After watching Knives Out (2019) I decided to give Logan Lucky (2017), directed by Steven Soderbergh, a try as a result of a general discussion I was having with a friend about Daniel Craig’s accent-work. Here are a few things that I took note of during my enjoyable afternoon of viewing Logan Lucky: no matter how big or small, the film takes the time to focus on farcical and comedic situations, there is a an unbelievable ease to the pacing of the film and all in all, the movie stays true to the genre of “heist” films.
We are choosing to watch things over and over again, the stories that we know the endings to, but still excite us.
Wet Hot American Summer (2001) written by Michael Showwalter and David Wain is a comedy that will bring you back to summer camp instantly. …
How Do You Know is the most anti-feminist piece of blockbuster entertainment in the most recent decade.
Hello party people, So this week I decided to treat myself to a personally long-awaited superhero movie-watch, Shazam! (2019), directed by David F. Sandberg. Going …
An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Jûzô Itami’s ‘Tampopo’ (1985).
Justin Jackola Reaches Deal with Cinedigm to Distribute “Hunter’s Creed” Starring Dog the Bounty Hunter
Chicago-based filmmaker Justin Jackola, founder of Chicago-based production company JJack Productions has reached a deal with Cinedigm to distribute his feature film starring Duane “Dog” Chapman, known for his work on TV show Dog the Bounty Hunter.
As millions of people fled into their homes, we were suddenly forced to face our own minds, and for many, this meant facing the things we had been using our busy lives as an excuse to run away from.
Eleven04’s First Backer Initiative is a massive support package aimed at empowering Chicago’s indie film community.
An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in W.S. Van Dyke’s ‘The Thin Man’ (1934).
An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Tim Burton’s ‘Beetlejuice’ (1988).
Knives Out (2019), written and directed by Rian Johnson is easily my favorite “Who Done It?” film since Scream. It pretty much has all you need, a southern P.I. with a smooth and deep voice, a cast of campy characters full of intentions that are anything but good, and a kind-eyed innocent, individual whose moral compass guides her to the treasure at the end of the map.
For this installment of Off the Beaten Path, I review a cult favorite visual mixtape/the most out there show I’ve reviewed yet.
An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Billy Wilder’s ‘The Apartment’ (1960).
An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Agnès Varda’s ‘Cleo from 5 to 7’ (1962).
You ever see something that reminds you of a movie, and you can’t get that cinematic image out of your mind until you watch it? Yeah, me too. Idiocracy (2006), directed by Mike Judge, has been circling around my head like a dragonfly spiraling toward a lily pad on a hot summer afternoon.
An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Peter Yates’ ‘Krull’ (1982).
“Because truth is the only thing we can afford”: What I learned from Chloé Zhao’s ‘Songs My Brothers Taught Me’ (2015)
An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Chloé Zhao’s ‘Songs My Brothers Taught Me’ (2015).
COPS ran almost unchecked for 30 years. Its sudden fall was cause for celebration for some, while others disdained it’s cancellation.
An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Satoshi Kon’s ‘Millennium Actress’ (2001).
This week I’m breaking down the film Ready or Not, a black comedy thriller that was released in 2019, directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olphin and Tyler Gillett.
An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Dario Argento’s ‘Deep Red’ (1975).
For this installment of Off the Beaten Path, I look at one of the weirdest bits of animation I’ve seen. Plus, there are a lot of robot fights and dick jokes.
Eleven04’s first-ever live streaming event, featuring five Chicago filmmakers pitching their scripts alongside live table reads, has announced its winner after an online community vote.
An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Gregory La Cava’s ‘My Man Godfrey’ (1936).
An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Cheryl Dunye’s ‘The Watermelon Woman’ (1996).
My thoughts on The Purge (2013), discussing the deeper implications and questions that this dystopian narrative has to offer.
While the argument can be made that awards don’t matter, the hinderance and inability of the industry to celebrate black artists does.
The Birth of a Nation was required viewing within the first month of my film foundations class in 2016. I was encouraged to “look past” …
For this installment of “Off the Beaten Path”, I review “Crashing”, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s other TV show from 2016.
Eleven04’s first-ever live streaming event, featuring five Chicago filmmakers pitching their scripts alongside live table reads, surpassed expectations and brought new energy to the local film community.
If you are white and you want to learn how to be an ally, film is a great way to begin that journey. Start here! Start now. Start with one of the best films ever created.
For the first of my season reviews on “Off the Beaten Path”, I review the Ralpha Bakshi animated anthology “Spicy City”, a show forgotten by everyone including it’s home network.
