The 2019 edition of the annual Chicago Critics Film Festival closed last week, capping a week-long gathering of the windy city critics and filmgoers at the esteemed Music Box Theatre.
This year's line was loaded of diverse outings, with feminine-centric cinema taking center stage. While the Snitch was unable to cover much of the the festival's lineup, we still want to ensure you that the former colleagues of ours always cultivate a rich list of movies. This list no doubt has and will leave impressions on those who rent or purchase them in the future. The message is true: seek them out.
Below is what the Snitch was live, in-person to check out.
Saint Frances: This film was a whopper of an opening film. In a good way. Potent and powerful, timely and terrific. The story follows Bridget, (writer-star Kelly O'Sullivan) a young woman getting an abortion after an unexpected pregnancy just before working for an upscale family as their nanny for young Frances (Ramona Edith Williams). O'Sullivan shines bright, the best person to bring her own words to life. The female empowerment is best showing that feminist ideals and child-raising can work together. Director Alex Thompson goes through great lengths to ensure the pacing is appropriate, and it shows. This was the Audience and Special Jury Awards as the SXSW Film Festival. It was certainly earned, and could've closed the fest on as much of a high note as it did opening the 2019 fest. ✰✰✰✰ (out of five)
Alien (40th Anniversary presentation): No one can hear you scream in space. But Alien still can leave audiences thrilled, even after 40 years since the classic's release in 1979. With star Tom Skerritt present for a Q&A, the 35mm print of what appeared to be the director's cut was a sight to see. We all know the story. A mining crew aboard a space ship responds to a distress signal, but encounter the nesting ground for what becomes a vicious, predatory extraterrestrial, terrorizing the crew. The print used was spectacular to see on the Music Box's big screen. The quality of the print was top-notch, and the film continues to stand the test of time. Thrills and chills still populate director Ridley Scott's masterpiece. Is it his crown jewel? Not for me. That's Blade Runner. But Alien still remains a quintessential quality crowd pleaser. ✰✰✰✰✰ (out of five)
Light from Light: With star and local boy Jim Gaffigan present for closing night, Light from Light follows a single mother (Marin Ireland) studying paranormal reports and raising a teenage son when she responds to a recent widower (Gaffigan) who thinks his recently departed wife is haunting their Tennessee home. This one was a slow burner. Gaffigan is a comic actor who really can do great dramatic work. My problem is the pacing with this film. It really does plod along, dragging it's 82 minute runtime into something that feels longer. ✰✰½ (out of five)