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A LOVE SONG (2022) review

August 8, 2022


written by: Max Walker-Silverman
produced by: Dan Janvey, Jesse Hope & Max Walker-Silverman
directed by: Max Walker-Silverman
rated: PG (for mild thematic elements)
runtime: 82 min.
U.S. release date: July 29, 2022 (theatrical)


Veteran character actors Dale Dickey and Wes Studi have been in so many movies and television series collectively that it would be safe to assume that they’ve been in the same movie at some point. In fact, a quick IMDb scan shows they were both in “Being Flynn” from 2012, proving that sometimes assumptions lead to the truth. But, rarely have we seen these great actors take center stage and carry a movie and now the American West drama “A Love Song” allows them the chance to do just that. Written, directed, produced, and co-edited by Max Walker-Silverman, making his feature-length directorial debut, who offers the gift of room and space for these two actors as they inhabit lived-in characters that feel authentic and relatable. Read more…

RESURRECTION (2022) review

July 28, 2022


written by: Andrew Semans
produced by: Tory Lenosky, Alex Scharfman, Drew Houpt, Lars Knudsen, Tim Headington & Lia Buman
directed by: Andrew Semans
rated: not rated
runtime: 103 min.
U.S. release date: July 29, 2022 (theatrical) & August 5, 2022 (rental)


“Resurrection” premiered this past January at Sundance and primarily earned buzz because it’s the latest suspense thriller starring Rebecca Hall. If you’re familiar with her work, you’ll know why a new film with her is something film enthusiasts single out. She’s one of the best actresses working today, typically elevating whatever she’s in and it just feels like any latest role is her best performance. That being said, she’s never been in anything quite like this disturbing psychological thriller from writer/director Andrew Semans is unlike anything you’ll see this year, especially the bonkers ending. Read more…

THE GRAY MAN (2022) review

July 25, 2022


written by: Joe Russo, Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
produced by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, Joe Roth, Jeff Kirschenbaum, Mike Larocca, Chris Castaldi & Palak Patel
directed by: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
rated: PG-13 (for intense sequences of strong violence, and strong language)
runtime: 129 min.
U.S. release date: July 22, 2022 (Netflix)


When you think of great action sequences in recent Marvel movies, it’s likely that Anthony and Joe Russo directed them. They helmed the last two “Captain America” movies and the epic one-two punch of the last two “Avengers” movies, so they are well adept when it comes to created kinetic fights and epic battles on screen. While last year’s “Cherry” found them veering into combat PTSD drama territory, resulting in an ugly and unbelievable effort at adapting an autofictional novel, the brothers are taking a stab at adaptation once again with the globe-trotting action flick “The Gray Man”, about a black ops agent on the run from a relentless pursuer, an adaptation of the first novel in a series by writer Mark Greaney. It’s a return to form for the Russos, working once again with a massive budget (at $200 million, reportedly Netflix’s most expensive to date) and if all you want is action then this one’s for you. Read more…

NOPE (2022) review

July 21, 2022


written by: Jordan Peele
produced by: Jordan Peele and Ian Cooper
directed by: Jordan Peele
rated: R (for language throughout and some violence/bloody images)
runtime: 135 min.
U.S. release date: July 22, 2022


Writer/director Jordan Peele’s Oscar-nominated feature debut “Get Out” back in 2017 was a hit with audiences (and most critics), but then many of those viewers were upset when his follow up “Us” in 2019 wasn’t more of the same. Audiences can be so fickle. His response to all that noise is “Nope” a movie designed to be a summer blockbuster hit at a time when such a goal is no sure thing. When a filmmaker has clearly established a unique and different presence in cinema – specifically in the horror genre as Peel arguably has – the only thing viewers should hope for (not “expect”) is something unique and different with each project. Read more…

GONE IN THE NIGHT (2022) review

July 18, 2022


written by: Eli Horowitz and Matthew Derby
produced by: Raphael Margules, J.D. Lifshitz, Shaun Sanghani & Russ Posternak
directed by: Eli Horowitz
rated: R (for language throughout and brief bloody images)
runtime: 90 min.
U.S. release date: July 15. 2022 (theatrical) & August 2, 2022 (VOD)


With “Gone in the Night”, screenwriters Eli Horowitz and Matthew Derby set out to say a few things about the perception of aging within the machinations of a suspenseful yarn. It’s interesting and curious subject matter for a genre that would typically be categorized as a “thriller”, but Horowitz (who also serves as a director) offers something closer to a mystery than a movie that hits the traditional beats of a thriller. Pieces of this odd puzzle slowly fall into place as “Gone in the Night” drops some satisfying albeit relatively predictable revelations as it closes out. It’s a peculiar feature that thankfully is carried by the ever capable hands of its reliable lead. Read more…

