Chicago Critics Film Festival 2023 Preview: Chicago Premieres of Acclaimed Films from Around the World | Festivals & Awards

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FRIDAY, MAY 5th

7PM: “BLACKBERRY” (includes Q&A with star/writer/director Matt Johnson)

Johnson paces “Blackberry” like that rocket. It moves quickly without being overly stylized, clicking through dialogue and character instead of cheap tricks. We’ve seen a lot of movies about tech nostalgia lately (the far-inferior “Tetris” premiered across town at the same fest), but Johnson doesn’t resort to easy choices. The film is a tad long, but he’s also shoving in a ton of story, and I love his extended cast, including brief turns from Cary Elwes, Rich Sommer, Michael Ironside, and more. “Blackberry” is a smart movie about smart people who were destroyed by a dumb system that eats people like Mike Lazaridis alive. – Brian Tallerico (from SXSW)

9:45PM: “SANCTUARY”

Qualley seems to just get better each time out. Her work in “Maid” was spectacular, and this is arguably her best film performance to date, refusing to lean into clichés about sex workers and finding such complex range in this fascinating character, someone who may be the hired employee in this dynamic but has all the control. Yes, Hal pays Rebecca, and even writes the scripts, but she knows exactly how to push his buttons. Even if you’re paying someone to pull your strings, they’re doing the actual pulling. And Qualley totally nails a part that’s much harder than it looks, making Rebecca sly, sexy, and riveting. Abbott matches her in every beat, and it’s the chemistry between the two that really gives the film its kinetic energy. There’s something so thrilling about watching two performers play a tennis match of performance like this, made better by the athleticism of their opponent. – Brian Tallerico (from TIFF)

12AM: “DARK CITY”

The poignancy of “Dark City” emerges in its love stories. At a crucial point, John Murdoch tells Emma, “Everything you remember, and everything I’m supposed to remember, never really happened.” Emma doesn’t think that can be true. “I so vividly remember meeting you,” she says. “I remember falling in love with you.” Yes, she remembers. But this is the first time they have met. “I love you, John,” she says. “You can’t fake something like that.” And Murdoch says, “No, you can’t.” You can inform someone who they love, and that is what the Strangers have done with their memory injection. But what she feels cannot be injected. That is the part the strangers do not understand. Emma has a small role but it is at the heart of the movie, because she truly knows love; John has still to discover it — to learn about it from her. – Roger Ebert

Sumber: www.rogerebert.com

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