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          Filippo Loreti Review : Inspired by three iconic Italian cities — Venice, Rome, and Milan — Filippo Loreti's watches include premium craftsmanship in an array of elegant designs to appeal to all kinds of watch lovers. The prices range from $219 for a minimalistic watch to $459 for an automatic watch — all priced well under what luxury watches typically go for. If you want high-quality and stylish luxury designs, without paying traditional luxury prices, Filippo Loreti is the way to go. They're so nice, you will absolutely want to start a collection of them. To help with that, Filippo Loreti will include a collector's box when you buy two or more watches. The luxurious box is made of wood with a high gloss polished lacquer finish, a rich black leather interior, and has room for eight watches. Valued at $200, the box can be yours for free.

          The most crowdfunded watch company ever is making $1,000+ luxury watches affordable for everyone

          To put it plainly, Filippo Loreti makes really nice luxury watches for prices you'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

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          • Thumb beautiful boy imag 4

            Next month will mark the 54th year of the Chicago International Film Festival, continuing the gathering’s mission of introducing Chicagoland audiences with new favorites from all over the world. The festival starts on Wednesday, October 10 and ends on Sunday, October 21, with an exciting roster of movies that have played fests like Cannes or Toronto, along with titles making their U.S., international, or even world premiere. 

            Three particularly major events for your calendar: CIFF starts with with a screening of the addiction drama “Beautiful Boy,” starring Timothee Chalamet and Steve Carell. Reviewing the film from Toronto, Brian Tallerico said that the film includes "another phenomenal performance from Timothee Chalamet, nearly matching last year's turn in 'Call Me by Your Name.'" Director and co-writer Felix Von Groeningen will be there to present the film; there are two  (To get tickets for the Opening Night Gala Presentation of "Beautiful Boy," click here)

            Then, on October 16, Carey Mulligan will come to the festival to present “Wildlife,” the latest display of her incredible acting talent, and also the directorial debut of Paul Dano. Brian Tallerico said in his 3 1/2-star review of the film that "Mulligan hasn't been this good since her Oscar-nominated work in 'An Education.'" Mulligan will also be receiving a special tribute to her career. (To get tickets for the Centerpiece presentation of "Wildlife" and Carey Mulligan tribute, click here)

            The Chicago International Film Festival will end on Sunday, October 21 with a screening of “The Front Runner,” Jason Reitman’s film about Gary Hart’s scandal back in 1988. The film just played at Telluride and the Toronto International Film Festival, and will now play Chicago with Reitman in attendance. (Click here to read Tomris Laffly's interview with Reitman and his two co-writers about “The Front Runner" ; to get tickets for the Closing Night screening of "The Front Runner," click here)

            This year’s International Feature Film Competition includes 16 films, and the latest from the likes of Jia Zhangke (“Ash is Purest White”), Alice Rohrwacher (“Happy as Lazarro”), Olivier Assayas (“Non-Fiction”), Christian Petzold (“Transit”) and more. The category will also feature Kent Jones’ Tribeca Film Festival favorite “Diane,” which will be having its Chicago premiere. 


            Steve McQueen’s highly anticipated “Widows,” his first film after “12 Years a Slave” from five years ago, will be presented at the festival as part of its Black Perspectives programs, which features nine films and a program of seven shorts. The program continues the festival’s goal of “showcasing excellence in filmmaking from African American filmmakers and the African diaspora.” Along with “Widows,” the program will featured a special showing of George Tillman Jr.’s new film, “The Hate U Give,” a new film starring Tessa Thompson (“Little Woods”), a documentary about “roller-skating’s pivotal role in the African-American community” titled “United Skates,” a documentary about Sandra Bland (“Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland”) and more. 

            The Black Perspectives program will also feature a tribute to Ruth Carter, the costume designer most recently behind “Black Panther” but who was nominated for an Oscar for her work on “Malcolm X” and “Amistad.” (Click here to read our interview with Ruth Carter about her work on “Black Panther”; to get tickets to the Ruth Carter tribute, click here) 

            Among the festival’s speciality programs, the Masters program is an excellent place to see the latest from the most revered auteurs working today. Included titles are Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Cold War,” Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows,” Avi Nesher’s “The Other Story,” and Mike Leigh’s “Peterloo.” There are also spotlight sections on Comedy and Italy. 