It’s hard to say whether a sequence of elderly dancers joyfully participating in a regular class would have brought the same emotion if life as …
Brian De Palma’s Carrie (1976) stands as quite possibly his most well-known and best received film from an outstanding, if underrated career. However, he returned …
“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes” This quote, usually attributed to Mark Twain, has existed throughout time, giving us a way to process …
Since we’re all stuck inside for the foreseeable future, here are a few of the best pandemic-themed movies around. This list is based on IMDb ratings alone – so if you don’t like it, you can blame the general public.
In the previous article, we took a look at what cinema could offer in terms of untraditional presentation. In that instance, it was galleries. But …
I saw Candyman (1992) for the first time at the Logan Theater for a midnight screening not too long ago. As a horror genre lover …
I give my final thoughts and impressions on “Other Space”. The question is, was this show cancelled too soon, and how does it stand compared to the other shows on “Off the Beaten Path”.
“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” – Martin Scorsese With everything that’s going on about the convoluted, contradictory, and …
After a truncated first contact and with the clock ticking before the wormhole opens, Stewart must make a choice whether to stay with the alien they barely met or go back to Earth with his crew, and deal with the entailing consequences.
While Stewart and A.R.T. fight a potential drug addiction to make contact with an alien in his dreams, Karen ends up in HR Arbitration against Michael.
After a lightning strike disables the ship, the crew must figure out how to survive in the dark without using any power.
While Michael and Tina are stuck on the surface of the new planet, Karen and Stewart have to deal with a robot uprising.
After Tina, the only crew member who can retrieve the ship’s fuel from the new planet, is dumped by a delayed message from Ted, the rest of the crew throws a girl’s night to restore her spirits before the fuel is inaccessible.
Our intrepid crew, completely lost and utterly bored, deal with a surprise casualty while performing some maintenance.
The crew, on the brink of existential despair and with an alien among them, play a game of mafia that quickly turns serious. Shenanigans ensue.
In the pilot episode of “Other Space” our intrepid yet incompetent crew gets irreversibly lost.
For this series on “Off the Beaten Path”, we’ll go out of this world with the best show on the short lived Yahoo! Screen streaming service.
I give my final thoughts on “Utopia”, ranging from what was consistently strong to weak points that could easily be fixed.
Here in the series finale of “Utopia”, our protagonists and the Network must team up to avert a global pandemic.
In the second to last episode of “Utopia”, we get a number of emotional reunions, and lessons in the dangers of playing God.
Sometimes even the best shows have missteps, and “Utopia” is no exception. So, just how wild is this misstep?
At the halfway point of season two, “Episode 2.3” does a surprising amount to both fix what came before while setting up what’s to come.
After a brief detour to the Cold War origins of the Network, we return to the present day.
Have you ever wanted to tour every film location from High Fidelity (2000) in Chicago? Well, here’s your guide.
For the season two premier of “Utopia” we look back at the birth of the Network, with the destructive relationship at the epicenter.
Man, it feels like I just started watching “Utopia” and now we’re at “Episode 1.6” aka the season finale. The question then is, does this finale stack up?
The curtain has been pulled back in “Episode 1.5” revealing not only the reason for the conspiracy but also surprising connections between various members of the cast.
After three breakneck episodes, it’s time we settle down with the “Utopia” equivalent of a horse tranquilizer. The question is, is this trip good or bad?
Prepare yourselves. “Episode 1.3” is easily one of the most brutal, if not thee most brutal episode of television I’ve ever seen. Read why inside.
With “Episode 1.2”, we are formally introduced to Jessica Hyde, the sociopathic hero that helps lift the veil on the conspiracy. There’s other stuff too.
With “Episode 1.1”, we are extended an invitation to fall down a rabbit hole of brutality and ruined lives.
For the third show on “Off the Beaten Path”, we have “Utopia”, a British conspiracy thriller from the network that brought you “Black Mirror”.
Ginger, a film inspired by Melissa’s first diagnosis with Stage I breast cancer, was recently acquired by Cow Lamp Films in hopes that her pretty funny, slightly sad, powerfully emotional guide to breast cancer can make a bigger impact on young survivors.
My final thoughts and impressions of “Danger 5” before moving onto new things with “Off the Beaten Path”.
Here we are, at the series finale of “Danger 5”. The question is, does it serve as a fitting conclusion?
In the penultimate episode of “Danger 5”, we revisit the world of season one. From there we not only get some wacky character interactions, but we see how far the characters have come.
Against the backdrop of a Nazi zombie apocalypse in the theme park that is U.S.S.R-Land, we get a surprisingly rich portrait of character development, concluding story lines, and finale buildup.
Oh man, “Un Sacco Di Natale” is starting to remind me why I didn’t tend to rewatch these episodes of season 2. Read more about why inside.
He grew up playing pool in Chicago, but his life changed during one game of pool at the Hollywood Athletic Club. He was facing some guy named Mars…
With “Revenge of the Lizard Men” we get both a quasi-sequel to “Lizard Soldiers of the Third Reich” and a shot of adrenaline to the season 2 story arc. The question is, can the show juggle everything successfully?
