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THE GOOD BOSS (2022) review

September 7, 2022


written by: Fernando León de Aranoa
produced by: Fernando León de Aranoa, Jaume Roures and Javier Méndez
directed by: Fernando León de Aranoa
rated: not rated
runtime: 120 min.
U.S. release date: August 26, 2022 (NY/LA) & September 2, 2022 (wide)


If you played a drinking game while watching “The Good Boss” and took a swig each time you hear the word “family”, you’d be quite buzzed by the end of the second half. The word is used so often in this corporate satire from co-writer/director Fernando León de Aranoa, one would think this is a spinoff of the “Fast and Furious” franchise. It appears so much that it loses its meaning, which is kind of the point. “The Good Boss” looks at one particular business owner, corporate culture in general (especially the industrial side), and the business buzzwords that are used ad nauseum to communicate to the various employees underneath management. It may not be a scathing satire, leaning more on humor than it does any noticeable bite and that’s not a bad thing. Read more…

HAPPENING (2021) review

August 31, 2022


written by: Marcia Romano and Audrey Diwan
produced by: Alice Girard and Edouard Weil
directed by: Audrey Diwan
rated: R (or disturbing material/images, sexual content and graphic nudity)
U.S. release date: April 5, 2022 (limited) & June 21, 2022 (digital & VOD)


No one is expecting a film revolving around abortion to be an unflinching and harrowing thriller, but here we are with “Happening”. After premiering last fall at the Venice Film Festival (where it won the Golden Lion award) and making its rounds around the festival circuit, the film from French director Audrey Diwan made its way to more viewers last spring and by and large the vast majority of the response was positive. They aren’t wrong. “Happening” is a challenging albeit absorbing watch, thanks to its powerful, open-eyed lead performance that carries the film with strength and grace, but also it’s eerie prescient timing. Read more…

FUNNY PAGES (2022) review

August 28, 2022


written by: Owen Kline
produced by: Sebastian Bear-McClard, Oscar Boyson, Ronald Bronstein, David Duque-Estrada, Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie
directed by: Owen Kline
rated: R (for crude sexual content, graphic nudity, language and brief violent images)
runtime: 86 min.
U.S. release date: August 26, 2022 (Music Box Theatre, Chicago, IL and VOD)


I wouldn’t really say I felt seen in “Funny Pages”, but the restless aspirations of the protagonist and his place of work feel relatable. As a young artist having grown up frequenting various comic book shops, there is definitely a certain air of familiarity to the film, specifically the “regulars” who inhabit the local comic shop as if they live there. Considering the film’s authentic treatment of the characters and its cinema verité approach to the very specific locations and situations, one can assume writer/director Owen Kline feels this connection as well and his feature-length directorial debut, which premiered at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight last May, winds up being a cringeworthy, dark comedy that is something special to behold. Read more…

MEDUSA (2021) review

August 24, 2022


written by: Anita Rocha da Silveira
produced by: Fernanda Thurann
directed by: Anita Rocha da Silveira
rated: not rated
runtime: 122 min.
U.S. release date: August 12, 2022 (theatrical)


In writer/director Anita Rocha da Silveira’s second feature, “Medusa”, Brazilian women are physically beaten until they pledge their life to Jesus Christ and commit to becoming devoted and virtuous women, submitting themselves to the Lord. So much for free will. Thankfully, this isn’t a documentary, but da Silveira is drawing upon some unnerving real life events from Brazil and there are definitely themes and issues in “Medusa” that feel all too prescient. Read more…

ANONYMOUS CLUB (2021) review

August 15, 2022


written by: Danny Cohen
produced by: Philippa Campey and Samantha Dinning
directed by: Danny Cohen
rated: unrated
runtime: 89 mnin.
U.S. release date: October 12, 2022 (Music Box Theatre, Chicago, IL)


“Anonymous Club” is a documentary that follows Courtney Barnett that began filming four years ago when music video director Danny Cohen tasked the notoriously guarded Australian singer/songwriter to keep an audio diary on an analogue Dictaphone. The goal was to capture unfiltered reflections from Barnett, in particular her own struggles with confidence, self-perception, and the pressures of success. Barnett and Cohen, both based out of Melbourne, already had a working relationship from the many creative music videos they worked on together, but this assignment would be incorporated into his first documentary. It turns out, these audio snippets, are just a small part of this inviting travelogue documentary. Read more…

BULLET TRAIN (2022) review

August 15, 2022


written by: Zak Olkewicz
produced by: Kelly McCormick, David Leitch & Antoine Fuqua
directed by: David Leitch
rated: R (for strong and bloody violence, pervasive language, and brief sexuality)
runtime: 126 min.
U.S. release date: August 5, 2022 (theatrical)


While slowly driving past a movie theater in a Chicago suburbs, one of the movies listed on the marque was, “Brad Pitt”. Now, there is no movie currently out called “Brad Pitt”, but I immediately knew what the theater meant and chuckled. This was not an electronic LED marquee, but rather one of those great old ones in which an employee would come out and use an extension to place each black letter on a white background. Maybe they were all out of the letter “L” to spell, “Bullet Train” the latest movie starring Brad Pitt or maybe the theater just knew that the draw of Brad Pitt is more powerful than a locomotive. Read more…

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…