Monthly Archives: February 2016

WCCRH Episode 10: Irvine Welsh, Spring Film Festivals / Henry Gamble in Time Out


The 10th episode of the White City Cinema  Radio Hour is now online. First, I talk to critic Scott Pfeiffer about the Siskel Center’s EU Film Fest (with extended discussions of Chantal Akerman’s NO HOME MOVIE and Athina Rachel Tsangari’s CHEVALIER). Then I talk to Josh B Mabe about the impressive lineup of the Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival (of which he is head programmer). Finally, I talk to Irvine Welsh on the 20th anniversary of TRAINSPOTTING. Plus, snippets of songs by Iggy Pop, Minne Riperton and Lou Reed. You can listen online here.

I also have an interview with Stephen Cone (an edited transcript of our podcast interview) in Time Out Chicago. Chicagoans should read it then check out his great film HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY starring my homegirl Nina Ganet. It starts a weeklong run at the Gene Siskel Film Center tonight!


The Last Ten Movies I Saw

1. Citizen Kane (Welles)
2. Crimson Peak (Del Toro)
3. Eyes Without a Face (Franju)
4. Out 1 (Rivette)
5. L’Immortelle (Robbe-Grillet)
6. Black Mass (Cooper)
7. Bringing Up Baby (Hawks)
8. The Lady Eve (Sturges)
9. Out of the Past (Tourneur)
10. The Awful Truth (McCarey)

The Camera Obscura in the Reader / Carol in Time Out


I have a capsule review of the Argentinian melodrama The Camera Obscura in this week’s Chicago Reader. I did not much care for this mash-up of Now, Voyager and The Bridges of Madison County. Find out why here.

I also posted a transcript of an excerpt from my podcast interview with Oscar-nominated Carol-screenwriter Phyllis Nagy in Time Out (national edition – boo-yah). Check it out here. Or you can listen to the raw audio of our lengthy chat on episode nine of my podcast here. Root for Phyllis on Oscar night!

The Last Ten Movies I Saw

1. French Cancan (Renoir)
2. Age of Cannibals (Naber)
3. Chevalier (Tsangari)
4. The Girl King (Kaurismaki)
5. The Measure of a Man (Brize)
6. Liza, the Fox-Fairy (Mészáros)
7. The Fly (Cronenberg)
8. The Prosecutor, the Defender, the Father and His Son (Triffonova)
9. M (Lang)
10. Love Island (Zbanic)

Misconception in the Chicago Reader / Irvine Welsh at Time Out


I came of age as a cinephile when I moved to Chicago as an 18-year-old in 1993. Discovering Jonathan Rosenbaum’s reviews in the Chicago Reader and visiting the city’s second-run and arthouse theaters for the first time (many of which, like the Fine Arts, the Three Penny, the Village North and South, and the Biograph, no longer exist) were major eye-opening experiences for this boy from North Carolina. It wasn’t long before I settled into the routine of grabbing the Reader on Thursday morning, taking it to a diner and reading it from cover to cover while smoking cigarettes and drinking endless cups of coffee. This was the golden age of alternative weeklies; there wasn’t yet a website for everything, including most newspapers, and the print edition of the Reader consisted of four separate fat sections. I always started by flipping to the back of Section One to see if there was a new long-form review by Rosenbaum. If not, I opened Section Two and read all of the new capsule reviews for the week, circling with a pen all of the films I wanted to see. All of which is to provide context for why it’s somewhat surreal for me to note that I am now contributing to the Reader myself. My first piece is a capsule review of Marjorie Keller’s Misconception, which is screening in 16mm at the Siskel Center on Thursday, February 18. I hope Chicagoans will check out this essential experimental film. You can peep my review at the Reader‘s website here.

I also have an interview with Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh at Time Out Chicago. Welsh will appear with Sound Opinions hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot at the Music Box on Wednesday, February 17, to host a 20th-anniversary screening of the film. I almost turned down this assignment as I’ve never been a fan of the Trainspotting movie but I decided to give the novel a try and found that I loved it. I’m so glad this interview happened; Welsh is a prince of a guy. The full audio of the interview will appear on the next episode of my podcast (due out before the end of the month) but you can read a transcript of a brief excerpt at the Time Out site here.

The Last Ten Movies I Saw

1. Man with the Movie Camera (Vertov)
2. Man with the Movie Camera (Vertov)
3. A Man Escaped (Bresson)
4. The Witch (Eggers)
5. No Home Movie (Akerman)
6. Sunset Song (Davies)
7. A Touch of Zen (Hu)
8. Rosemary’s Baby (Polanski)
9. Trainspotting (Boyle)
10. Man with the Movie Camera (Vertov)

WCCRH Episode Nine: Stephen Cone and Phyllis Nagy


The ninth episode of the White City Cinema Radio Hour is now online and I’m calling this one our “Q Hugo” special: the guests are writer/director Stephen Cone, whose acclaimed Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party opens at the Gene Siskel Film Center at the end of the month, and esteemed playwright Phyllis Nagy, who wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay for Todd Haynes’ Carol, now playing in wide release. Joining me in chatting with both of these folks is critic Kat Sachs (Cine-File Chicago), who also becomes the show’s first repeat guest. You can stream the show for free on the newly redesigned Transistor website here. Thanks to Andy Miles for recording the interviews and Kat for co-hosting!


The Last Ten Movies I Saw

1. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Wiene)
2. Faust (Murnau)
3. Jour de Fete (Tati)
4. Camera Obscura (Menis)
5. The Assassin (Hou)
6. Cool Apocalypse (Smith)
7. Psycho (Hitchcock)
8. Arabian Nights: Volume 3 – The Enchanted One (Gomes)
9. Phoenix (Petzold)
10. Broken Blossoms (Griffith)

Arabian Nights at the Siskel Center / Charlie Chaplin on Through the Decades


I have a brief review of Miguel Gomes’ astonishing three-part Arabian Nights, which opens at the Gene Siskel Film Center this Friday, at Time Out Chicago. Although the year is young, I have a hard time imagining I’ll enjoy another cinematic experience as much as this in all of 2016. You can read my thoughts here.

I was also recently interviewed for “Through the Decades with Bill Kurtis,” the flagship television show of the Decades network, about Charlie Chaplin’s film debut in Making a Living, which premiered on February 2, 1914 — 102 years ago to this day. The episode airs multiple times throughout today and a video of my segment will eventually appear on the official Decades website here.


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