19 Feb 2016

‘Where To Invade Next’ Shows Americans Can Live Better If They Believe Anything’s Possible

Michael Moore’s latest documentary is meant to inspire Americans with great ideas for social justice policies inspired by his visits to Europe.

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15 Feb 2016

Kartemquin Films 50: ‘Trick Bag’

Kartemquin Films continues to celebrate its 50th Anniversary with this short film on racism among working class Chicagoans in the 1970s.

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24 Jan 2016

Kartemquin Films 50: ‘Hum 255’

At the University of Chicago, during the winter quarter of 1968-1969, students protest the firing of Professor Marlene Dixon and occupy an administration building. They sing “We Shall Not Be Moved” and appear on film describing how they view student power. A number of the students see their action as

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16 Jan 2016

Kartemquin Films 50: ‘Thumbs Down’ and ‘Parents’

In the early years of Kartemquin Films, the group produced cinéma vérité documentaries. Co-founders Gordon Quinn and Jerry Temaner were interested in “cinematic social inquiry.” And, at its core, the concept was films could be created to promote social change. One of the pioneering films produced in 1967 is “Thumbs

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09 Jan 2016

Review: ‘Hateful Eight’ Evokes Nostalgia for When Going to Movies Was an Event

For Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film, the director pushed for “The Hateful Eight” to be distributed and screened in 70mm. The Weinstein Company provided immense support and helped Tarantino craft a roadshow experience to make seeing this epic an event. Venues were outfitted so that the 70mm format could be projected

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Mark Baum (Steve Carell) in "The Big Short"
11 Dec 2015

Review: ‘The Big Short’ Hilariously Depicts Crash of American Economy

With an incredible ensemble of actors, director Adam McKay transforms the tragedy of the collapse of the American economy in 2007 into a hilarious, informative, and mesmerizing tale of how it all unfolded. The film is based on Michael Lewis’ best-selling nonfiction book of the same title and follows a set

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05 Dec 2015

Film Review: ‘Chi-Raq’ is Timely Piece of Satire That Comes From Place of Love

Few films in recent years have been as polarizing as Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq.” Before it premiered, numerous well-meaning people throughout the United States, especially in Chicago, had already chosen to oppose the film, even though they had not seen it. It is too bad these people did not wait to

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20 Nov 2015

Film Review: ‘Heart of a Dog’ Is A Wondrous Meditation On Life & Death

Laurie Anderson’s documentary, “Heart of a Dog,” is an intensely personal meditation on life and death, and a reflection on American culture after 9/11.

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07 Oct 2015

Film Review: In ‘Sicario,’ What Happens When FBI Agent Threatens to Expose True War on Drugs

In ‘Sicario’ as in real life, those who have the integrity to challenge authority, like Emily Blunt’s character, do so at great risk to their livelihood.

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30 Dec 2014

The Dissenter’s Top Films of 2014

It has, like a number of other people, become an annual ritual to put together a list of the top films I managed to see during the year and share it here. While most lists of best films of the year were posted a week or two ago, I like

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