• The Aviator's Wife

    The Aviator's Wife

    ★★★★★

    I talked about this masterpiece, and its relationship to Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW, on the latest episode of the Cinefile podcast. Check it out: soundcloud.com/cinecastchi/rohmer-roundtable-new-releases-malmkrog

  • I'll Be Gone in the Dark

    I'll Be Gone in the Dark

    ★★★★

    As soon as this concluded, my wife turned to me and said, “I hate all men. Maybe you should sleep in the guest bedroom tonight.”

  • A Tale of Winter

    A Tale of Winter

    Reviewed for Cinefile.info:

    A TALE OF WINTER is the second film that Éric Rohmer made in his “Tales of the Four Seasons” series — the third and final of his major film cycles, after “Six Moral Tales” and “Comedies and Proverbs” — but, thematically and according to the narrative’s placement within the calendar year, it feels like the true end point to the series. (For the record, the films can be enjoyed when seen in any order.) It is also…

  • Welcome to New York

    Welcome to New York

    Welcome to New York, Abel Ferrara’s thinly disguised dramatization of the Dominique Strauss Kahn scandal starring Gerard Depardieu and Jacqueline Bisset, was predictably a lightning rod for controversy when it premiered in 2014. The film begins with a series of debauched sexual encounters (let’s just say that champagne and ice cream are put to creative use) between Depardieu’s “Mr. Devereaux,” an international financial bigwig, and hired prostitutes — before culminating in a recreation of Kahn’s alleged sexual assault of a…

  • American Sniper
  • Mercury in Retrograde

    Mercury in Retrograde

    ★★★★★

    HEADS UP: This film is now available to rent through the Music Box Theatre’s Virtual Cinema. Stream it from anywhere in North America between now and the end of April (along with the other films in the CHICAGO FILMMAKER SERIES): musicboxtheatre.com/films/mercury-in-retrograde

  • Paisan

    Paisan

    Reviewed for Cinefile.info:

    If PAISAN is not as well known today as the films that precede and follow it in Roberto Rossellini's celebrated "War Trilogy" (i.e., ROME, OPEN CITY and GERMANY YEAR ZERO), that is likely because it has existed for most of the past few decades only in dire-quality prints and has thus been the most difficult of the three to see. But the movie itself has always exerted a massive influence on the work of other filmmakers: Gillo…

  • Some Kind of Heaven

    Some Kind of Heaven

    A pseudo-ethnographic documentary film that has virtually nothing to say about its very interesting subject - the world's largest retirement community located in central Florida - because its director is too busy climbing a ladder.

  • Minari

    Minari

    Originally written for Cinefile.info

    The title of Lee Isaac Chung’s wonderful semi-autobiographical film refers to an edible, parsley-like plant cultivated throughout Asia. It only makes a brief onscreen appearance in this early-1980s-set family drama–when an elderly Korean woman (the legendary Youn Yuh-jung) plants it on the banks of a creek in rural Arkansas after immigrating to America to live with her daughter–but, on a metaphorical level, the title has a powerful resonance: This is a uniquely American movie about the…

  • Outskirts

    Outskirts

    Although active as a director until his death by suicide in 1965, Boris Barnet is probably best known for his silent film work (e.g., The Girl with the Hatbox and Miss Mend). Outskirts (AKA The Patriots) was Barnet’s first sound movie and remains an unjustly underseen masterpiece of its era. The film is a comedy/drama about the residents of an unnamed town in rural Russia in the days leading up to World War I. It starts off as a comedy…

  • Mr. Thank You

    Mr. Thank You

    Like Yasujiro Ozu, Hiroshi Shimizu was one of the top directors at Shochiku Studios in the 1930s – although his work was virtually unknown in the West until the 21st century. Mr. Thank You is an astonishing film about a bus driver known for his politeness who travels from town to town through rural Japan. It takes place virtually in real time and was shot on a real bus traveling through the countryside (no rear projection was used), which makes…

  • The Chase

    The Chase

    ★★★★

    Not to give anything away but this is the optimistic version of LOST HIGHWAY.