            The festival is a great place to get a leg-up on Oscar contenders in the Best Foreign Language category. Along with Alfonso Cuaron's “Roma,” which is Mexico’s official submission for the category, there’s also Ali Abbasi’s “Border” (from Sweden), “Birds of Passage” (from Colombia) and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Palme d’Or winner, “Shoplifters” (from Japan). 

            Fans of short films will have certainly have lots to choose from with the festival’s eight different programs. The different sections include: “Around the Corner — City & State”; “Outside the Lines — Animation”; “Bad Don’t Sleep — After Dark” (with a short by Dev Patel starring Armie Hammer); “In Real Life — Documentaries”; “Searchers — Drama” (featuring a short by Guy Maddin); “Laughing Matters — Comedy” (with a short starring Jason Schwartzman and Jake Johnson); “Beyond a Boundary — Black Perspectives,” and “Meditations — Experimental.” The latter features the latest short from Apichatpong Weerasethakul, a short about “a sublimely orchestrated journey into the realms of sleep and landscape.” 

            Keeping with the festival’s top interest in promoting women filmmakers, the festival’s “Women in Cinema” program is highlighting 36 features and 21 shorts directed by women. Included titles are: Elizabeth Chomko’s Chicago-shot “What They Had,” starring Hilary Swank and Michael Shannon; “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” by Marielle Heller; Julie Bertuccelli’s “idiosyncratic family drama” “Claire Darling” starring Catherine Deneuve and many more. 

            The full schedule can be found at the Chicago International Film Festival's website here. Be sure to check back at often as we dive deep into one of world's finest festivals. 

            The 54th Chicago International Film Festival runs from October 10-21. For more information, showtimes, and tickets, showtimes, click here

            By: Nick Allen
            Posted: September 19, 2018, 8:35 pm

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            When my late husband Roger reviewed Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" upon its release 50 years ago, he bookended his four-star rave with the poetry of e.e. cummings, who once wrote, "listen—there’s a hell of a good universe next door; let’s go." Roger's tireless excitement for exploring other worlds through the portal of cinema will be celebrated at the first Roger Ebert Symposium, "Empathy for the Universe: Storytelling and Data Visualization," held Monday, October 1st, at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, 1205 W. Clark St., in Urbana, Illinois. The symposium, which is free and open to the public, will kick off at 9am and feature three interactive panel discussions assembling a diverse collection of visualization experts, journalists, scientists, media experts, artists, designers—and—an astronaut. We will end the day bedazzled by the majesty of the universe in a film at the IMAX theater in Savoy. 

            Roger was a brilliant film critic and philosopher, and that is reflected in the film festival that has beared his name at the Virginia Theater for the last twenty years. But the emphasis he placed on empathizing with those who share this journey with us is part of his legacy that resonates even with those who are not movie lovers, and is something that I nurture studiously in my lectures on empathy, kindness, compassion and forgiveness. Roger also had the vision to see that cinema and science were not incompatible, and used properly could both foster better relations among people. He noted that some of the greatest achievements in science and technology took place at his alma mater, the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and it is there at his Ebert Center with the assistance of Dr. Donna Cox, and alumni Dr. Brand Fortner and Dr. Nate Kohn, that we will focus specifically on the cinematic presentation of science and related subjects. 

            The day’s first panel discussion, "Science on the Screen," will include former NASA astronaut Terry Virts, a cinematographer for the IMAX film "A Beautiful Planet," who spent 200 days aboard the International Space Station and shot much of the footage. He will be joined by Toni Myers, the writer/director of the movie as well as other NASA-related IMAX pictures. Jennifer Lawrence served as the narrator, while NCSA’s Advanced Visualization Laboratory collaborated on the opening and closing virtual scenes of flight through intergalactic space, based on scientific data. At 4:30pm, "A Beautiful Planet" will be screened for free at the Goodrich Savoy 16 IMAX theater, 232 Burwash Avenue in Savoy, Illinois. The theater is co-sponsoring the event.

