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The CHIRP Blog

Entries categorized as “Movies” 43 results

Clarence Ewing: The Million Year Trip writesMonday 2/10: “Disco Godfather” at The Music Box Theatre!

Tonight at the Music Box Theat re holds a very scpecial screening presented by the Chicago Film Society and CHIRP Radio: the 1979 bloxsploitation classic Disco Godfather.

Starring Dolemite legend Rudy Rae Moore (who also produced) and Carol Speed, the film is the story of a retired cop who runs a discoteque and must defend his neighborhood from a local PCP dealer. Featuring the urban DIY aestetic of its genre along with a killer soundtrack, the movie is a glimpse into an earlier, simpler time where dancing, roller skating, and "puttin' your weight on it" ruled.

The Music Box is located at 3733 N Southport Ave 60613. Showtime is 7:00pm. Buy tickets here.

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Categorized: Event Previews, Movies

Topics: disco godfather

Kyle writesThe 92nd Annual Academy Awards Best Picture Nominees in Review

by Kyle Sanders

Boy, 2019 sure was something, huh? Amidst all the talk of impeachment hearings, climate in crisis, and continual hints at a crumbling society, we still had the movies to help us cope through it all.

And what a year for films! While Disney continued it dominance with Marvel comic adaptations and live-action remakes of animated classics, there were filmmakers out there producing motion pictures that were less mind-numbing "theme park rides" (sorry, Mr. Scorsese!) and more so cerebral cinema.

Well, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has seen 'em all, and given us their nominees for the best of 2019. Here are the nine films up for Best Picture of the Year...

1917 (The War Epic)

While it's been done before, it's still a pretty impressive effect to see a film that appears captured all in one take. Director Sam Mendes went this route for this World War I film about two British soldiers tasked with delivering a message to the Second Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment.

The two must maneuver through German trenches and avoid attacks from the enemy in order to insure the battalion calls off a planned attack against the Germans, who are plotting an ambush that could cost the lives of 1,600 British men.

The one-take gimmick works well at building tension, as there is a sense of timely dread the more this based-on-a-true-story unfolds. Skillfully directed by Mendes, 1917 surprised many by winning Best Drama at this year's Golden Globes, and it's possible it could do the same thing at this year's Oscars.

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Categorized: Movies

KSanders writesOutside and Inside: “Paradise Hills”

writte by Kyle Sanders

"We are our best when we are ourselves."

So says The Duchess, the flamboyant headmistress (played by Milla Jovovich doing her best "June Cleaver dressed as Effie Trinket") of the mysterious Paradise Hills, a school for the "not like other girls" girls. Yet this quote contradicts her maddening methods meant to help rebellious young women become the spitting image of perfection (or at least to disapproving families or impending husbands).

It's a quote the film should have listened to a bit more closely, as Paradise Hills does not seem to know its true self and therefore, is not quite the best its concept sets out to be.

The film opens with a sweeping bird's eye view shot of new bride Uma (Emma Roberts), serenading her husband with a song at their wedding reception. The film establishes the lavish world Uma lives in with the help of some impressively elaborate costumes and props (we see a floating car driving off from the festivities straight out of Back to the Future: Part II) but it's unclear if this is some sort of dystopian future or not-of-this-planet fantasy.

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Categorized: Movies

KSanders writesFathers on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (“Extracurricular” and “Tremors”)

written by Kyle Sanders as part of his coverage of the 2019 Chicago International Film Festival

Fatherhood can be hell. While parental responsibilities continue to change in our ever progressing sense of parenthood, the role of the father still tends to be looked upon as a source of security, to provide that "everything will be alright" feeling when the going gets tough. But sometimes even a dad can't guarantee that, because they might not be alright themselves.

The movies have given us plenty of father figures, some good (Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird), and some way, WAY bad (Jack Torrance in The Shining). There are also those who are flawed yet mean well. And at the Chicago International Film Festival, we get two prime examples in Extracurricular (Croatia) and Tremors (Guatemala/France/Luxembourg).

In the opening scene of Extracurricular, we see fumbling hands wrapping up a Barbie-esque doll in wrapping paper meant for a birthday gift, spliced with scenes of children being dropped off at school. Immediately, we understand these gruff-looking hands must belong to a father hastily preparing a gift for his young daughter. Blaring over the sequence is an intense musical score, foreshadowing a situation that's about to erupt.

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Categorized: Movies

Topics: chicago international film festival

KSanders writesBattle of the Sexes: “Initials S.G.” and “Instinct”

written by Kyle Sanders as part of his coverage of the 2019 Chicago International Film Festival

A good on-screen chemistry can make a film. It can really amp up the timing of a romantic or screwball comedy (think Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in Adam's Rib or Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday) or build the tension of a suspenseful thriller (think Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs or Michael Douglas and...well, any given actress in those late '80s/early '90s thrillers he used to churn out every other year).

What makes this kind of formula work? Is it simply a yin and yang balance the film requires, an easy camaraderie of the two stars, or just really really good acting? Perhaps a little of all three?

Two films that borrow from the aforementioned genres (a little bit of comedy, a little bit of suspense) are included in this year's roster of films at the Chicago International Film Festival: Initials S.G. (Argentina/Lisbon) and Instinct (The Netherlands).

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Categorized: Movies

Topics: chicago international film festival

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