Creed II falls victim to the sins of sequelitis—it’s bigger, louder and more grandiose than its predecessor—yet manages to right itself by not losing focus…
* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.
An interview with writer/director Elizabeth Chomko and actor Robert Forster about their Chicago family dramedy, What They Had.
A sneak peek at this year's Chicago International Film Festival, which runs from October 10-21.
Two dozen of our favorite performances from 2017.
110 independent films have been announced to premiere at next January's Sundance Film Festival.
On three TIFF premieres, including films starring Emma Thompson, Richard Gere, and Helena Bonham-Carter.
25 films we can't wait to check out during the summer movie season.
Roger's Favorites: directors Kasi Lemmons, Patty Jenkins and Kimberly Peirce.
A report from the 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards.
A piece on the first wave of critics groups awards and some predictions for SAG and the Golden Globe nominees.
An interview with Oscar winner Hilary Swank, star of Tommy Lee Jones' "The Homesman."
Is feature filmmaking dead?; Gripes with "This Is Where I Leave You"; Remembering Peter von Bagh; "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in black-and-white; B. Ruby Rich on "Life Itself."
A preview of the 2014 Telluride Film Festival, which runs August 29-September 1, 2014.
All of our video segments from Cannes 2014.
Chaz Ebert's latest video reports on the Cannes premieres of "Foxcatcher," "The Homesman," "Mr. Turner," and "The Wonders," while offering an extended report on the emotional screening of "Life Itself."
Day five at Cannes sees an analysis of Tommy Lee Jones' "The Homesman" in light of continued issues with gender equality at the fest.
Barbara Scharres previews the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
Vex Poet on "Laurence Anyways" and the complicated question of who gets to speak for the trans community.
Peter Sobczynski ranks 27 films by Brian De Palma.
Marie writes: I love photography, especially B/W and for often finding color a distraction. Take away the color and suddenly, there's so much more to see; the subtext able to rise now and sit closer to the surface - or so it seems to me. The following photograph is included in a gallery of nine images (color and B/W) under Photography: Celebrity Portraits at the Guardian."This is one of the last photographs of Orson before he died. He loved my camera - a gigantic Deardorff - and decided he had to direct me and tell me where to put the light. So even in his last days, he was performing his directorial role perfectly, and bossing me around. Which was precious." - Michael O'Neill
Orson Welles, by Michael O'Neill, 1985
A horror or science-fiction movie without subtext is like Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory without electricity. The inner metaphor is what gives it life and resonance. Otherwise, it's just a story about stitched-together people parts. Or take David Cronenberg's "The Fly," a riveting, poignant horror/science-fiction/romance about an ambitious scientist who accidentally gets his DNA mixed up with that of a housefly. Everything about the movie is first-rate, from the direction to the performances to the effects. But what really grabs hold of you is the universal theme: We are all Brundlefly, sentient, self-aware beings whose bodies are going to decay and die. In 1986, a lot of people assumed the subtext was AIDS; Cronenberg later said he was thinking in more general terms about the process of aging. It doesn't matter. The movie works on those levels.
Cronenberg is particularly ingenious at making the word flesh, and the ways he develops his ideas are often even scarier than the explicit horrors: "The Brood" is a masterpiece about the psychosomatic effects of rage turned inward, and about the legacy of emotional abuse passed down from one generation to the next; "Videodrome" is about technology as an extension of the body and the brain; "Dead Ringers" is about mutant forms of psychological and sexual intimacy; "Naked Lunch" is about a writer who has to internalize his own sexuality before he can create art.... Cronenberg is an organic, visionary thinker, storyteller, filmmaker. His movies have meat on their bones. Other filmmakers whose work strikes me as insubstantial lack this ability to flesh-out their pictures with compelling, animating ideas. Their plots are meticulously plotted, but they're skin-deep and there's nothing to sink your imaginative teeth into.
Which brings me to this summer's hits, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" and "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," neither of which I have much interest in seeing. Instead I'm intrigued by a few things I've read about them -- specifically about their subtext, or lack thereof. In a piece about the racial themes of "The Help" ("Why Can't Critics Just Get Along?"), David Poland writes:
Marie writes: I love cinematography and worship at its altar; a great shot akin to a picture worth a thousand words. The best filmmakers know how to marry words and images. And as the industry gears up for the Golden Globes and then the Oscars, and the publicity machine starts to roll in earnest, covering the Earth with a daily blanket of freshly pressed hype, I find myself reaching past it and backwards to those who set the bar, and showed us what can be accomplished and achieved with light and a camera...
Cinematography by Robert Krasker - The Third Man (1949) (click to enlarge images)
• Bill Stamets and Roger Ebert
The 46th Chicago International Film Festival will play this year at one central location, on the many screens of the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois. A festivalgoers and filmmakers' lounge will be open during festival hours at the Lucky Strike on the second level. Tickets can be ordered online at CIFF's website, which also organizes the films by title, director and country. Tickets also at AMC; sold out films have Rush Lines. More capsules will be added here.
Chicago's biggest annual cinema event boasts 150 films from 50 countries this year. The Chicago International Film Festival opens its 46th season Thursday night as the city's longest-running showcase of dramas, documentaries and shorts.
• Toronto Report # 7
"There must be directors at Toronto other than Werner Herzog and Errol Morris," one reader wrote impatiently. "Try reviewing someone else's films for a change." Point taken. I intend to do that below, and say in my defense that I have already written about eight films not by my heroes. Actually, that's not so many, is it? I saw 26 of the films but feel no need to write about all of them; in a few cases, I don't want to say negative things about those still searching for buyers.