            As a collaboration between the College of Media, the Ebert Center and NCSA, the symposium draws from Roger's belief that movies are the most powerful empathy machine in all the arts. The scheduled panels aim to embody the principles Roger stood for, including empathy, compassion and inclusion, whether we are talking about the earth, the cosmos or our oceans. It is our hope to illustrate how cinema can bring a deeper understanding of nature, society and the universe. We will show in an emphatic way that science and the arts are not mutually exclusive, but share a bond that results in greater benefits to humanity.

            Joining me as fellow panel participants at the symposium are Donna J. Cox, Illinois professor of art and design, director of the Advanced Visualization Laboratory and co-organizer of the event; Anita Chan, Illinois professor of media and cinema studies specializing in global imaginaries around new information technologies; Brand Fortner, Illinois alumnus, professor of physics at North Carolina State University and an expert on accessible scientific visualization. They will be joined by Brant Houston, Illinois professor of journalism who specializes in investigative and computer-assisted reporting; Karrie Karahalios, Illinois professor of computer science specializing in computer-mediated communication and online community building and Nate Kohn, Ebertfest director, film producer and director of the MFA screenwriting program at the University of Georgia. 

            I am happy to announce that other panels will be led by the illustrious Katie Mack, professor of physics at North Carolina State University known for her public science outreach through the @AstroKatie Twitter account; Stacey Robinson, Illinois professor of graphic design whose graphic novels and other work explore ideas of Afrofuturism and black utopias; Rachel Switzky, the inaugural director of the Siebel Center for Design at Illinois and former executive at the global design firm IDEO.

            We will be presenting an award to Doron Weber, vice president at the Sloan Foundation who runs a program to advance public understanding of science, technology and economics and to bridge the cultures of science and the humanities. Participating remotely in the symposium will be Temple Grandin, Illinois alumna and professor of animal science at Colorado State University known for her work on the humane treatment of livestock. (Claire Danes portrayed Temple Grandin in the acclaimed HBO movie.)

            It will be a day that Roger would have been thrilled to participate in. I hope you will join us.

            Tickets for the film and the symposium are not required, but preference will be given to individuals who pre-register online. Online registration is now open on the Ebert Symposium website

            The full schedule and additional information on participants can be found at

            By: Chaz Ebert
            Posted: September 19, 2018, 9:30 pm

          • Thumb jw

            10 NEW TO NETFLIX

            "Black Panther"
            "The Endless"
            "Groundhog Day"
            "The River wild"
            "Role Models"
            "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"
            "The Third Man"
            "The Witch"


            6 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD


            I try not to show preference in this column for films on which I'm quoted on the cover but, naturally, the quote serves as a sort of endorsement on its own (except for the few times in which a word or two has been hilariously pulled from negative reviews to promote bad movies). I saw "Beast" a year ago as a part of my TIFF 2017 coverage and I was happy to see star Jessie Buckley earning raves yet again this year for "Wild Rose" (which I, sadly, couldn't get to). She deserves to be a huge star, giving one of those unforgettable young performances here that heralds something special. "Beast" is a character drama wrapped in a mystery, a clever look at that time in our lives when we're attracted to danger. It would make a great rental for you this weekend. Just trust me. 

            Buy it here

            Special Features
            The Making of Beast - Featurette
            A Look at Beast - Photo Gallery



            One of the most divisive films of 2018 is also one that I can guarantee you that people will be watching years from now. And I'm not saying that only because I happen to be very strongly in the "pro-Hereditary" camp but for two reasons. One, it's of a genre that often persists. No one embraces their darlings like horror fans. (And I can't believe I have to say it but this IS a horror movie.) Two, it's a movie that honestly got people talking. As much as I love the film itself, I also adore the passionate debate around it, particularly the understandable frustrations I heard with the ending. For me, the film won me over long before then, particularly on a performance level. Few actors, if any, did more committed, fearless work than Toni Collette

