Day: October 6, 2011

Chicago Intnernational Film Festival: The Last Rites of Joe May

For out of towners, Chicago may not seem like much of a film city (Batman and Superman beg to differ). But really, there’s no easier city to film in… at least physically filming. Don’t get my ass started on permits and shit.

Anyway, opening the festival tonight is The Last Rites of Joe May, staring Law and Order’s Dennis Farina (a Chicago native) as an aging small time crook who comes out of a long stay in the hospital to find his entire life has been basically taken from him. All his stuff gone.

He eventually ends up sharing an apartment with the unit’s new owner, a woman named Jenny (Jamie Anne Allman) and her daughter.

This is where the movie begins to falter a bit.

Enter abusive boyfriend. You know where this is going.

Not that there’s anything truly wrong with this. There are just stronger, more original ways this story could have gone. Nonetheless, lots of strong performances going on here, mostly on Dennis’ part.

Although it reaches a VERY obvious conclusion, I wasn’t at all disappointed in the film at all. It did exactly what it was supposed to do.

Is it a good movie? Yes. Is it opening night good? I dunno, depends on what you’re into. That said, it’s always good to have things film in Chicago. But this is really an article for another day. But I’m sure you know what I’m thinking.

Check it out On Demand later this month.

B+

Chicago International Film Festival: My Week With Marilyn

I had my doubts about Michelle Williams playing Ms. Monroe.

I hope she will accept my apology for my dumbassness.

Simon Curtus directs a downright stellar cast including Toby Jones, Dominic Copper, Judi Dench, and even post “Harry Potter” Emma Watson.

It follows the memoirs of a then your Colin Clark and the short time he spent getting to know Ms. Monroe… learning about her childhood as well as her strange habits and drug abuse as they worked on Laurence Oliver’s “The Prince and the Showgirl.”

There’s truly never a dull moment here, start to finish. We’re given an intimate look at every moment of Marilyn’s day, her handlers. etc. We also see a young Colin Clark being totally starstruck at all times, because… well, who wouldn’t be?

It can be hard to film with a difficult actor. But I have a lot more respect for directors after seeing some of what I saw. We were getting towards David Fincher numbers with the amount of takes (note: That’s A lot).

The film ends on a very somber, but very happy note. Which you normally don’t see from big biopics such as this. I guess that’s what makes it so special to me.

The Oscar race has started. And if this is any indecation on how this season’s gonna go… it’s gonna be a fun one.

A+