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by Jason Gargano 03.03.2011
at 08:14 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Franco and Hathaway Shine in Day Jobs

In an obvious stroke of marketing synchronicity, it’s no coincidence that James Franco’s and Anne Hathaway’s recent films are being released on DVD/Blu-ray this week, just a few days after the duo hosted Hollywood’s biggest yearly extravaganza of pomp and self-congratulation.

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by Jason Gargano 10.15.2010
at 02:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Apathy Is Not an Option

Our movie-house winning streak continues, as this week delivers yet another collection of worthwhile options — from Davis Guggenheim's eye-opening documentary Waiting for Superman and Sam Taylor-Wood's John Lennon docudrama Nowhere Boy to the latest works from the irrepressible Jackass crew and the ceaselessly prolific Woody Allen. Even the right-wing “documentary” about the role government should play in our lives, I Want Your Money — which (not so) curiously didn't have an advanced press screening — looks intriguing/amusing if likely one-sided.

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by Jason Gargano 12.22.2010
at 01:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Wednesday Movie Roundup: Year in Film Edition

The year-end movie season is now in high gear, as media entities of every stripe unveil their top 10 lists and various awards groups reveal their nominations. CityBeat's film writers will present our lists next week. In the meantime, check out this week's Year in Film essays, which offer a look at 2010's noteworthy cinematic trends — from a roundup of “off-the-wall” DVDs and an examination of the further fracturing of movie reality and indie cinema to the year's best crime epics and the lack of strong movies by and for African Americans.

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by Jason Gargano 01.12.2011
at 06:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

DGA Announces Top Docs

The Directors Guild of American today announced its nominees for “Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentaries” for 2010: Lixin Fan's Last Train Home; Charles Ferguson's Inside Job; Alex Gibney's Client 9: The Rise and Fall of the Eliot Spitzer; Davis Guggenheim's Waiting for Superman; and Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger's Restrepo.

There's no denying that the Guild had a tough job in narrowing the field — it was another stellar year for the ever-evolving genre — but only two of the final five would have made my list: Inside Job (read my interview with Ferguson here) and Client 9, both of which appeared on my top 10 list of 2010 films.

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by Jason Gargano 03.11.2011
at 05:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Kevin Smith Goes DIY

Writer/director Kevin Smith's self-financed Red State 13-town, movie tour hits Ohio on Monday with a stop a Clark State Performing Arts Center, which is about a 90-minute drive north of Cincinnati in Springfield. Described as “a horror/comedy/satire about a Westboro Baptist Church-esque fundamentalist community that murders those it finds abominations in God's eyes (aka gay people),” the film premiered to mixed reviews and a small group of protesters at the Sundance Film Festival Jan. 22.

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by Jason Gargano 08.20.2010
at 10:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: The Balcony Is Closed

The final episode of At the Movies aired last weekend, marking the end of an era that began more than 30 years ago.

Featuring a pair of geeky Chicago-based film critics — Roger Ebert from The Sun-Times and The Tribune's Gene Siskel — the long-running show debuted as Sneak Previews in 1975 before switching to At the Movies in 1977. The premise was simple: two people talking about that week's releases with passion, intelligence, wit and personality.

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by Jason Gargano 07.30.2010
at 12:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Searching for the Best of 2010 (So Far)

By now I typically unveil my favorite movies from the first half of the year. Yet looking back on the first six months of 2010, only two films —Lee Unkrich's Toy Story 3 and Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop —have discerned themselves as unqualified contenders to make my year-end list.

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by Jason Gargano 12.18.2009
at 05:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Awards Season Mania

The movie awards season kicked into overdrive Dec. 15 with the announcement of the 67th annual Golden Globe Awards nominations. I’m typically the first one to criticize the Globes’ often banal, stars-and-studio-influenced nominations, but this year’s crop seems more discerning than usual.

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by Jason Gargano 04.14.2011
at 05:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Do Something Reel Film Festival

Just in time to align nicely with our annual Green Issue comes the Do Something Reel Film Festival, which is described as a “collection of six provocative, character-driven films focused on passionate people making a world of difference.” Presented by Whole Foods Market in conjunction with and in celebration of Earth Month, the traveling festival will hit more than 70 cities through April, including our own Esquire Theatre tomorrow through April 21.

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by Jason Gargano 06.10.2011
at 10:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Friday Movie Roundup: Woody Allen Returns to Form

Who knew it would take a 75-year-old to make the best movie of the summer (so far)?

Woody Allen's 41st feature is his most engaging effort in years,a whimsical comedy that seamlessly melds moments of dreamy, nostalgic delight —its protagonist, played by Allen surrogate Owen Wilson, is somehow, each midnight, transported back to Paris' 1920s bohemian heyday where he hangs out with Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso and F. Scott Fitzgerald, among others — with the filmmaker's longstanding themes of acute self-loathing, romantic longing and the role of the artist in society.

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