50th Chicago International Film Festival Report: Reviews 1-5

Chicago Film Festival Screening #01 Review: Rudderless-P
“Rudderless”, starring Billy Crudup and directed by W.H.Macy.

Staying away from any plot points, this is a small and heartbreaking film about the nature of memory and loss. Crudup has never been better and Macy’s direction is solid and unobtrusive. And the music, which is central to the film’s point, is honest, earnest and believably good, as are all the secondary characters. I’m sure it will end up in limited release and I suggest you go see it when it does. Crudup should be considered in award season.
Trailer here.

Chicago Film Festival Screening #02 Review: the fool
“The Fool” (Russia) directed by Yury Bykov

Never dull, if occasionally a little too obvious in it’s symbolism, this is a taut little thriller about a corrupt city in Russia. It is VERY Russian, with acting that we might call over-the-top, but based on my recent interaction with ex-pat Russians, is probably pretty natural in reality. It is bleak, pessimistic, sardonic, and strangely beautiful. Definitely worth seeing if it somehow comes to your ‘burg – although I doubt it will – if for no other reason than to see how far a film can go in criticizing the current structure of municipal government in post-Soviet Russia (and, yet, was somehow partially funded by Russia’s governmental film agency).
Trailer here.

Chicago Film Festival Screening #03 Review:fort_tilden_credit_marielle_solan
“Fort Tilden” directed by Charles Rodgers & Sarah Violet Bliss

An obnoxious comedy about an obnoxious day in the life of two obnoxious Williamsburg hipster gals. That said, if you’re aware of the species, then you’ll find much of the dialogue amusing. So…to sum up…if you aren’t personally aware of what has happened to Brooklyn due to social media, don’t bother. Or maybe catch it on Netflix in six months or so.
Teaser here.

Chicago Film Festival Screening #04 Review:ablations
“Ablations” (France) directed by Arnold du Pascau

This had all the trappings of a killer old-school French thriller. Really cool premise, typically good looking cast giving typically smoldering performances with lots of cigarette smoking. But, ay yay yay, the director REALLY wanted to show you how much he knows about directing. Just get the hell out of the way!! As a result, I cannot recommend this flick to anyone other than film direction students.
Trailer here.

Chicago Film Festival Screening #05 Review:salvation-3
“The Salvation” (Denmark) Starring Mads Mikkelson and directed by Kristian Levring

YAY!! Don’t let the countryof origin fool you, this is a real Western! Not a sort of western…but a truly, old-fashioned American Western. Fantastic cast, incredible photography, and a nice twist on the iconic plot. Mikkelson is just friggin’ great in EVERYTHING he’s in (check out last year’s Oscar-nommed “The Hunt” on Netflix). Even the score, which lifts every Ennio lick ever written, is spot on. It has it’s problems (especially when it tries to emulate the Sergio Leone habit of fitting the story in to an historical event – feels REALLY forced here), but if you dig Westerns, don’t miss this film when it gets a wider release.
Trailer here (R-Rated).

Originally written 10/10 – 10/14/2014

2 thoughts on “50th Chicago International Film Festival Report: Reviews 1-5

  1. Cruddup was excellent – always solid. Too many false notes and predictable melodramatics prevented this from being great. The original songs are really good, but their function as a plot seemed to awkwardly contradict itself solely for the sake of creating a conflict to propel the story.

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