Chicago Reader | movies by mg

movies

  1. Capitalism: A Love Story

    Michael Moore catalogs some of the more grotesque outrages of the second Gilded Age: the predatory lending that led to the 2008…

  2. About Baghdad

    Shot in July 2003, this collectively made video documentary is by far the most comprehensive account I've seen of how Iraqis view…

  3. After Hours

    Martin Scorsese transforms a debilitating convention of 80s comedy—absurd underreaction to increasingly bizarre and threatening situations—into a rich, wincingly funny metaphysical farce…

  4. American Casino

    In terms of monetary scale, no heist thriller could ever compete with this probing documentary about the subprime mortgage scandal and the…

  5. American Violet

    A state-of-the-art Hollywood issue drama, with strong performances all around and a script that digs deep into the problems of criminal justice…

  6. The Dilemma

    A Chicago small business owner (Vince Vaughn), sweating a deadline for a big deal, can't decide whether to tell his stressed-out partner…

  7. Another Year

    Both Mike Leigh and Woody Allen make movies about people encased in their unhappiness; the difference is that Leigh honors his characters'…

  8. Blue Valentine

    Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling tear up the screen as mismatched lovers, shown in alternating sequences as a giddy young couple forging…

  9. Rabbit Hole

    Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart star as a husband and wife inconsolable after the death of their young son. Adapted by David…

  10. On the Bowery

    Inspired by The Bicycle Thief, New York filmmaker Lionel Rogosin set out to make a neo-realist drama on the city's skid row,…

  11. Black Swan

    After the critical and commercial success of The Wrestler, writer-director Darren Aronofsky pivots from the wrestling ring to the ballet studio, and…

  12. True Grit

    Charles Portis's wonderful comic novel True Grit (1968) had the combined fortune and misfortune of being instantly made into a John Wayne…

  13. Biutiful

    Javier Bardem cuts a tragic figure as a dying Barcelona lowlife who traffics in illegal immigrants and communes with the dead. Alejandro…

  14. The Interrupters

    Director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, Stevie) and longtime friend Alex Kotlowitz (author of the best seller There Are No Children Here) produced…

  15. Urbanized

    Filmmaker Gary Hustwit presents the last in a trilogy of pop documentaries about the endless reach of modern design into our daily…

  16. The Ides of March

    "Republicans hate the beginning of the movie, Democrats hate the end," George Clooney recently told USA Today. "So we're good." That dichotomy…

  17. 50/50

    Young people battling cancer aren't exactly a staple of movie comedy, but this nervy project from director Jonathan Levine (The Wackness) mines…

  18. Take Shelter

    A molar-grinding performance from Michael Shannon anchors this slow but ultimately haunting drama. He plays a modest, plainspoken working man in small-town…

  19. Unstoppable

    After human error sends a 39-car freight train, unmanned and loaded with toxic chemicals, racing through southern Pennsylvania, a couple of working…

  20. The Next Three Days

    A Pittsburgh college professor (Russell Crowe) reels as his wife (Elizabeth Banks) is arrested, tried, and convicted of having murdered her boss;…

  21. Disgrace

    Adapted from an acclaimed novel by J.M. Coetzee, this 2008 Australian feature stars John Malkovich as a hard-hearted white professor whose aggressive…

    mg says:

    Adapted from an acclaimed novel by J.M. Coetzee, this 2008 Australian feature stars John Malkovich as a hard-hearted white professor whose aggressive seduction of a mixed-race student gets him fired from his college in Cape Town, South Africa. He retreats to the rough terrain of his daughter’s farm on the eastern Cape, where a brutal attack on him and his daughter (Jessica Haines) and an unexpected friendship with the dowdy woman who runs the local animal shelter (Fiona Press) prod him toward a greater self-awareness. The movie eventually begins to wilt under the sober, plodding direction of Steve Jacobs, but the thoughtful screenplay gives Malkovich a complex, increasingly reflective character arc that he plays with great feeling, making the professor’s redemption seem honestly won. R, 120 min.