            Buy it here 

            Special Features
            Deleted Scenes
            "Cursed: The True Nature of Hereditary" Featurette
            "Evil in Miniature" Photo Gallery


            "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom"

            No one is more surprised than me at how much I enjoyed the fifth "Jurassic" sequel, especially given the dismal batting average since Steven Spielberg's influential classic. Listen, "Fallen Kingdom" is not going to be on anyone's top ten at the end of the year, but this is what the previous films forgot to be: fun. It helps greatly that it has an actual director in J.A. Bayona who somehow finds a way to blend Hammer horror movies with the Crichton universe and creates a final hour here that I found thoroughly entertaining. Pratt is still as dull a lead as you'll find in a Hollywood blockbuster, but this thing has a visual language lacking from so many other Summer 2018 films, and a closing section that I really adored. I feel like it was easy for a lot of critics to write this movie off - and I certainly did given how much I hated the last one - but it's one of my biggest surprises of the year. Maybe it will be one of yours too. 

            Buy it here 

            Special Features
            The Kingdom Evolves 
            Return to Hawaii 
            Island Action 
            Aboard the Arcadia
            Start the Bidding! 
            On Set with Chris & Bryce
            Birth of the Indoraptor 
            Death by Dino .
            Monster in a Mansion
            Rooftop Showdown
            Malcolm's Return
            VFX Evolved 
            Fallen Kingdom: The Conversation 
            Jurassic Then and Now 


            "A Nightmare Before Christmas"

            It's been 25 years since Tim Burton's "A Nightmare Before Christmas" opened in theaters, making a relatively small amount of money in 1993 for a Disney animated film (under $50 million). In the two-and-a-half decades since, Burton's vision has become a money machine for Disney, producing new tie-in products and DVD/Blu-ray releases with regularity. Why should you consider getting it again? Well, this is the sing-along version, which may be attractive to some people, especially young ones, but the real draw is the two short films that inspired Jack Skellington, Burton's early works "Vincent" and "Frankenweenie." It's Jack's world, we just live in it. 

            Buy it here 

            Special Features
            Tim Burton's Early Film: "Vincent"
            The Making of
            Deleted Storyboards
            Deleted Animated Sequences
            Tim Burton's Early Film: "Frankenweenie" (Uncut Version) 
            "What's This?" Jack's Haunted Mansion Tour 
            Tim Burton's Original Poem Narrated by Christopher Lee 
            Storyboard-to-Film Comparison 
            Theatrical Trailer 
            Teaser Trailer


            "Ocean's 8"

            What an amazing cast! What an OK movie. To be honest, it would be hard to not at least deliver mediocre escapism with this all-star line-up of talent, and that's exactly what Gary Ross and the team behind this inferior "Ocean's sequel does. Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, and especially Anne Hathaway are having a blast in this heist movie about jewelry theft from the Met Gala, but the script here is depressingly flat. Ross does the best he can to find the pace and rhythm in it, but this flick lacks the wit and creativity of the best heist movies. Just putting these Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy winners on the same screen provides just enough inherent spark to justify a rental, but lower those expectations that the casting director won't be the MVP of this particular venture. 

            Buy it here 

            Special Features
            A Heist in Heels - Featuruette
            Ocean's Team 3.0 - Featurette
            Reimagining the Met Gala - Fetaurette
            Deleted Scenes


            "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

            I hate to be a grumpy critic, but I'm disappointed in how many of my colleagues have wholeheartedly embraced this doc, one of the most profitable films of its kind in years but a perfect example for me of the issue of "form vs. content." Yes, the content here is undeniably great. Fred Rogers was progressive, brilliant, and empathetic, the kind of person we could certainly use more of in 2018. But the movie about him is clunky, over-using score and episodic in its structure. I was frustrated by a movie that I kept wanting to be better than I think it is simply because of how much I love its subject matter. Most people won't care and there's inherent value in getting Mr. Rogers' life and message to more people. But that doesn't mean this couldn't have been a better movie. 

