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'Tony Conrad' review: Underground Film Fest kicks off with tender doc

Now 23, the Chicago Underground Film Festival begins Wednesday at the Logan Theatre with a sharp, sweet, eloquent documentary about the merriest, most artistically expansive minimalist on record: musician, educator, activist Tony Conrad. The violinist's trancelike droning technique ("the first...

  • 'Alice Through the Looking Glass' review: An uninspired trip

    'Alice Through the Looking Glass' review: An uninspired trip

    When Tim Burton's 2010 live-action version of "Alice in Wonderland" raked in a billion dollars there was no question that Disney would pounce on the opportunity for a sequel. Helpfully, Lewis Carroll did write a second book about Alice and her adventures in Wonderland, "Through the Looking-Glass,"...

  • 'Tale of Tales' review: Selma Hayek plays the queen in lackluster fantasy

    'Tale of Tales' review: Selma Hayek plays the queen in lackluster fantasy

    One of the of the earliest and grisliest scenes in "Tale of Tales," a fitfully entrancing English-language fantasy from the Italian writer-director Matteo Garrone, is what you might call an offal sight: A queen (played by a severe-looking Salma Hayek) sits in an all-white room, devouring the heart...

  • 'Sunset Song' review: Terence Davies nimbly adapts beloved Scottish novel

    'Sunset Song' review: Terence Davies nimbly adapts beloved Scottish novel

    In the end, we bid fare-thee-well to it all. So much of what we read and watch, story after story, drifts back to corners of the world we cannot find anymore, and to borrow the "Heaven's Gate" poster tag line, "the things that fade." Is our attraction to the long goodbye mere cheap nostalgia or...

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  • 'Neighbors 2' review: Sorority girls gone wild vs. Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne

    'Neighbors 2' review: Sorority girls gone wild vs. Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne

    Two years ago, "Neighbors" writers Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O'Brien, along with director Nicholas Stoller, reinvented the classic college party movie by pitting the frat guys against the young parents next door. It was a raunchy but sweet rumination on getting older and growing out of party...

  • 'Angry Birds' review: Feather-light charmer provides backstory for avian fury

    'Angry Birds' review: Feather-light charmer provides backstory for avian fury

    If you've ever played the mobile video game Angry Birds, you might have found yourself wondering — why am I sling-shotting cartoon birds at grinning green pigs? Why are these birds so angry? What have the pigs done to deserve this destruction? "Angry Birds," the movie, is here to fill in that backstory,...

  • 'Love & Friendship' review: Kate Beckinsale steals the show in Austen adaptation

    'Love & Friendship' review: Kate Beckinsale steals the show in Austen adaptation

    Whit Stillman's "Love & Friendship" is compact, modestly budgeted, sublimely acted and almost completely terrific. It'll likely disorient the average Jane Austen fanatic, which is nice, too. The writer-director of "Metropolitan," "Barcelona," "The Last Days of Disco" and "Damsels in Distress" has...

  • 'The Nice Guys' review: Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe buddy up for action comedy

    'The Nice Guys' review: Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe buddy up for action comedy

    At one point in "The Nice Guys," the disheveled, half-drunk private eye played by Ryan Gosling falls off a Hollywood Hills balcony, rolls down the hill and comes to rest inches away from one of the film's many corpses. Gosling's reaction? Bust out the best Lou Costello (of Abbott and Costello,...

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