Author Archives: Locke Peterseim

Interview: Maps to the Stars Screenwriter Bruce Wagner

For over two decades, novelist and screenwriter Bruce Wagner–writing from Los Angeles, the epicenter of “corrosive” pop-culture excess–has been using Hollywood and our celebrity culture not so much as satirical grist but as a doorway toward greater spiritual understanding. Think of it as seeking Nirvana by passing through the hottest flames of Kardashian Hell. Wagner’s […]

Interview: Red Army Writer-director Gabe Polsky

These days, Russia and the West seem to be more at odds than any time since the end of the Cold War. Which makes Gabe Polsky’s terrific new documentary Red Army all the more relevant and fascinating. No, it’ not (directly) about the actual Soviet-era military, and yes, it’s about hockey, and no, you don’t need […]

Interview: Black Sea Director Kevin MacDonald

The old saw that January is a new-movie wasteland, a dumping ground for studio rejects and misfires, is slowly eroding. Sure, in January the crap-to-cream ratio is still tilted toward crap, as any scan of the Cineplex marquee attests. But each year there seem to be a few more small, genre gems–well-made little films that probably would […]

My Not-So-Shameful Love of Wahlberg’s The Gambler Remake

Every now and then, killing time before a screening, some of us Chicago critics will try in vain to plan a sort of group Underdog Movie Marathon/Series. (I was going to say “sleepover,” but those implications are too horrifying to comprehend). The idea is that each critic shows a film they genuinely love—not ironically as […]

A Mouse Goes Into the Woods and…

I do struggle with my sometimes unreasonable hatred of Disney. My seething loathing for the Mouse does not come easy. I wrestle, almost daily it seems, with what often feels like an irrational, petty, personally embittered war on a media conglomerate that apparently provides so much happiness, and joy to so many people, including many […]

Interview: The Gambler Director Rupert Wyatt

I went into The Gambler with every bit of trepidation you’re probably feeling right now as you look at that poster: “Eh, Mark Wahlberg? Gambling movie? Remake?” But I found this new version of The Gambler, sharply written by William Monahan (based on James Toback’s original 1974 script) and vividly directed by Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist, […]

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Battle of the Battles for the Battle

Trust me, I well know that books are not movies and movies are not books—I’m fully aware of (and fascinated by) the differences in how the two mediums tell stories and create meaning and experience. And I also know that in this age of Internet tribalism, Hel hath no impotent, squealing fury like a fan […]

Interview: The Imitation Game‘s Writer Graham Moore and Director Morten Tyldum

During World War II, British mathematician Alan Turing and a secret team of cryptologists eventually succeeded in using an early electronic computing machine to crack the seemingly uncrackable German Enigma machine code and help bring the war to a swifter close. In 1952, Turing, his immeasurable contribution to the British war effort still a state […]

Interview: Foxcatcher Director Bennett Miller

Director Bennett Miller has been collecting praise for his smart, restrained film-making since his debut documentary The Cruise in 1998, through his Oscar-nominated Capote in 2005, and 2011’s Moneyball. Miller’s latest film, Foxcatcher (written by E. Max Frye and Capote writer Dan Futterman) is yet another look at real-life characters, this time the Olympic-medal-winning wrestlers, […]

Interview: America the Beautiful 3 Director Darryl Roberts

A couple years ago I spoke with local Chicago documentary film maker Darryl Roberts about his film America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments, the second in his ongoing series about our modern culture’s ideas of and obsession with beauty and our sometimes warped self-images. Roberts’ latest documentary is America the Beautiful 3: The Sexualization […]

“While all the other arts were born naked, [film], the youngest, has been born fully-clothed. It can say everything before it has anything to say. It is as if the savage tribe, instead of finding two bars of iron to play with, had found scattering the seashore fiddles, flutes, saxophones, trumpets, grand pianos by Erhard and Bechstein, and had begun with incredible energy, but without knowing a note of music, to hammer and thump upon them all at the same time.”

--Virginia Woolf
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