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  22. Inglourious Basterds

    Quentin Tarantino's long-awaited action flick (2009) isn't a World War II movie—it's a movie about World War II movies and, by extension,…

    mg says:

    Quentin Tarantino’s long-awaited action flick isn’t a World War II movie—it’s a movie about World War II movies and, by extension, how the Third Reich has become a beloved fixture of American pop culture. One story line riffs on The Dirty Dozen and its ilk, with Brad Pitt as a Tennessee cracker leading a squad of Jewish-American badasses on a search-and-destroy mission through Nazi-occupied France. The other stars Melanie Laurent as the secretly Jewish proprietor of a Parisian movie palace who’s plotting to incinerate the German high command at the premiere screening of a Nazi propaganda epic. Tarantino has already caught some flack for daring to use the Holocaust as material for another of his bloody live-action cartoons, but of course the generation that experienced it for real has mostly faded away. In that sense Inglourious Basterds is a social marker as startling as Easy Rider was in its day

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  23. The Providence Effect

    Unlike its subject—Chicago's revolutionary prep school Providence St. Mel—this uplifting documentary breaks no new ground stylistically, but the story it tells is…

    mg says:

    Unlike its subject—Chicago's revolutionary prep school Providence St. Mel—this uplifting documentary breaks no new ground stylistically, but the story it tells is urgent and compelling. In 1978 the school's then principal, one-time civil rights activist Paul Adams III, saved the former Catholic academy from being shuttered when he spearheaded a massive fundraising drive and reopened the school as a nonprofit private institution serving at-risk students on the west side. His extraordinarily successful teaching methods—instilling self-confidence and a love of learning through rigorous work, a student-centered approach, and a commitment to service—is thrilling, as are the youngsters who bloom before the camera. Rollin Binzer (Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones) directed. PG, 93 min.

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  24. Please Give

    The witty and perceptive writer-director Nicole Holofcener (Walking and Talking, Lovely & Amazing, Friends With Money) delivers her best feature yet, a…

  25. Babies

    Imagine one long, stupefying montage of all the home videos you've ever had to watch of your friends' tiny offspring, edited without…

  26. Harry Brown

    Michael Caine stars as an old-age pensioner in a hellish London council estate who turns vigilante after his best friend is murdered…

  27. The Killer Inside Me

    Shape-shifting British director Michael Winterbottom—whose filmography ranges from rock comedy (24 Hour Party People) to harsh social drama (In This World) to…

    mg says:

    Shape-shifting British director Michael Winterbottom—whose filmography ranges from rock comedy (24 Hour Party People) to harsh social drama (In This World) to literary postmodernism (Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story) to sexual rhapsody (9 Songs)—takes on the uniquely searching and sinister pulp fiction of Jim Thompson. This adaptation of Thompson’s 1952 novel about a cunning, psychotic sheriff’s deputy in a small Texas town locates the killer inside him and immerses us in the cold calculation and horrible logic that pull him from one murder to the next. In the end, his deadliest weapon turns out to be other people’s trust, something with grimmer philosophical implications than all his acts of violence combined. With Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, Ned Beatty, and Simon Baker.

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  28. Inception

    Does this thing come with a manual? British writer-director Christopher Nolan first made a name for himself with the noirish brainteaser Memento…

    mg says:

    christopher nolan

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  29. Best Web Site for Film Buffs

    Cine-File

  30. Best Alternative Film Venue

    The Nightingale

  31. Easy A

    For all its homages to John Hughes, this wily send-up of adolescent angst owes more to John Waters and Amy Heckerling (Clueless)…

    mg says:

    For all its homages to John Hughes, this wily send-up of adolescent angst owes more to John Waters and Amy Heckerling (Clueless). Emma Stone stars as a high school virgin whose white lie about a one-night stand instantly sparks widespread and vindictive gossip; figuring she has nothing to lose, she helps some of her male classmates to raise their dismal social standing by pretending to have hooked up with them. The loony rapid-fire dialogue by first-time screenwriter Bert V. Royal overcomes the plot weaknesses; the Ojai, California, setting is both Edenic and familiar; and the cast fires on all burners. Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson twinkle as the girl's supportive, eccentric parents, and director Will Gluck (Fired Up!) shows wicked comic timing and uncommon warmth in an overworked genre

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  32. The Social Network

    The founding of Facebook becomes a tale for our times in this masterful social drama by David Fincher (Fight Club, Zodiac). Adapted…

  33. The Town

    Ben Affleck's feature directing debut, Gone Baby Gone (2007), achieved a tragic depth unusual for a crime film because the child at…

  34. Waiting for "Superman"

    Distributed by Paramount, this documentary about the public education crisis isn't as smart or rigorous as Bob Bowdon's shoestring production The Cartel,…

  35. Bliss

    Movies dealing with the Islamist subjugation of women are usually documentaries or bleak social dramas, so I was somewhat taken aback to…

  36. Fair Game

    You'd have to go back to All the President's Men (1976) for a better example of fresh American political scandal being turned…

  37. La Danse—The Paris Opera Ballet

    Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman applies his famously organic storytelling style to the Paris Opera Ballet, and the result is a dance film…

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