Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Celebrating Black Cinema ]]> Lead story image

Here’s a pop culture hint: If you want to know, right now, what’s going on in the world of black cinema, get ye to the black Harvest Film Festival. This year marks the 20th since the fest first opened its proverbial doors to filmmakers — and movie goers — interested specifically in cinematic depictions of the African Diaspora and the black experience. More than blaxploitation, ghetto classics and documentaries, Black Harvest has become a month-long, well-rounded look at what’s out there in black cinema. It’s a space where the young and old gather to discuss everything from plot lines to … ]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 02:18:25 -0500 <![CDATA[ ‘Get On Up’: As James Brown, Chadwick Boseman makes it funky ]]> Lead story image

RICHARD ROEPER: The ‘42’ star inhabits the persona of a larger-than-life icon without ever delving into caricature or mere impersonation. ]]> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 02:20:59 -0500 <![CDATA[ ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’: A giddy space oddity makes the summer sunnier ]]> Lead story image

RICHARD ROEPER: The mostly lighthearted comic-book movie boasts whiz-bang action, some laugh-out-loud moments and a wisecracking raccoon you’ll come to care about. ]]> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 02:20:21 -0500 <![CDATA[ Plenty of action, muscles galore elevate ‘Hercules’ ]]> Lead story image

LOS ANGELES — You’ll have to say one thing for Brett Ratner’s production of “Hercules”: This movie has a sense of proportion. Running just over 90 minutes, the movie is often clunky, but at least it’s fast and unpretentious. And its likable star, Dwayne Johnson, manages to murder legions without ever seeming sadistic. Less violent than “300,” less compelling than “Gladiator,” this new addition to the sword-and-sandals genre seems likely to please the fanboy audience and stir up some impressive box-office numbers. The film begins by recounting the legend of Hercules, with snippets of his famous 12 labors. But this … ]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:32:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Chris Pratt can’t believe his ‘extraordinary’ luck ]]> Lead story image

Though he’s top-lining the comic-book epic ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ the actor thinks of himself as “a bit of a doofus.” ]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 19:25:20 -0500 <![CDATA[ Ellar Coltrane devotes his childhood years to ‘Boyhood’ ]]> Lead story image

“It was definitely very surreal to watch myself grow up on screen,” says Ellar Coltrane, about his new film “Boyhood.” ]]> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 02:20:46 -0500 <![CDATA[ The smarter 'Lucy' gets, the dumber the movie gets: Roeper ]]> Lead story image

RICHARD ROEPER: Scarlett Johansson expands her mind in one of the worst movies of the year. ]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 02:25:37 -0500 <![CDATA[ ‘And So It Goes’: No surprises, just Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton being funny ]]> Lead story image

Almost nothing unexpected happens in “And So It Goes.” Hold on. I’m mentally flipping through each scene. Let me rephrase that. Absolutely nothing unexpected happens in “And So It Goes.” When we meet each of the main characters and get a feel for whom they are, we know exactly where they’re going and who will be accompanying them on their journey. Like “Something’s Gotta Give,’ “The Bucket List,” “Stand Up Guys,” “Last Vegas” and a number of other films we’ve seen over the last decade or so featuring some of the biggest stars of the 1970s expertly cruising through roles … ]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 02:26:29 -0500 <![CDATA[ ‘A Most Wanted Man’ is a most worthy sendoff for Philip Seymour Hoffman: Roeper ]]> Lead story image

The film is called “A Most Wanted Man,” and it is one of the best spy thrillers in recent years. This is the last film starring Philip Seymour Hoffman the world will ever see. It’s the last new example of his world-class talent and his ability to inhabit a character with such memorable ease. Yes, Hoffman will appear in a supporting role in the two-part “The Hunger Games: Mockinjay” movies, but as far as seeing him carry a film, “A Most Wanted Man” is it. At least we get a fitting vehicle. Helmed with precision skill and pinpoint timing by … ]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:09:24 -0500 <![CDATA[ ‘Magic in the Moonlight’: Illusionist’s ego saws our interest in half ]]> Lead story image

