Category: Entertainment: Film and TV

"La La Land" is a joy

“La La Land” is a feel-good movie with an idea. The idea is this: Creativity, and a creative approach to life, can help us get through life. The movie is such a rush to watch, though, that this theme never seems overbearing. It’s swept up in all the music, dance and visual energy that’s delighting... Read more »

"Sully" lands safely in American theatres, a solid piece of Hollywood filmmaking

On January 15, 2009, a U.S. Airways pilot named Chesley “Sully” Sullenburger lifted off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport with 155 passengers and crew members aboard his airplane, Flight 1549. Soon after takeoff, over the skies of Manhattan, the airliner was hit by a large group of birds, which caused both of its main engines... Read more »

"Hell or High Water," the new modern Western starring Jeff Bridges, is a helluva good movie

Some movies pull you in at first, but may leave you roaming the recesses of your mind halfway through. Not a film like “Hell or High Water,” the high-voltage, excellent new modern Western starring Jeff Bridges and directed by the 50-year old Englishman David Mackenzie. From the very first frame — you’re inside a fast-moving car,... Read more »

"Café Society," Woody Allen's latest film, is mostly a failure

“Café Society,” the latest film from writer/director Woody Allen, aims for a mixture of romantic comedy and farce. For me, the farce worked splendidly, but sadly it is at most one-quarter of the film. Most of the screen time is occupied with tropes us Allen fans are all too familiar with: young people in gorgeous... Read more »

"Zabriskie Point," 1970 film about youth rebellion, speaks to today's terror-filled news

Art does not provide us with any answers. It only casts a light on our world, and asks questions. This summer, the news of America is filled with stories of violence in our cities, police officers shooting unarmed civilians, and snipers cutting down law enforcement officials. What does film have to say about this kind... Read more »

1972's "The Mechanic," starring Charles Bronson, is one of the best crime films of all time

“The Mechanic,” an action thriller from 1972 starring Charles Bronson, is one of the best crime films Hollywood has ever produced. It is lean and of few words, like Bronson himself. But when it explodes, it explodes. Arthur Bishop, played by Bronson, is a middle-aged hit man, or a “mechanic,” whose life of crime has... Read more »

Woody Allen's "Cassandra's Dream" is a tight thriller well worth your time

“Cassandra’s Dream,” a 2007 dramatic film written and directed by Woody Allen, is a tight, no-nonsense work that grapples with some of life’s essential questions, as Allen’s work often does. It’s one of those movies of his I missed on its initial run. And to be honest, when I borrowed it from the library recently, I... Read more »

"Married to the Mob," starring Michelle Pfeiffer, is a fun 1988 comedy about New York's suburban Mafia

“Married to the Mob,” a 1988 madcap movie about New York’s suburban Mafia, is a perfect film for spring: lighthearted, carefree, it’s a true pleasure, like a dish of Spumoni ice cream on a cool May evening. This fun little movie takes a satirical look at a small collection of Mafioso families, headed by the... Read more »

"Elvis & Nixon": A Surprisingly Dull Biopic Starring Kevin Spacey

“Elvis & Nixon,” the disappointing new biopic from Amazon Studios, starts off with great promise. Over the opening titles, the screen fills with bright, psychedelic colors and patterns, very 1960’s, while the soundtrack blares the funky, soul sound so connected to that era. The film is about a meeting between Elvis Presley and President Richard... Read more »

"In the Shadow of Women" is a highly-satisfactory French film at the Siskel Center

“In the Shadow of Women (L’ombre des Femmes),” is a highly-satisfactory French/Swiss drama currently playing at Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St.  But make no mistake about it: there’s not much in this Paris-based film that hasn’t been done before by other French filmmakers. It’s a film about men and women and... Read more »