Archive for August, 2009

A randy Andy? What would Aunt Bea say?

Friday, August 28th, 2009
Andy Griffith and Doris Roberts in "Play the Game" Joe (Andy Griffith) goes looking for romance but falls for the already-attached Rose (Doris Roberts) in “Play the Game.”


Sheriff Andy Taylor discussing alternate sexual practices with a woman sans her dentures?

Say it ain’t so, Andy!

What’s next?

Aunt Bea in a G-string? Opie doing opium? Gomer Pyle starring in a porn flick?

Excuse me while I de-hyperventilate.

All right, I know I should realize Andy Griffith is just an actor like all other actors.

But he’s not, really. (Read more…)

Online documentary ‘Motherland’ covers brutal terrain

Friday, August 28th, 2009

In Jennifer Steinman’s online documentary “Motherland,” six American women go on a mission of mercy to South Africa where they work with hundreds of children orphaned by poverty, pestilence and rampant AIDS.

But that’s not the real reason they have come.

They have come to these remote South African villages seeking solace and healing. Not rated (suitable for mature audiences). 80 minutes. (Read more…)

Not playing in local theaters. Exclusively on the Web at E-tickets cost $2.99 for three days of viewing. Go to for details.

Lee’s ‘Woodstock’ weak, banal, band-less

Thursday, August 27th, 2009
Demetri Martin in "Taking Woodstock" Elliot (Demetri Martin), right, gets sidetracked on his way to the big show by a couple of happy LSD campers in the fact-based “Taking Woodstock.”

“Taking Woodstock,” Ang Lee’s hippy trip down memory lane to the biggest block party in the Age of Aquarius, offers a clever running gag about the young man responsible for making the Woodstock event happen.

Every time that Elliot Teichberg (comedian Demetri Martin) tries to catch some onstage action with Jimi Hendrix, The Who or Joan Baez, his crazy mom distracts him, or he gets sidetracked by a sexually liberated couple in a minivan, or general mayhem breaks out and he has to deal with it.

So, Elliot misses the party.

Likewise, “Taking Woodstock” misses the boat. (Or should that be yellow submarine?)

“Taking Woodstock” is a pleasant, amusing behind-the-scenes story of how the music phenomenon came into existence. But its meager payoffs come in small doses. A couple of showcase sequences highlight the film, along with an obligatory acid trip, and a freakishly perfect supporting role by Eugene Levy as Max Yasgur, the owner of the Woodstock pasture. (Read more…)

“Dann & Raymond’s Movie Club” outing

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

“Off to see the Wizard: Fantasy Goes to the Movies”

Dann Gire and Raymond BensonJoin Dann Gire (film critic of Chicago’s suburban newspaper THE DAILY HERALD, as well as the founder and president of the Chicago Film Critics Association, and adjunct instructor at Aurora and Harper Colleges in Illinois) and Raymond Benson (novelist, author of 20 books, former official author of James Bond books, film historian, and Film History instructor at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois) as they discuss the greatest fantasy films ever made, with clips from “The Wizard of Oz,” “Jason and the Argonauts,” “Babe,” “King Kong” plus 14 others. See Schaumburg Township District Library for more details.

Cost: Free

THURSDAY, Sept. 3, 7:30pm
AV Wing
Schaumburg Township District Library
130 S. Roselle Road
Schaumburg, Illinios

‘It Might Get Loud’

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Anyone who loves electric guitars, anyone who’s played electric guitars, heck, anyone who’s even played electric air guitars will appreciate Davis Guggenheim’s fresh documentary about rock’s premiere instrument. Guggenheim interviews Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White, who eventually get around to making a slice of history with a jam session. Rated: PG. 98 minutes. (Read more…)

Now playing at the Century Centre in Chicago, Renaissance Place in Highland Park and CineArts 6 in Evanston.

‘I Bring What I Love’

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Part biography, part concert movie, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s “Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love” is a meandering, journalistically one-sided look at Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour, whose album “Egypt” was branded blasphemy by his countrymen for presenting the Islamic faith in pop music. Rated: PG. 102 minutes. (Read more…)

Starts Friday, Aug. 28 at the Music Box Theater in Chicago.

Third Teen Film Festival

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Join Dann for an evening of Northwest suburban teens armed with digital cameras as we present the winners in the third annual Teen Film Fest. Dann will be there to critique the works of budding Spielbergs and host a brief Q&A with the directors. For information go to

Cost: Free

Friday, August 21, 7:00 p.m.
Hendrickson Room
Arlington Heights Memorial Library
500 N. Dunton Ave.
Arlington Heights

‘Weather Girl’

Friday, August 21st, 2009

A Seattle TV weather girl (producer Tricia O’Kelley) freaks out on-camera about her co-host lover (a perfectly pompous Mark Harmon) cheating on her. She winds up in her little brother’s crowded apartment with no prospects for romance or employment. Rated R (language). 93 minutes. (Read more…)

Now playing at the Pipers Alley Theaters in Chicago.

‘Cold Souls’

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Sophie Barthes’ clever capitalism satire never quite achieves the erudite flair of a Charlie Kaufman brain gouge, but Paul Giamatti’s comically agonized performance as himself keeps the dark humor immediate and funny. Giamatti pays to have his soul extracted so he can better perform Chekhov. PG-13 (nudity, language). 101 minutes. (Read more…)

Now playing at the Century Centre in Chicago and Renaissance Place in Highland Park.

Powerful acting, stark images propel ‘Fifty Dead Men Walking’

Friday, August 21st, 2009
Jim Sturgess and Ben Kingsley in "Fifty Dead Men Walking" Martin McGartland (Jim Sturgess) gets recruited by Fergus (Ben Kingsley) to spy on the IRA in “Fifty Dead Men Walking.”

Kari Skogland’s fact-based thriller “Fifty Dead Men Walking” is a gritty, character-driven throwback to Sidney Lumet’s 1973 fact-based undercover cop drama “Serpico,” this time without the cop.

The unlikely undercover agent here is a street hustler in 1988 Belfast, Ireland, the center of violent political clashes between the Irish Republican Army and the British soldiers occupying the city.

Like “Serpico,” “Fifty Dead Men Walking” begins with the shooting of the main character, here, Martin McGartland, taking six bullets from a would-be assassin.

Appealing English actor Jim Sturgess plays Martin as a conflicted soul constantly drawn into suspenseful circumstances.

The IRA could discover his treachery at any moment! (Read more…)