Cool Apocalypse in the Press


My film Cool Apocalypse screens at the Gene Siskel Film Center on Saturday, November 21, at 8pm and Monday, November 23, at 8:15pm. I will be on hand along with producer Clare Kosinski and members of the cast for Q&As after both screenings. Here is a roundup of some of our notable mentions in the press this week.

  • Donald Liebenson profiled us at
  • Ray Pride reviewed us — and made us a “Recommended” screening — at Newcity Chicago.
  • Scott Pfeiffer has a thoughtful and detailed analysis at his Moving World blog.
  • Ian Simmons implores his readers to attend our Siskel Center screenings at Kicking the Seat.
  • Lew Ojeda gave us a nice write-up at The Underground Multiplex.
  • David J. Fowlie has an insightful rave at Keeping It Reel.
  • Pam Powell gave us our first official print review with this nice piece at The Daily Journal.
  • Leo Brady says he’d feel alright watching our movie if the end of the world was on its way at A Movie Guy.
  • And finally, because Cine-File Chicago’s “Cine-List” will not be posted on their website this week (and is only being sent out via e-mail instead), here’s Kian S. Bergstrom’s Cine-File review of Cool Apocalypse in its entirety:

“Michael Glover Smith’s COOL APOCALYPSE (New American)
Gene Siskel Film Center – Saturday, 8pm and Monday, 8:15pm

CRUCIAL VIEWING. Early into COOL APOCALYPSE, two of the four main characters appear on a CTA train, the windows washed out by light. He, Paul, is reading Hawthorne’s Twice Told Tales in paperback; she, Julie, is reading an unseen title on a Kindle. They’re facing opposite directions, and a man sits between them, gazing out at the Chicago skyline and listening to music, earbuds jammed tightly into his head. His shirt is emblazoned with the slogan ‘Real Life Recess: Real Life Can Wait.’ We will never see the mystery man again—he doesn’t even appear in the end credits. The shot lasts just a few short seconds, but it is the heart of the movie. The characters in COOL APOCALYPSE are all waiting for their lives to start, are all pending in important ways, are all on recesses of different kinds. They dwell within their city but do not experience it, going only to restaurants they’ve already been to, driving each other on long-delayed errands, circling the block rather than parking, looking out at the lake through glass, at the world from a porch, at other people through camera lenses. Paul, an unpublished writer, makes coffee using a French press, listening to the same album on vinyl every morning, proudly doesn’t own a computer, and works at a used book store ‘just to pay the bills.’ His roommate, Claudio, is an unemployed videographer nursing a bitter streak and holding on to a desperate hope his far more successful fashion journalist ex-girlfriend, Tess, will return to him. A day away from a three-month assignment in Italy, Tess earns her living by ambushing strangers on the street with a camera crew and asking them about their clothes. Finally, Julie, a receptionist at a women’s health clinic next door to Paul’s bookstore, is a compulsive list-maker with a detailed set of criteria, under constant revision, for who ‘the man of her dreams’ might be. Over the course of COOL APOCALYPSE, a simple, elegant set of scenes plays out, usually at great length, as Julie and Paul meet, Paul invites Julie to the farewell dinner Claudio is making for Tess, and Claudio attempts to woo Tess back to his bed. On the surface, the interactions are charming: unforced, vulnerable, and sincere. But at all times there is the aura of helplessness, of miscommunication and misunderstanding. Tess and Claudio may still love each other, but can never be together; Paul and Claudio’s relationship devolves into threats and silence; Tess and Julie share an intimate moment, but one marked stylistically as an important aberration; Julie and Paul may feel a connection growing, but it is a curtailed, stunted one, a doom signaled in two different ways (the subtext of a song, the geography of a kiss). In that brief shot on the CTA near the beginning of the movie, Paul and Julie are lost to the world around them, lost to the city they live in, broken in two by a man they’ll never know. It’s all over between them and they haven’t even met yet. Michael Glover Smith, a film critic and first-time-feature writer-director, fills his frames with unsettling, eerie compositions, making the familiar north-side setting a space of discomfort, awkwardness, and off-kilter rhythms, and his actors, especially Julie’s Nina Ganet and Tess’s Chelsea David, build their characters in disarming, self-aware gestures, expressions, and line-readings, always balancing exactly between the naturalistic and the forced. A strong debut for a major new talent. Smith and select cast and crew in person at both screenings. (2014, 72 min., DCP Digital) KB”

You can purchase tickets for the Siskel Center screenings online here. Hope to see some of you there!


About michaelgloversmith

Filmmaker, author and Film Studies instructor. View all posts by michaelgloversmith

6 responses to “Cool Apocalypse in the Press

  • Jonathan Hourigan

    Congratulations Michael,


  • atlasmv

    Bravo Michael!
    Will try to check it out at Siskel. Enjoyed Fowlie’s review, sounds interesting. Hopefully it’ll be available on SVOD too.

  • John Juodvalkis

    I don’t know if you recognized me or not but i was in the front row for Saturday’s show, I took my brother/roommate along and both of us thought the movie was great. My brother isn’t as nearly as much of a movie fan as I am, but he had a lot of praise for your film and talked a lot about it afterwards( he said that he wants to see your next film too so I know he genuinely liked it).
    Anyways, I was going to ask a question at the q&a session but it slipped my mind as the session went on, so outta curiososity I’m going to ask here;
    Was the beginning of the movie inspired by/ a referential nod to the movie Before Sunset? Both had the male authors talking about books and then they see the girl standing in the background smiling at him? If so I am gonna give myself a pat on the back for noticing it

    • michaelgloversmith

      Hey John, I did see you and I thought that was you but I wasn’t 100% sure! I’m so glad you made it out and brought your brother. The beginning of the film was actually not inspired by BEFORE SUNSET (at least not consciously) but you know how much I admire Linklater so it makes me happy that that scene put you in the mind of that particular film. Thanks so much again for coming – hopefully, we’ll have time to chat next time!

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