The heart wants what it wants, Woody Allen famously said some 15 years ago as an explanation for why he fell in love with the adopted daughter of a woman he had been involved with for many years. Of course, Allen had made that same argument through his characters well prior to his real-life scandal, which he recently referred to as a scandal only in the eyes of others. (Back to the therapist’s couch!) Remember “Manhattan,” with Woody playing a 42-year-old, twice-divorced man who falls in love with a 17-year-old girl still in high school? For “Magic in the Moonlight,” … ]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 02:26:03 -0500 <![CDATA[ ‘Happy Christmas’: Even in July, Joe Swanberg’s characters ring true ]]> Lead story image

If there’s one pop-culture term more irritating than “selfie,” it just might be “mumblecore,” a term often invoked to describe naturalistic indie films shot on a low budget, with actors either improvising much of their dialogue or going for a low-key style that makes it seem as if we’re eavesdropping on real life. Writer-director-actor Joe Swanberg is one of the most prolific practitioners of the genre. Since 2011 he has directed a dozen films, including “Silver Bullets,” “Autoerotic” and last year’s “Drinking Buddies,” a sharp gem starring Olivia Wilde and Anna Kendrick set against the backdrop of Chicago’s Revolution Brewery. … ]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 02:27:26 -0500 <![CDATA[ ‘I Origins’: Gazing deeply into eyes and evolution ]]> Lead story image

Director and writer Mike Cahill has said that while he’s not a scientist, his fascination with scientific issues and the men and women who pursue that kind of research makes him feel compelled “to make films about science and scientists.” In “I Origins,” his second feature film directorial effort — following the widely acclaimed “Another Earth” — Cahill has not only made a thoughtful and compelling movie about science, but he’s also given us an intriguing story that delves into the age-old debate of faith vs. hard proof involving the possibility of a higher spiritual power. The central character here … ]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 02:27:15 -0500 <![CDATA[ ‘Mood Indigo’: Perpetual motion that goes nowhere ]]> Lead story image

French director Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) is a cinematic magician when it comes to creating intriguing, imaginative and, frankly, mind-blowing visual images. In “Mood Indigo,” based on author Boris Vian’s widely acclaimed novel of intense romantic love and searing loss, we are bombarded with a never-ending series of surrealistic video treats that overwhelm the senses. Yet, as I watched this film, I couldn’t help feel I needed the aid of a mind-altering substance of some kind. To view “Mood Indigo” sober really just leaves you thinking, “What the hell am I watching here?” Yes, I was … ]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 02:26:40 -0500 <![CDATA[ ‘Under the Electric Sky’: 3-D barker for Electric Daisy Carnival ]]> Lead story image

‘Under the Electric Sky” is a bedazzled (if not quite dazzling) 3-D documentary about last year’s Electric Daisy Carnival, a humongoid electronic dance music festival in Las Vegas. The annual booty-shaking bacchanalia is the 21st-century incarnation of 1990s rave culture, or, as one star DJ puts it, “almost like Woodstock reinvented.” Judging from the chants of “EDC! EDC!” at a recent advance screening, the primary audience for the film — which is co-produced by the festival’s promoter, Insomniac Events — is photogenic 20-somethings reliving happy memories of the three-day all-night party. But anyone else who ends up in the theater … ]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 02:27:50 -0500 <![CDATA[ ‘Hercules’ pushes Dwayne Johnson to his limits ]]> Lead story image

“It was the most physically challenging role I’ve ever played,” the former wrestler says. ]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 02:25:50 -0500 <![CDATA[ ‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’: Flying higher than the animated original ]]> Lead story image

Y ou’d think it would be fairly easy to make a sequel better than the original, especially when the first film was pretty lame. Sadly, that’s often not the case. The good news here: “Planes: Fire & Rescue” is a good improvement over “Planes,” which Disney released last year. The story is stronger, there are some wonderful additions to the voice talent and the 3D cinematography is well-utilized. “Fire & Rescue” picks up pretty much where the original movie left off. Dusty Crophopper (again charmingly and enthusiastically voiced by Dane Cook) is now an international air-racing hero. After his hard-to-believe … ]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 02:19:44 -0500