            Buy it here 

            Special Features

            By: Brian Tallerico
            Posted: September 20, 2018, 1:48 pm

          • Thumb maniac 109 unit 03444 rc

            Netflix’s “Maniac” is a fascinating, brilliant show, and one of my favorites of 2018. We should expect no less from the creative voices behind “The Leftovers” and “True Detective,” but this show still found a way to surprise me episode after episode. In one of the most crowded months in television history, not enough people are talking about this daring, strange, powerful piece of work, a show that’s so delightfully odd that it could turn off viewers looking for something more traditional but that I can guarantee you will find an equally large group of loyal devotees. It’s a show with echoes of “Black Mirror,” “Legion,” and, most of all, the “International Assassin” episode of HBO’s masterful “The Leftovers,” one of the best programs of the ‘10s. Like that show, “Maniac” plays with genre and dramatic expectations to gain insight into the human condition in ways that other programs can’t touch. 


            “Hypothesis: All souls are on a quest to connect. Corollary: Our minds have no awareness of this quest.” These lines from the opening episode of “Maniac” should prepare you for where this increasingly bizarre show is going to head thematically. To call it a “mind fuck” would be an understatement. The quick logline could be: “Two people deal with their issues during a pharmaceutical drug test.” Sure, I guess that's part of it. But there's so much else.

            The pair of human guinea pigs in this case are Annie Landsberg (Emma Stone) and Owen Milgram (Jonah Hill), volunteers for a test that attempts to do what therapy so often cannot—pull apart the issues that define and confine them. And they have some issues. Annie has been in a grief spiral since becoming estranged from her sister (Julia Garner, the always-welcome MVP of “Ozark”) and Owen is the baby child in a family of upper-class monsters, including a brother played by Billy Magnussen and a father played by Gabriel Byrne. To be blunt, Owen has been dismissed by his family other than when they can use him. There's a fantastic visual in the first episode in which a painting of the entire family except Owen is revealed only to pan over to a smaller painting of the missing brother. Owen is desperately looking for connection. Meanwhile, Annie has a job as a ‘Friend Proxy,’ which is what it sounds like—people can pay her to be their friend for the day—but mostly feeds a growing pill addition. She’s just doing the test to get more drugs. And she doesn't believe Owen's insistence that they have some sort of connection before it even begins. She starts to change her mind.

            After a series of introductory episodes, “Maniac” leaps the rails of traditional narrative as we jump into the shared dreams of Owen and Annie—a part of the treatment run by the unforgettable Dr. Manterlay (Justin Theroux)—a structure that allows director Cary Joji Fukunaga and the writing team to run rampant in the human id. Each concise episode (they’re all under 45 minutes!), especially for Netflix, allows the team to explore the issues at the core of Annie and Owen’s psychological problems with different characters, settings, and tones. In one episode, Owen and Annie are an ‘80s Long Island couple trying to steal a lemur with a storytelling style reminiscent of the Coen brothers. In the next, they’re attending a séance in the ‘40s, replicating the playful dialogue and character beats of a classic mystery film. And yet each of these “short films within a show” reflect themes of the real Owen and Annie, whether they be family problems, low self-worth, distrust, or a growing sense that maybe these two were meant for each other for some reason. Even Sally Field appears as, well, you’ll have to wait and see.


            The production design is incredible here as well. The world of “Maniac” is a fascinating, Gondry-esque vision of the future that is both futuristic and delightfully retro. The hub for the test subjects looks like the deck of the Nostromo (“Alien”) and computer technology has a “future the way filmmakers saw it in the ‘80s” aesthetic—think Cronenberg and Gilliam. This is a world in which one can play chess with a tough-talking, purple, robot koala in the park or make use of, well, something we won’t get into called Sucktube. And yet the human condition remains the same. The longing for connection. The need for emotional stability. The sense that life has passed you by. None of that will change with new drugs or breakthrough technology, and “Maniac” understands the inconsistency of things like depression and mental illness in ways I haven’t really seen since “Legion,” another show that seeks to mess with your mind in order to unlock something truthful about it.

