Category Archives: theatrical

Lost in Movies’ Magical Moments! Or How I Didn’t Spend My Summer

Oh hey, look, it’s officially the end of the summer movie season. I had a half dozen clever ways into this piece, but let’s cut to the chase (scenes, literally): I didn’t write much about this summer’s big blockbuster “air-conditioning-and-popcorn” movies. I didn’t write much about the summer’s small art-house indie films, either, for a […]

Interview: Jurassic World Co-star Omar Sy on His New Film Samba

In just a few years, Omar Sy, a French-born actor of Senegalese descent, has starred in the biggest French film of all time, The Intouchables, won a Best Actor César Award for the role, co-starred in last year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past (as Bishop), and is appearing in what is now the third-biggest (and still climbing) film of all time: Jurassic […]

Where Were Sullen, Bitter, Grumpy, and Cynical in Inside Out?

Growing up, we ‘70s kids had three revolutionary social-emotional concepts rammed down our impressionable youthful minds by pop culture and the public school system (or both, in the case of Sesame Street and the multi-media, post-hippie, self-empowerment Free to Be You and Me): Be yourself, no matter what other people think Nurture and maintain your […]

Tomorrowland: If You Don’t Like This Movie, You’ll Kill Our Future

Disney’s Tomorrowland—directed by Brad Bird, written by Damon Lindelof, and starring George Clooney—is a plea for a New Frontier of imagination; for positivity in the face of seemingly overwhelming negativity, fear, and pessimism. It is that rare giant, tent-pole summer blockbuster that asks—nay, begs—us to set aside the doom and gloom of disaster movies and […]

Our Burning Skull: The Dark, Brutal Ritual of Mad Max: Fury Road

Mention the Movie Summer of ’82 around fan boys of a certain age, and you’ll be met with a mix of ecstatic exhortations and hushed reverence. Quickly someone will begin reciting the litany, the ode to what is considered the Greatest Geek Summer Ever: Blade Runner, E.T., Poltergeist, Conan the Barbarian, Rocky III, Tron, Fast […]

A Furious Affair: My Strange Affection for This Very Strange Franchise

Last year I spent a considerable amount of time, mental energy, and words (so many words) going after big, dumb, bloated, ridiculous action franchises like Transformers and even Guardians of the Galaxy, a film I genuinely enjoy, but can’t help but see in the context of the ever-growing Marvel/Disney Empire that seeks to dominate the […]

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 […]

“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