Marketa Lazarová [1967] (UR would be R - 3 1/2 Stars) - Czechoslovak Communist era historical drama set during the Middle Ages in the Czech borderlands (that in the first half of the 20th century became the disputed Sudetenlands).  Made in the grand historical epic style of Soviet film-makers like Eisenstein (Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible) and Tarkovsky (Andrej Rublev) it feels very different from the typical Czech film.  On the other hand, its focus on simply the life of a young Czech girl (Marketa…) living at the time, perhaps makes it “Czech” after all.  The film played recently as part of the 2014 Czech That Film Series passing through the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago and co-sponsored by the Czech diplomatic mission to the United States.

Marketa Lazarová [1967] (UR would be R - 3 1/2 Stars) - Czechoslovak Communist era historical drama set during the Middle Ages in the Czech borderlands (that in the first half of the 20th century became the disputed Sudetenlands).  Made in the grand historical epic style of Soviet film-makers like Eisenstein (Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible) and Tarkovsky (Andrej Rublev) it feels very different from the typical Czech film.  On the other hand, its focus on simply the life of a young Czech girl (Marketa…) living at the time, perhaps makes it “Czech” after all.  The film played recently as part of the 2014 Czech That Film Series passing through the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago and co-sponsored by the Czech diplomatic mission to the United States.

Colette [2013] (UR would be R - 3 1/2 Stars) - Czech (English language) Holocaust themed film based on the novel by the same name by Czech Jewish writer Arnošt Lustig, a Holocaust survivor himself.  The film played recently at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago as part of the 2014 Czech That Film Tour cosponsored by the Czech Diplomatic Mission to the United States.

Colette [2013] (UR would be R - 3 1/2 Stars) - Czech (English language) Holocaust themed film based on the novel by the same name by Czech Jewish writer Arnošt Lustig, a Holocaust survivor himself.  The film played recently at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago as part of the 2014 Czech That Film Tour cosponsored by the Czech Diplomatic Mission to the United States.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes [2014] (PG-13 / A-III - 3 1/2 Stars) - Second film in the current reboot of the Planet of the Apes film franchise, it continues its reflection / challenge to contemporary prejudices / race relations.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes [2014] (PG-13 / A-III - 3 1/2 Stars) - Second film in the current reboot of the Planet of the Apes film franchise, it continues its reflection / challenge to contemporary prejudices / race relations.

Mother Joan of the Angels (orig. Matka Joanna od Aniolów) [1961] (UR would be PG-13 - 3 1/2 Stars) - One of the latter films shown in Martin Scorsese’s film series on Polish Cinema, set sometime in the 1600s at an Ursuline Convent somewhere in the southern, Carpathian mountains of Poland, the film runs like a Polish version of “In the Name of the Rose”

Mother Joan of the Angels (orig. Matka Joanna od Aniolów) [1961] (UR would be PG-13 - 3 1/2 Stars) - One of the latter films shown in Martin Scorsese’s film series on Polish Cinema, set sometime in the 1600s at an Ursuline Convent somewhere in the southern, Carpathian mountains of Poland, the film runs like a Polish version of “In the Name of the Rose”

Gore Vidal: United States of Amnesia [2013] (R - 3 1/2 Stars) - Fun, documentary tribute to a very articulate if challenging (liberal, gay, atheist) thinker.

Gore Vidal: United States of Amnesia [2013] (R - 3 1/2 Stars) - Fun, documentary tribute to a very articulate if challenging (liberal, gay, atheist) thinker.

Begin Again [2014] (PG-13 / A-III - 4 Stars) - Okay the best “little movie” in a while: A washed-up “small independent label” record producer (Mark Ruffalo) comes staggering-drunk into an East-Village folk-bar in Manhattan after being fired from the record company that he helped found, hears a singer-songwriter (Keira Knightly) who’s just been epically dumped by her similarly singer-songwriter boyfriend (Adam Levine) _the very instant_ after he got his first big break, sing a desperately angry/sad song and … the record producer “finds hope” ;-). This is a movie for anyone who loves music and especially THE LYRICS BEHIND THEM and who’s ever even remotely “been there.” A movie about yes “beginning again.”

