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CLASSICS: The Color of Pomegranates (1969)

August 20, 2019



written by: Sergei Parajanov, based on poems by Sayat Nova
directed by: Sergei Parajanov
rated: unrated
runtime: 79 min.
release date: October 1969 (Armenia) and October 1980 (U.S.)


“We sought asylum for our love, but the road led us out to the land of the dead.”


First things first, before we get started, I must inform you that “The Color of Pomegranates” is not for everyone. It is, however, for anyone that might want to reconsider the notion of what film can be. If you think that cinema exists to tell a multitude of stories in one specific way, that is with a cohesive narrative structure, you’re probably not going to think much of this film. If you’re open to the many possibilities of what a film can be, however, you’ll find much to love in these 79 brisk minutes. Read more…

Interview: THE NIGHTINGALE actress Aisling Franciosi

August 16, 2019


Aisling Franciosi stars in “The Nightingale.” (photo: Deirdre Hayes)


I’m compelled to start off by mentioning that this interview contains spoilers for “The Nightingale” and it would be best to read it after you see it. If that doesn’t deter you, by all means, read on. On that note…if you see the latest film from Australian filmmaker Jennifer Kent (writer/director of “The Babadook”), you will have seen a very special albeit challenging film about the desperate need to hold on to the light during very dark days, something that’s sadly quite relatable. I emphasize “if” because “The Nightingale” will be undoubtedly be a challenge to take in – as witnessed firsthand this past May at the Music Box Theatre where the film screened as part of the Chicago Critics Film Festival, when I witnessed some viewers walk out of the film due to its harrowing and wrenching depiction of violence. That response is understandable, but it’s only after watching Kent’s film in full is it possible to understand that she is aiming at communicating much more than provocative images. Read more…

25 years of the Black Harvest Film Festival

July 31, 2019



Doing anything for 25 years is impressive. You’d know that if you’ve tried it and if you’ve done it, you’d agree that it takes a certain resolve and firm believe in what you’re doing in order to keep at it. It also takes a confidence and passion for what you’re aiming to accomplish. Such is the case with Sergio Mims, a Chicago-based film critic and historian who has been involved in the Black Harvest Film Festival since 1994 which specifically celebrates black cinema, as a co-founder/programmer. I haven’t posted an interview with another film critic here on Keeping It Reel before, but the 25th anniversary of this festival compelled me to approach Mims to discuss his involvement and I honestly feel like we could’ve gone on and on.
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TOY STORY 4 (2019) review

June 22, 2019



written by: Stephany Folsom and Andrew Stanton
produced by: Jonas Rivera and Mark Nielsen
directed by: Joshua Cooley
rated: G
runtime: 100 min.
U.S. release date: June 21, 2019


The talented folks at Pixar Animation have come a long way. The groundbreaking animation in the first “Toy Story” movie looks rudimentary compared to what is presented in “Toy Story 4”, the latest addition to the Disney franchise. Granted, these movies haven’t always been about visual feats, they have clever humor and emotional punch as they touch on topics that range from friendship and purpose to abandonment and mortality. While this funny third sequel touches on some relatable themes, it stands out by adding some fresh weirdness to the franchise, making it one of the oddest entries in the franchise. While no one was asking for another entry, offering something unexpected is a welcome relief considering the sequels currently out in theaters.
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June 17, 2019



written by: Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, Marc Abrams & Derek Kolstad
produced by: Basil Iwanyk and Erica Lee
directed by: Chad Stahelski
rated: R (for pervasive strong violence, and some language)
runtime: 131 min.
U.S. release date: May 17, 2019


“It all started with a puppy….” a character states in the most recent John Wick movie, the bullet-riddled, blood-spattered, marvelously entertaining action series of a hit man coming out of retirement with a vengeance (and the subsequent fallout and consequences). I continue to be impressed with this series not just for its action but its ever-growing story and world-building. Go see John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. If you haven’t seen the first two, what’s wrong with you?!? Go watch them too!

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WALKING ON WATER (2018) review

May 27, 2019



produced by: Izabella Tzenkova and Valeria Giampietro
directed by: Andrey M. Paounov
rated: not rated 
runtime: 105 min.
U.S. release date: May 24, 2019 (limited) 


What has always been most striking about the environmental works of art from Bulgarian artist Christo was how they looked when completed. His art, with wife and collaborator, Jeanne-Claude has always augmented the planet’s landscape in a curious and captivating manner. Whether it was the Running Fence that extended Northern California hills in 1976 or The Gates that weaved through Central Park in New York City in 2005, the couple’s installation projects provided viewers with a different way to view what familiar terrain. However, there has always been the question as to how these works of art were completed and while “Walking on Water” is not the first documentary to chronicle a project of Christo, it is the first one to catch up with artist on a new project, a decade after the death of his wife. Read more…

Interview with SATAN & ADAM director V. Scott Balcerek

May 21, 2019



Apparently I’ve known of Satan and Adam for 31 years and I didn’t even know it. I first heard the blues duo while listening to “Rattle and Hum”, the U2 album that served as a companion album to their 1988 rockumentary of the same name. It turns out they were the blues duo playing “Freedom for My People”, an infectious, soulful romp that seamlessly followed the live gospel version of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, which is where they could be seen in the film as Bono and The Edge stumble upon them playing on the streets of Harlem. I can’t believe I never paid attention to who they were. If I was the U2 fan I’ve always considered myself to be, I would’ve known that Sterling “Mister Satan” Magee and Adam Gussow were known as Satan and Adam, a fixture on the streets of Harlem in the late 80s/early 90s. It wasn’t until I saw the trailer to V. Scott Balcerek’s documentary, “Satan & Adam”, that I finally put a name to a sound.
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