            Stone and Hill clearly relish the chance to genre-jump within one incredibly well-made show, and Theroux is wonderfully fearless in his oddity, but this show belongs to the writers. The scripts here have echoes of David Lynch, Charlie Kaufman, Jose Saramago, and Franz Kafka but it can also be remarkably funny in ways that other programs like this aren't. It deftly walks that fine line between quirky and annoying. Although this is very much a “your mileage may vary” situation. I could see “Maniac” being far too self-consciously strange for some people and I’d have trouble arguing that point. I could also see it becoming the new favorite show on TV for others. As someone recently subjected to the numbing sameness of the Fall TV 2018 offerings from the broadcast networks, I needed “Maniac” in ways I didn't even understand before watching it. You could say it was the perfect drug. 

            By: Brian Tallerico
            Posted: September 20, 2018, 1:48 pm

            • Entertainer

              Thumb house clock walls image

              "The House with a Clock In Its Walls"—horror director Eli Roth's first attempt at a kid-friendly horror-fantasy—is basically watchable. Granted, it is more than a little familiar: you'd be forgiven if the movie's trailer, which does a decent job of capturing the film's doofy mood, seems like an ad for a new movie based on R.L. Stine's kiddy horror "Goosebumps" series. 

              But the plot—about Lewis (Owen Vaccaro), a newly orphaned pre-teen who becomes a powerful warlock with some help from kooky uncle Jonathan (Jack Black)—is mostly adequate. And the scene-to-scene pacing is patient enough to establish the importance of certain key plot points and character dynamics. And the menagerie of computer-generated monsters, which includes talking dummies and sentient jack-o'-lanterns, are slick-looking. So if you're not paying too much attention—maybe you're distracted by how much money you paid for your kid's concession stand treats, or maybe you're watching the film alone at home—you might be able to overlook the programmatic nature of "The House with a Clock In Its Walls." 

              Then again, you might dislike "The House with a Clock In Its Walls" if you focus on the film's potty humor—we get it, the flying topiary lion isn't house-trained—and showy performances, especially Black, who seems to dominate every frame he's in. But only the latter is seriously distracting. Black co-headlines the film with Cate Blanchett—who plays Mrs. Zimmerman, Jonathan's spinster neighbor—another actor known for her vamping. Thankfully, Blanchett eventually proves that she's still capable of sharing the screen, in this case with Vaccaro (whose performance is a little all over the map, but mostly OK).

              Roth otherwise fails to get his actors to perform in the same scene. This wasn't really a problem in his earlier horror films, like the first two "Hostel" movies, the proudly perverse "The Green Inferno," and the silly "Knock Knock." But it is a problem with both of Roth's 2018 releases (even I won't defend his "Death Wish" remake). Roth lets Black, who often looks like a soulless Zero Mostel robot, rely on so many of his signature tics and fallback mannerisms that it soon becomes hard to overlook the diva-ish nature of Black's performance. This is immediately apparent in the scene where Jonathan invites Lewis into his magical home, the one haunted by a malevolent, ticking doomsday clock. Here, Jonathan playfully butts heads and ostensibly has a screwball rapport with Mrs. Zimmerman. They trade insults, but are really the best of friends! In theory. Their dialogue isn't great, but Black often seems to be talking past Blanchett.

              From there, Lewis ostensibly takes center stage for a rote story about yet another pre-teen misfit who doesn't fit in at his new school, misses his dead parents, and then abuses his newfound magical powers in a vain attempt at impressing his fair-weather friend Tarby (Sunny Suljic), a grade-school loner who takes a shine to Lewis, but then quickly loses interest. 

              Screenwriter Eric Kripke, adapting John Bellairs' novel, could have done more to flesh out Tarby and Lewis' relationship. But there's only so much he can do when Black, formerly a brilliant scene-stealer, never seems to care what his co-stars are doing. To be fair: Black's one-man-show-style performance probably seemed perfect for Jonathan, an oddball who often seems to live in a world of his own. It also doesn't help that Black often doesn't even seem to be acting in the same camera set-up as Vaccaro or Blanchett: there are a lot of over-the-shoulder shot/reverse shot images where Black is yelling and pursing his lips at the back of his co-leads' heads and/or their equally out-of-focus shoulders. 

