Hometown basketball phenom Markese Jacobs was poised to bring glory to DePaul—until he heard a pop in his knee.
Author Archives: Patrick Z. McGavin
How Filip Rymsza finally finished Orson Welles’s The Other Side of the Wind
A tale of a novice producer and a legendary film that no one ever thought would ever play in theaters.
State basketball powerhouse Orr Academy’s incredible rise to glory bared in gripping new film
Shot in the Dark, executive produced by Chance the Rapper, spends two and a half eventful years at Orr Academy.
Off the Map
Based on a play by Joan Ackerman, this dreamy memory piece from director Campbell Scott reflects the influence of his mentor and frequent collaborator Alan Rudolph. Valentina de Angelis stars as the precocious 11-year-old daughter of bohemian parents (Sam Elliott and Joan Allen) trying to live off the land in rural New Mexico in the […]
1 hour 58 min • 2004
The 40th Chicago International Film Festival
Friday, October 8 Henri Langlois: The Phantom of the Cinematheque Any documentary about the eccentric late cofounder of the Cinematheque Francaise is bound to be watchable, but Jacques Richard’s lumpy 210-minute talking-headathon obfuscates as much as it clarifies. The factionalism in the French film world guarantees that Richard has to choose sides, but he fails […]
A short film by Victor Lopes. In Spanish with subtitles.
Chicago filmmaker Michele Mahoney reworks The Graduate, inverting Elizabethan practice by casting women in every role. The result is fairly clever (the hero is tempted by a corporate career not in plastics but in latex), though finally thin and underdeveloped. The film poses questions about gender and power while echoing the original’s critiques of marriage, […]
Livia Gyarmathy’s slight but affectionate documentary (2003, in Hungarian with subtitles) uses a dance recital in a Hungarian hamlet as a window onto the lives of the villagers.
Voyage to the End of the Universe
Written by Pavel Juracek, this Czech SF feature (1963) borrows substantially and without acknowledgment from Stanislaw Lem’s 1961 novel Solaris: in the late 22nd century a space crew transporting colonists to a distant planet are plagued by strange occurrences, sexual tension, and mental breakdown. The movie is badly marred by Juracek’s didactic celebration of communist […]
Dancing for Dollars
These two 1997 documentaries by Angus Macqueen offer sardonic analyses of the impact of the free market on Russian art. The Bolshoi in Vegas examines the quixotic efforts of a likable American entrepreneur, Ed Martin, to present the brilliant Bolshoi Ballet to philistine Las Vegas audiences. The irony is undermined by Macqueen’s withering condescension toward […]
English director Pamela Gordon directed this riveting 2003 look at the military standoff between Russian special forces and Chechen rebels who seized a Moscow theater and held the audience of 900 hostage. Incorporating interviews with survivors, news footage, and eerie material shot by the rebels, the film conveys a harrowing sense of breakdown. In Russian […]
Case for a Rookie Hangman
Made in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Pavel Juracek’s second and final feature (1969, 102 min.) is a formally audacious political fantasia that transforms the third book of Gulliver’s Travels into an allegory on coercion and tyranny. After acquiring a mysterious watch, Lemuel Gulliver (Lubomir Kostelka) plunges into the monarchy of Laputa, […]
The Jester’s Tale
In this engaging 1964 Czech feature a mercenary soldier and his Falstaffian sidekick take elaborate measures to evade allegiance to either the Catholics or the Protestants during the Thirty Years War. Pavel Juracek’s script provides some biting commentary on the absurdity of war, and director Karel Zeman creates a stylistic hybrid of baroque chiaroscuro lighting, […]
Case for a Rookie Hangman
Made in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Juracek’s second and final feature (1969, 102 min.) is a formally audacious political fantasia that transforms the third book of Gulliver’s Travels into an allegory on coercion and tyranny. After acquiring a mysterious watch, Lemuel Gulliver (Lubomir Kostelka) plunges into the monarchy of Laputa, a […]