AltWeeklies Wire

The Delayed Gratification of 2009's Movie Awards Seasonnew

Surveying a couple hundred year-end lists by movie reviewers and entertainment writers can be a soul-squishing thing, particularly if you read the reasoning and rationales, the dithers, the doubts, the demurrals, the dishing and dashing to and fro, recurring, recurring.
Chicago Newcity  |  Ray Pride  |  01-07-2009  |  Movies

Why So Serious?: A Holiday Movie Previewnew

This year tragedy for tragedy's sake is on the front burner. It's nothing new, releasing dead-serious pictures at the dead of Christmas.
Chicago Newcity  |  Ray Pride  |  12-17-2008  |  Movies

'Gran Torino' is a Gleeful Astonishmentnew

Gran Torino is a dark comedy, an engaged anecdote about class and race, a stripped-down example of palooka art, and Clint Eastwood, at 78, has made a modest yet almost radical entertainment.
Chicago Newcity  |  Ray Pride  |  12-17-2008  |  Reviews

The Timeless Showbiz of 'Frost/Nixon'new

Frost/Nixon displays bursts of some of Ron Howard's sharpest work in his fifty years in show business, but it functions best as a cartoon that chooses to think of itself as burnished bravura.
Chicago Newcity  |  Ray Pride  |  12-10-2008  |  Reviews

Talking 'A Christmas Tale' with Arnaud Desplechinnew

A Christmas Tale is the "home for the holidays" primal scene as primal scream: from the first moments, as we're introduced to the characters, we realize they can be chilly and abrupt, capable of pettiness and outright cruelty. And that's just the set-up.
Chicago Newcity  |  Ray Pride  |  11-19-2008  |  Profiles & Interviews

Ache 'til You Laugh in 'Synecdoche, New York'new

After Synecdoche's Chicago International screening, I moderated an hour-long Q&A with Kaufman, and it was one of the more rapt audiences in my experience. Everyone had questions.
Chicago Newcity  |  Ray Pride  |  11-05-2008  |  Profiles & Interviews

It's All in the Details in 'I've Loved You So Long'new

French novelist Philippe Claudel's first feature as director is a quiet, layered narrative with a remarkable central performance by Kristin Scott-Thomas.
Chicago Newcity  |  Ray Pride  |  10-29-2008  |  Profiles & Interviews

The Sweet Surprise of 'Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist'new

Bubblegum that never loses its snap, Peter Sollett's second feature miraculously hits some of the same heights within a slightly contrived structure drawn from the novel of the same name by Rachel Kohn and David Levithan.
Chicago Newcity  |  Ray Pride  |  10-01-2008  |  Reviews

The High Crimes and High Art of 'Man On Wire'new

Even after seeing Man on Wire three times, I'm ready to see it again: just about any place. It's far and away my favorite film commercially released in 2008 to date.
Chicago Newcity  |  Ray Pride  |  08-06-2008  |  Profiles & Interviews

Constructing 'American Teen' with Nanette Bursteinnew

American Teen debuted at Sundance 2008, and some viewers begrudged the sale of Nanette Burstein's eminently entertaining, beautifully constructed snapshot of the lives of several teenagers across a senior year at a Warsaw, Indiana high school.
Chicago Newcity  |  Ray Pride  |  07-23-2008  |  Profiles & Interviews

Celebrating 'Hancock,' Peter Berg's Latest Genre Mashupnew

Anticipation runs high for further blackening of Batman's soul in The Dark Knight, but the Fourth of July weekend belongs to Hancock, a handsomely haywire comic-tragic concoction that flies high, sideways, off course and straight up in the air.
Chicago Newcity  |  Ray Pride  |  07-02-2008  |  Reviews

The Lavish Imagination of Timur Bekmambetov's 'Wanted'new

Wanted is a tonally aggressive, wildly expressionistic, deeply satisfying film, a sleekly machined action powerhouse, words I hardly expected to type this summer.
Chicago Newcity  |  Ray Pride  |  06-25-2008  |  Reviews

'Wall-E' is Pixar's Crusty Follow-Up to Tasty 'Ratatouille'new

A plush cousin to Idiocracy, the latest humbling eyeful from Pixar says that Americans are going to die for their consumption habits, except for a few fat fumblers shot out into space.
Chicago Newcity  |  Ray Pride  |  06-25-2008  |  Reviews

Going to the 'Edge of Heaven' with Fatih Akinnew

Akin's latest film is a fierce, generous melodrama, the second of a trilogy about émigré culture patterned after Fassbinder's trilogy of movies about post-World War II German history that began with The Marriage of Maria Braun.
Chicago Newcity  |  Ray Pride  |  06-11-2008  |  Profiles & Interviews

Steve Conrad on Detailing Comedy in 'The Promotion'new

It's a gratifying surprise to find that Chicago-based screenwriter Steve Conrad's auspicious directorial debut, capturing the rivalry between two men, mild-mannered, levelheaded Doug (Sean William Scott) and eccentric Québécois transplant Richard (John C. Reilly), for a manager's job at a supermarket, is a likeable, often-tender, lovingly paced comedy of no small charm, a small miracle in an age of accelerated pacing and masticated punch lines.
Chicago Newcity  |  Ray Pride  |  06-04-2008  |  Reviews

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