              Still, Black's clownish schtick has gotten old lately (don't get me started on "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle"). He has his moments, but he also often sucks the energy out of the highest of high-energy scenes. Any really good comedic performance—especially ones delivered by comedians who specialize in self-absorbed outcasts—requires basic give-and-take from the on-screen performers. 

              Unfortunately, Black doesn't often seem to be interested in vibing with his co-stars. That may not seem like a fatal shortcoming, but it matters a great deal whenever Vaccaro struggles to find the right pitch for angsty outbursts, or Blanchett strains to sell mediocre (but not entirely unworkable) one-liners. Black, more than anyone else, should have been the one to wind up "The House with a Clock in Its Walls." Too bad he doesn't give as much as he takes.

              By: Simon Abrams
              Posted: September 20, 2018, 1:49 pm

              • Entertainer
                Entertainer published a blog post Quincy

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                For those who may not know the story of Quincy Jones, one of pop music’s most gifted producers, this documentary on his life’s work offers a personalized glimpse into a bygone world of entertainment and the legacy of racism that black artists still grapple with today. And for the many people who may only recognize his name from the back of their Thriller record, Alan Hicks and Rashida Jones’ “Quincy” will be a trip to watch as a cast of celebrities share their memories of one of the hardest working men in show business. 

                When “Quincy” opens, it’s the image of the man we see in star-studded photos. He’s partying a little too hard for his age and still working overtime on who knows how many projects. As a mentor once told me, life has a way of slowing you down when you’re not paying attention. In Jones’ case, it was a serious health scare just after his 80th birthday that made him leave excessive drinking and stress behind for a while. Home footage shows his family gathered around his bed, Jones’ daughter Rashida included, as Quincy lies back looking weakly at his loved ones. If I didn’t know Quincy was still with us when the film was completed, I might have assumed this was a eulogy. 

                Fortunately, as Jones is recovering, his voice traces his evolution from a wannabe tough kid from the South Side of Chicago to organizing the opening extravaganza of the Smithsonian African American Museum, with President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks introducing some of the surviving Tuskegee airmen. At times, Jones is surprisingly candid about some of the more painful moments of his life, including his estrangement from his mentally ill mother. 

                Jones is also open about the racism he faced on the road, like when he played a town which had recently lynched a black man before Jones and his men arrived—they relied on their white bus driver to get food, as black men were unable to enter restaurants. Jones fondly remembers when Frank Sinatra stuck up for him and other black performers who were discriminated against by Vegas hotel owners—after Sinatra threatened to take his singing elsewhere, the Vegas strip desegregated. Film composer Henry Mancini recalls a time as well when a movie producer reached out to him to see if Mancini would recommend hiring Jones for a potential project. The producer was unsure of whether or not black people could score movies. 

                With so much ground to cover in Jones’ illustrious career, certain aspects of his biography inevitably feel rushed or glossed over. For instance, Jones becomes remorsefully introspective about the dissolution of his several marriages, but he doesn’t spend a lot of time grappling with why things didn’t quite work. There’s also a voice or two that felt like they were missing in his overall portrait, and their absence is never addressed. 

                The documentary connects his present day work ethic to his past, and contrasts yesteryear’s heartbreaks to the large, family-filled parties he still enjoys. Jones did so much more than just unleash some of pop’s most successful records of all time. He broke records throughout his career, helped organize Live Aid and other philanthropic ventures, he tried to unite rappers together to set aside their differences in the '90s and today, he’s still seen as a mentor figure for younger musicians. With so many stories and legends to interview and feature, it's no wonder the film runs about two hours.

                This review was originally filed from the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12th.

                By: Monica Castillo
                Posted: September 20, 2018, 2:05 pm

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                Posted: September 20, 2018, 3:48 am

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