THE FORGIVEN (2022) review

July 14, 2022


written by: John Michael McDonagh
produced by: Elizabeth Eves, John Michael McDonagh, Trevor Matthews & Nick Gordon
directed by: John Michael McDonagh
rated: R (for language throughout, drug use, some sexual content and brief violence)
runtime: 117 minutes
U.S. release date: July 1, 2022 (theatrical) and July 15, 2021 (VOD)


John Michael McDonagh’s latest feature is a slow examination of guilt and, as the title suggests, forgiveness. It’s a subject rife with conflict, both for the forgiver and the forgiven. As a writer/director, McDonagh has a record of delivering thoughtful and provocative character studies, often with a relatable albeit acerbic comedic touch, such as “The Guard”, “Calvary” and his last one, the quirky “War on Everyone”. With “The Forgiven”, McDonagh is adapting a 2012 novel from Jeffrey Osborne that follows an elite Western couple who get into an incident while visiting a remote Moroccan location. While the story’s tension doesn’t quite built to a satisfying level, there are still surprises, intriguing personalities, and engaging locations to take in. It’s a story that will find viewers wondering if the protagonist can indeed be forgiven and even if he is, would he be able to truly forgive himself? Read more…

THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER (2022) review

July 12, 2022


written by: Taika Waititi and Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
produced by: Kevin Feige and Brad Winderbaum
directed by: Taika Waititi
rated: Rated PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language, some suggestive material and partial nudity)
runtime: 119 min.
U.S. release date: July 8, 2022


When we last saw Thor it was during the conclusion(s) of “Avengers: Endgame”, when the God of Thunder joined the Guardians of the Galaxy for some space wayfaring after the death of Tony Stark and the retirement of Steve Rogers. Despite the Asgardian being one of the most powerful heroes in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), it became clear in that movie that Thor had an unspoken desire to be surrounded by comrades, especially after the surmounted losses he had experienced. Director Taika Waititi established this in his 2017 hit “Thor: Ragnarok” and he doubles down on that in the fourth entry of this iteration of Odinson called “Thor: Love and Thunder” (because “Thor 4” was too easy). Read more…

APPLES (2020) review

July 1, 2022


written by: Christos Nikou and Stavros Raptis
produced by: Iraklis Mavroeidis, Angelos Venetis, Aris Dagios, Nikos Smpiliris & Christos Nikou
directed by: Christos Nikou
rated: not rated
runtime: 90 minutes
U.S. release date: June 24, 2022 (New York & Los Angeles) & July 1, 2022 (Renaissance Place 5, Chicago, IL) 


Pandemic stories have been showing up in movies well before COVID-19. From zombie apocalypses to a viral outbreaka, they can be expansive thrillers or provocative character studies that find us wondering what we would do in such dire situations. Some of the more fascinating approaches to the subject have been stories in which certain senses such as sight (“Blindness”) or smell (“Perfect Sense”), have mysteriously and randomly disappeared. “Apples” is a Greek production that takes a similar approach, positing what it would be like if humans suddenly started losing their memory. Read more…

Interview with RELATIVE writer/director Michael Glover Smith

June 13, 2022


“Relative” is writer/director Michael Glover Smith’s fourth feature film and it revolves around a family reunion on the northside of Chicago that’s taking place over the course of a long weekend. Once again, Smith shows a knack for bringing authentic and real relationships and personalities to the screen, while managing to tackle the complexities of life with a dash of comedy and poignant drama. Read more…

RELATIVE (2022) review

June 11, 2022


written by: Michael Glover Smith
produced by: Clare Cooney, Aaron Wertheimer, Brian Hieggelke & Jan Hieggelke
directed by: Michael Glover Smith
rated: not rated
runtime: 97 min.
U.S. release date: March 12, 2022 (Gasparilla International Film Festival, Tampa, Florida), June 8, 2022 (Music Box Theatre), June 10, 15 & 16, 2022 (Gene Siskel Film Center) 


For his fourth feature-length film, “Relative”, writer/director Michael Glover Smith hones in closely on one specific family in Chicago, on a specific weekend for a specific occasion. It’s a relatable look at a variety of personalities in that family which will find viewers connecting with certain characters in some way on a personal level or simply recognizing them as someone they know in their life. The four adult children that we get to know here seem uniquely different, but as the story unfolds we see some similarities that become apparent, (although maybe not to the siblings) and see how certain life experiences can form a shared and unexpected connection between family members. Like his previous films, Smith shows a wonderfully astute knack for providing an audience with a look at the varying stages of real relationships, in “Relative” it takes the form of the family dynamic. Read more…