Chicago Critics Film Festival Recap

The Chicago Critics Film Festival has ended and the Fandads enjoyed being a part of this fun community. Being that this was our first year to attend we wanted to see as many movies as possible in the beautiful Music box Theater. Sadly possibility was stuck by reality when we realized that it would be hard to do with a full-time job and a family life.

Luckily, some of the studios sent screeners to those in the press and we were able to watch some of these movies from the comfort of our own homes. As much as we would have liked to have the full theater experience being at home was a great option too.

So what did we see? What movies stood out to us? What movies should you see once they are released? Yes, those are a lot of questions but we have some suggestions for you. All the movies we have listed are amazing and you should definitely look for them once released or if they play at a film festival near you.

Let’s begin….


Courtesy of IFC Films

This was one of the opening nights selection and you can read our full review here. BlackBerry is a fantastic look at how ego can destroy something that is pure and take you from the top to the bottom of the totem pole. Jay Baruchel and Glenn Howerton give spectacular performances. Read our full review here.


The director Laura Miss stated that she had this story in her mind since she first read Frankenstein. Birth/Rebirth is a chilling look into how far one would go for science and for keeping their lost one around. A unique horror movie with an ending that left me with chills.

Ernest and Celestine: A Trip to Gibberitia

Ernest and Celestine: A Trip to Gibberitia is such a joy to watch. While I am not familiar with the characters or the series of books from this duo I will say I really enjoyed this movie. The friendship between Ernest, who is a bear, and Celestine, a mouse, is fun to see and their adventure this fo round is fantastic. It is great to explore animation that comes from different studios and shows you there is more than the house the mouse built.

Brooklyn 45

When you put five people in a locked room and perform a séance nothing good is going to come out of it. Brooklyn 45 is an edge-of-your-seat movie that teeters between a horror movie and a psychological thriller. Questions of identity, patriotism, and who is the real enemy are dealt with in a way that will keep you guessing until the final frame.

A Disturbance in the Force

A Disturbance in the Force is a fun look into The Star Wars Holiday Special and why it has almost disappeared from the fandom’s zeitgeist. All of the interviewees have great input into the special and will make you laugh out loud at the absurdity that was passed on as a Star Wars show. The use of clips from the show and clips of what was popular at the time help cement this documentary as one to watch!

Waiting for the Light to Change

This film masterfully blends the feeling of loneliness and belonging. Staying in a cabin for a weekend with the boy she liked but never professed her love to Amy must decide if she will pursue her feelings or not do anything. What makes matters worse is that her best friend is now dating this boy. The movie gives you the feeling of loneliness that Amy feels at times and shows the price one must pay for happiness. Linh Tran’s directorial debut is one that will be talked about for years to come.

Past Lives

Courtesy of A24

Celine Song’s Past Lives ask the question: Do feelings you have for a school-age crush still linger 20 years later? Beautiful in its imagery and beautiful in its characters, Past Lives lets us spend a few days with two childhood sweethearts that have reunited after just keeping in touch digitally. Not only are we given an incredible look into what could have been we also see the reality of what can not be. Celine Song’s debut feature is one that should not be missed and might have you ugly crying by its moving finale.


Brother is a movie that needs to be experienced! From the opening scene to the final moments Clement Virgo pulls you into this story of family, loss, and overcoming grief. It’s refreshing to see a movie about a relationship between two brothers and how that bond stays strong amid the difficulties they face. Michael and Francis are characters that will move you and stay with you long after the movie is finished. Look for our interview with the director on our Youtube page.

Starring Jerry as Himself

What happens to a retired father who lives on his own and is suddenly recruited by the Chinese police to bus an international money laundering scheme? You will have to see in Starring Jerry as Himself a half documentary-half spy thriller that will keep you guessing what’s going on until the final reveal. The movie is a cautionary tale of trust, fear of superiors, and family dynamics. Definitely, one that the entire family would watch together.

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