Quick Takes – 10.23.11

American Movie (1999) Grade: B | 1st Viewing I’m sure I’m not the only one who was very skeptical about the reality of this documentary during a first viewing. After some research, I will now…

REVIEW: ‘Paranormal Activity 3’ (2011)

Grade: B- Two years ago director Oren Peli’s minimalist horror film Paranormal Activity received a wide release and studios were made aware of something remarkable. The film was made for a meager $11,000 and earned…

REVIEW: ‘Take Shelter’ (2011)

Grade: B+ Curtis LaForche, protagonist of the new film Take Shelter from director Jeff Nichols, would be a sympathetic protestor in the current Occupy Wall Street movement. He is a hard-working father and husband who…

Quick Takes – 10.16.11

The Great Dictator (1940) Grade: A | 3rd Viewing Every time I watch this film I am still astounded that something this daring and insightful would come out one year before the United States’ involvement…

Chicago Film Fest Diary – ‘Without’

Grade: C+ I was intrigued by Without when I saw that it had been chosen by the Red Eye (basically the Chicago daily news) as one of the top 10 films to see in the festival. It was…

BLIND SPOT: Raging Bull

BLIND SPOT: Raging Bull

I find Martin Scorsese’s films completely intimidating. I avoid them. Partly, my expectations going into his older work are so high – so many of them regarded as unassailable classics – that I worry I’ll…

REVIEW: ‘Footloose’ (2011)

Grade: D In 1984 Herbert Ross released the campy dance film Footloose about a boy from a large city who moves to a conservative small town and shakes things up when he organizes opposition the…

REVIEW: ‘The Ides of March’ (2011)

Grade: B After serving his first term in the U.S. Congress, a former Minnesota representative and friend of my grandfather once told him: “you may enter politics as an honest person, but you certainly won’t…

Chicago Film Fest Diary – ‘Michael’

Grade: A For my third movie at the Chicago International Film Festival I chose Michael, an Austrian film by director Markus Schleinzer. The synopsis in the festival guide simply stated: A drama focused on five…