Begin Again [2014] (PG-13 / A-III - 4 Stars) - Okay the best “little movie” in a while: A washed-up “small independent label” record producer (Mark Ruffalo) comes staggering-drunk into an East-Village folk-bar in Manhattan after being fired from the record company that he helped found, hears a singer-songwriter (Keira Knightly) who’s just been epically dumped by her similarly singer-songwriter boyfriend (Adam Levine) _the very instant_ after he got his first big break, sing a desperately angry/sad song and … the record producer “finds hope” ;-). This is a movie for anyone who loves music and especially THE LYRICS BEHIND THEM and who’s ever even remotely “been there.” A movie about yes “beginning again.”

Tammy [2014] (R / A-III - 3 Stars) - Fun Melissa McCarthy vehicle and not without its point. Whiny / childish Tammy (McCarthy) along with her alcoholic gramms Pearl (Susan Sarandon) finds that she has to grow-up and take responsibility for her life. And who’s her teacher — her lesbo Aunt Lenore (Cathy Bates) who finally reminds Tammy that “Guess what? Life’s hard / now grow up.” How can one not applaud a simple and heartfelt (if at times painful) message like that?

Tammy [2014] (R / A-III - 3 Stars) - Fun Melissa McCarthy vehicle and not without its point. Whiny / childish Tammy (McCarthy) along with her alcoholic gramms Pearl (Susan Sarandon) finds that she has to grow-up and take responsibility for her life. And who’s her teacher — her lesbo Aunt Lenore (Cathy Bates) who finally reminds Tammy that “Guess what? Life’s hard / now grow up.” How can one not applaud a simple and heartfelt (if at times painful) message like that?

Deliver Us From Evil [2014] (R / A-III - 0 Stars) - A film about a NYPD Sargent who gets involved in demonic inspired cases / exorcisms would certainly have an enormous appeal to parishioners, especially in a parish like my own, where SO MANY of the parishioners work for Chicago’s police and fire departments. BUT HONESTLY find and read his book. IT IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE MOVIE. With the exception of keeping NYPD Sgt Sarchie’s name and police affiliation ALMOST EVERYTHING ELSE IN THIS FILM IS THE SCREENWRITERS’ INVENTION. And it’s sad, because his stories in the book were great, authentic and _authentically voiced_. The Sgt. Sarchie of reality is an articulate conservative / traditionalist Catholic as one would expect an officer who gets involved in these kind of stories to be. In the Hollywood version, he’s something else AND SO IS EVERYONE ELSE AROUND HIM. Silly, stupid, unfortunate, sad.

Deliver Us From Evil [2014] (R / A-III - 0 Stars) - A film about a NYPD Sargent who gets involved in demonic inspired cases / exorcisms would certainly have an enormous appeal to parishioners, especially in a parish like my own, where SO MANY of the parishioners work for Chicago’s police and fire departments.

BUT HONESTLY find and read his book. IT IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE MOVIE. With the exception of keeping NYPD Sgt Sarchie’s name and police affiliation ALMOST EVERYTHING ELSE IN THIS FILM IS THE SCREENWRITERS’ INVENTION.

And it’s sad, because his stories in the book were great, authentic and _authentically voiced_.

The Sgt. Sarchie of reality is an articulate conservative / traditionalist Catholic as one would expect an officer who gets involved in these kind of stories to be. In the Hollywood version, he’s something else AND SO IS EVERYONE ELSE AROUND HIM. Silly, stupid, unfortunate, sad.

The Last Day of Summer (orig. Ostatni Dzień Lata) [1958] (UR would be PG-13 - 3 1/2 Stars) - A thoughtful piece, part of Martin scorsese’s series on Polish Cinema.  Set on the Baltic coast, sometime in the 1950s, it runs something along the lines of a Polish “From Here to Eternity”

The Last Day of Summer (orig. Ostatni Dzień Lata) [1958] (UR would be PG-13 - 3 1/2 Stars) - A thoughtful piece, part of Martin scorsese’s series on Polish Cinema.  Set on the Baltic coast, sometime in the 1950s, it runs something along the lines of a Polish “From Here to Eternity”

Night Train (orig. Pociąg) [1959] (UR would be PG-13 - 4 Stars) - Part of Martin Scorsese’s series on Polish Cinema, set on an overnight train from presumably Warsaw to the Baltic Coast it’s something of an homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train” but arguably deeper.

Night Train (orig. Pociąg) [1959] (UR would be PG-13 - 4 Stars) - Part of Martin Scorsese’s series on Polish Cinema, set on an overnight train from presumably Warsaw to the Baltic Coast it’s something of an homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train” but arguably deeper.