes to young ones, who often struggle with the fundamental task of trying to understand how the world works, an increasingly challenging task in an ever-more complicated reality. For 30 years, an unlikely television personality undertook that very task, giving attention, encouragement, wisdom and support to those [...]

2018-06-27T17:52:11+00:00June 14th, 2018|Conscious Creation, Documentary, Movie Reviews|
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