Daily Archives: September 16, 2005


A lot of talent and energy have gone into this adaptation of David Auburn’s play about the charged relationship between a troubled young woman (Gwyneth Paltrow) and her father (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant but mad mathematician. As in many Miramax pictures, the source material has undergone some sentimental softening, though Hope Davis, as the heroine’s sister, does a swell job of making sanity seem obnoxious. It’s set and partly filmed around the University of Chicago, and John Madden directs the actors with sensitivity. Auburn and Rebecca Miller collaborated on the script. With Jake Gyllenhaal. PG-13, 99 min. (JR) Read more

The Thing About My Folks

Peter Falk stars as a Jewish carpet salesman whose wife (Olympia Dukakis) has just left him; accompanied by his middle-aged son (Paul Reiser, who also wrote and produced), he leaves for what proves to be an extended trip to upstate New York in autumn. Falk throws himself into the part and almost single-handedly enables this comedy drama to transcend some of its sitcom limitations. Raymond De Felitta directed; with Elizabeth Perkins. PG-13, 96 min. (JR) Read more

Winter Soldier

Credited to a collective of 19 individuals–including filmmaker Barbara Kopple–this record of testimony given during the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation in Detroit is more document than documentary, but it may be the most important account we have of America’s tragic encounter with Vietnam. The hearings, organized by Vietnam Veterans Against the War, allowed combat veterans to report, with honesty and unforced eloquence, their observations, experiences, and war crimes (and those crimes’ relation to government policy). Deeply upsetting and long unavailable, this remains essential viewing. 96 min. Reviewed this week in Section 1. Gene Siskel Film Center. Read more

The Phenix City Story

Phil Karlson’s noirish 1955 docudrama about organized crime is authentically seedy, shot in Alabama with adept use of many locals and an unusual candor about racist violence. Phenix City lawyer Albert Patterson (John McIntire) vows to clean up the corrupt gambling town as state attorney general, but he’s assassinated before he can take office, leaving his son (Richard Kiley) to pursue a local mobster (Edward Andrews, who makes a wonderful villain). The corrosive script was coauthored by Daniel Mainwaring (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), a kind of specialist in 50s paranoia, and though the movie’s politics are liberal, its moral outrage is so intense you may come out of it wanting to join a lynch mob. 100 min. Also on the program: Crime Control (1941), a Robert Benchley short directed by Leslie Roush. Sat 9/17, 8 PM, LaSalle Bank Cinema. Read more

Lord of War

Andrew Niccol, who wrote The Truman Show and directed Gattaca and Simone, works both sides of the street with this outspoken satire about a Ukrainian arms merchant (Nicolas Cage, who also produced). The movie aims for the action-adventure market with its sex and violence, but the adroit script also exposes the rationalizations and outright denials of international armament dealers. It’s unstable but effective, mixing harsh truths and entertaining lies. With Ethan Hawke, Bridget Moynahan, Jared Leto, and Ian Holm. R, 122 min. Reviewed this week in Section 1. Century 12 and CineArts 6, Chatham 14, Ford City, Gardens 7-13, Golf Glen, Lake, Lawndale, Norridge, River East 21, 62nd & Western, Village North, Webster Place. Read more