With “Johnny Hitler”, both the team and the villains infiltrate a high school, creating the most mundane yet most surreal episode yet.
With “Merry Christmas Colonel”, we leave behind the pulpy 60’s for the flashy and excessive 80’s. The question is, is the transition successful?
Cow Lamp Films signs two of Notable Chicago Writer and Director and Program Director of The Harold Ramis Film School at The Second City, Jack Newell’s romantic comedies.
For the season one finale of “Danger 5”, we get an episode that’s good with setup and closure, but not as much with the individual elements.
Notable Chicago Director and Producer Joe Chappelle’s debut film, Thieves Quartet, streams for the first time since its limited national theatrical release 25 years ago.
Emmy Award-winning writer Roberta Jones launches her latest feature length movie, Animator, with a special release event on global streaming service Tubi TV. The LAIFF Los Angeles Independent ‘Best All-Genre’ feature film was directed by Logan Hall alongside Animation Director Julian Jones.
If you like strong character based humor, a wild premise, and some true bombshells, you’ll love this episode.
Mezcla Media Collective was founded in November 2017, and serves as a hub for 350+ women and non-binary independent filmmakers of color in Chicago. Its mission is to advance the careers, enhance the skills, and build camaraderie among its members.
After the unfortunate implications of “Kill-Men of the Rising Sun”, “Danger 5” pulls itself back up with the character rich “Hitler’s Golden Murder Palace”.
For this “Danger 5” review, we get an episode that’s more of a sensible chuckle than a laugh riot.
If you aren’t interested in watching a group of bumbling spies fight a bunch of fascist dinosaurs with guns, I don’t know, you might be dead inside.
For the first episode of “Danger 5”, we get the safe yet highly entertaining “I Danced for Hitler!”
The next show I’ll cover on “Off the Beaten Path” is “Danger 5”, an Australian spoof of 60’s and 80’s pulp fiction set in WWII. It’s somehow even wackier than it sounds.
I recap my thoughts of the first season of “Love, Death & Robots”, predict what will happen in Seasons 2, and give a hint for the next show on “Off the Beaten Path”
For the last episode of “Love, Death & Robots” we get an episode that should have been a video game. Feel free to read why.
With the penultimate episode of “Love, Death & Robots” we get ask an age old question. What would happen if Hitler died before his rise to power? The answer is funnier than you think.
After a number of intense episodes full of frenetic action and philosophical musings, “Ice Age” takes us down the lazy river of film fun.
After reaching the thematic heights of “Zima Blue” we have a fun ride involving a simple plan gone wrong in “Blind Spot”
We look at the last of my original three favorite episodes of “Love, Death & Robots”. Now the question is, how well does it hold up?
In this review, we look at an episode for all those who want an episode that aims for the space above the ground but below the bar.
For this review, I cover the episode that truly establishes what it means to be an “experience” story, with all the beauty and pitfalls contained.
We just wrapped another episode of Chicago Film Scene: Live! filmed at the Arrogant Frog Bar in Lincoln Park. This week we were honored to …
For the first of what I like to call the “experience episodes”, we get “Helping Hand”, a gripping tale of survival in the face of existential despair.
“Shape-Shifters” welcomes us to the back half of “LDR” with an entertaining and rewatchable episode that doesn’t push boundaries but doesn’t need to.
Well the hot streak of episodes we were on had to end at some point, and unsurprisingly it ended with the one note episode “The Dump”.
If you didn’t think anything could top “Beyond the Aquila Rift”, you’re in for the treat of a lifetime with the rich and nuanced “Good Hunting”
To start off the second third of the season, we have one of, if not thee most famous episode to emerge from “Love, Death & Robots”
On episode six of “Love Death & Robots”, we reach our shortest, most out of left field, and funniest episode yet.
Been craving some horror lately? Some good ol’ 2D animation? If so, man is this episode is for you!
After a much needed change of pace from the problematic “The Witness”, the space country “Suits” brings us the most unique and humanistic episode yet.
Oh man, this one is a doozy. Not sure how else to put it in a slug line. Feel free to read why inside.
Now that we’ve been given the strong-handed introduction to “Love, Death & Robots” by “Sonnie’s Edge”, lets relax with the laid back comedy stylings of “Three Robots”
My review of episode one, “Sonnie’s Edge”, our first introduction to the wild and sometimes bumpy ride of “Love, Death & Robots”.
The start of either a beautifully written review series, or the confused ramblings of an amateur screenwriter, all by your fellow Chicago Film Scene member.
Kwame Amoaku is the Director of the Chicago Film Office. Here he discusses the Chicago film industry at the Arrogant Frog Bar live.