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IT WILL BE CHAOS (2018) review

June 17, 2018



produced by: Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo
directed by: Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo
rated: not rated
runtime: 93 min.
U.S. release date: June 18, 2018 & June 20, 2018 (HBO) 


World Refugee Day is coming up on June 20th and I bet you’re wondering what to do on such an occasion. Don’t worry, I didn’t know it was a thing either, but I was made aware of it after watching the new HBO Documentary “It Will Be Chaos” from husband-and-wife filmmakers Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo, a stirring and harrowing five-year look at the refugee crisis spanning the Mediterranean Sea. The film follows brave asylum seekers from Eritrea and Syria, who have left their war-torn home seeking freedom and safety for themselves and their family. While immersing viewers in their plight, the film also includes Italian locals whose lives have been impacted by the massive influx of immigrant arrivals. These are complex and desperate situations and a film like this is necessary to humanize what we may or may not hear about on the news.  Read more…


INCREDIBLES 2 (2018) review

June 14, 2018



written by: Brad Bird
produced by: John Walker and Nicole Paradis Grindle
directed by: Brad Bird
rated: PG (for action sequences and some brief mild language)
runtime: 118 min.
U.S. release date: June 15, 2018


In the hours leading up to my viewing of “Incredibles 2” I thought of how I felt leading up to my viewing of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”. I wanted another Indiana Jones movie so bad for so long and when a sequel was finally released, I couldn’t help but think of all the adventures we could’ve taken with the character in the nineteen year absence in which we thought it would never happen. I felt the same way in anticipation for the only Pixar sequel I ever wanted, which comes fourteen years after writer/director Brad Bird delivered one of the best superhero movies ever. Absence may make the hard grow fonder, but it can also be frustrating and it’s often impossible to please expectations.  Read more…

OCEAN’S 8 (2018) review

June 9, 2018



written by: Gary Ross and Olivia Milch
produced by: Steven Soderbergh and Susan Ekins
directed by: Gary Ross
rated: PG-13 (for language, drug use, and some suggestive content)
runtime: 110 min.
U.S. release date: June 8, 2018


Remember Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s” trilogy? Warner Bros. Pictures is hoping you do. They’re also hoping you always wondered what those movies would be like if the titular criminal crew were gender-swapped. No, really. What if George Clooney was Sandra Bullock and Brad Pitt was Cate Blanchett? Actually, I’d be open to that and, as it turns out, “Ocean’s Eight”, an attempt at building an expansion off a trilogy of films that were met with random receptions, is fun enough. The non-sequential sequel written by Gary Ross (who also directed) and Olivia Milch, is similar in appropriate ways and different enough in unexpected ways and it works  Read more…

Interview with HEARTS BEAT LOUD co-writer/director Brett Haley

June 8, 2018




Three years ago, I was introduced to the work of filmmaker Brett Haley with his wonderful drama, “I’ll See You in My Dreams“. While, it was not his debut, it did indeed place him firmly on my radar. His follow-up came with last year’s “The Hero” and it did not disappoint. In fact, it offered the same kind of good-hearted, authentic storytelling found in his previous film, populated with characters who are at something of a crossroads in life, which we can all relate to at some point. All of that can also be found in his latest film,”Hearts Beat Loud“, which premiered earlier this year at Sundance and a couple months back at SXSW and opens this Friday in New York and Los Angeles, with a wider release on June 15th. Read more…

CARGO (2018) review

June 3, 2018



written by: Yolanda Ramke
produced by: Russell Ackerman, Kristina Ceyton, Samantha Jennings, Mark Patterson, and John Schoenfelder
directed by: Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke
rated: unrated (features lots of profanity and a decent amount of violence)
runtime: 105 min.
U.S. release date: May 18, 2018 (Exclusively on Netflix)


“Hey mate, just take the two… for her sake.”


Some actors seem content to coast on the goodwill you have toward them thanks to a handful of good performances. Martin Freeman seems like one of those actors who should be in that phase of his career, yet he consistently impresses by taking risks. He could very easily slip into a pattern of playing the put-upon nice guy, but he’s more interested lately in subverting that and allowing the audience to feel a tad uneasy in close quarters with him. Read more…

WHO WE ARE NOW (2018) review

June 2, 2018



written by: Matthew Newton
produced by: Ray Bouderau, Varun Monga and Matthew Newton
directed by: Matthew Newton
rated: unrated
runtime: 95 min.
U.S. release date: May 25, 2018 (limited) and June 1, 2018 (Facets Multimedia, Chicago, IL)


The reason I wanted to see “Who We Are Now” was because Julianne Nicholson has a starring role in it – and, as it turns out, she’s the main reason to see the latest independent film from writer/director Matthew Newton. The typically phenomenal actress is captivating in every frame in this absorbing story that touches on redemption and sacrifice in a sensitive and authentic manner. She’s not the only reason to see this film, since she’s surrounded by a fine cast, all of whom portray complex characters. The appropriately named film is populated by people who seem familiar, people we may know, ones who have difficult choices to make as they come to terms with what has transpired in the past and in the present.  Read more…

FERAL (2018) review

June 1, 2018



written by: Mark Young and Adam Frazier
produced by: Mark Young, Brett Kerr and John Landolfi
directed by: Mark Young
rated: unrated
runtime: 90 min.
U.S. release date: May 25, 2018 (digital/VOD)  & June 8-9, 2018 (midnight at Music Box Theatre, Chicago, IL)


I’ll start off by by saying the only thing “Feral” has going for it can be found in the makeup department and for a horror movie that’s simply not enough – unless it’s a student film, then it’s quite commendable. This movie is co-written and directed by Mark Young, who is not a student nor is this his directorial debut. It is filled with tired cliches of the genre and regenerated characters who are mostly portrayed in a wholly unmemorable manner. There may not be an original or good story in “Feral”, but I’ll give credit to the actor(s) who got made-up as the creepy crawly creatures here as they are the only element of the movie who are quite committed to giving it their all. Read more…