• Cinephilia

    Review: En el Séptimo Día

    This is a crosspost, also shared at Third Coast Review. En el Séptimo Día (On the Seventh Day) is set in the summer of 2016, and in a way, this timing—recent as it may be—is a small grace as we spend a week with José (Fernando Cardona) and the guys he plays soccer with every Sunday afternoon. José and his friends are undocumented immigrants from Mexico, working off the books at jobs in restaurant kitchens, as delivery guys and on construction sites. They toil away six days a week just to earn enough to share an apartment and think about what kind of American dream all their hard work might get them. The…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Eighth Grade

    This is a crosspost, also shared at Third Coast Review. When I was in eighth grade (many moons ago), the internet barely existed, let alone social media. The idea of everyone having their own handheld computer that connected them to each other and the world sounded like something out of an episode of Star Trek. The closest thing we had to instant messaging was notes folded up and passed between classes. A lot has changed since then, as middle schoolers of 2018 are more tech savvy by the time they’re thirteen than most folks a generation or two older than them could ever hope to be. Smartphones are ubiquitous, for better…

  • Cinephilia

    So Far, So Good: Best Films of 2018

    Tully

    The year is just over half gone, and while I try not to focus on how quickly another twelve months are zipping by, I decided to take stock of the films I’ve seen to date in 2018. At the time of writing, it’s at a solid 90 films, which puts me—believe it or not—about twenty films behind where I was this time last year.  As I looked back at what I’ve loved so far this year, I was very quickly reminded of what I have yet to see. And it’s a lot! I’ve included that list at the end of the post, and added all the various titles to my…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

    Mamma Mia 2

    This is a crosspost, also shared at Third Coast Review. Let’s get this out of the way up front: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, like its predecessor (and smash hit, currently sitting at $144M worldwide gross), is silly from start to finish. It is goofy and predictable and kitschy and absurd. It is also wonderful. If you can manage to carry those two seemingly conflicting truths with you for the 114-minute runtime, you will be rewarded with a summer cinematic treat that may be as fleeting as a double scoop waffle cone melting faster than you can eat it—but every bit as enjoyable. Long rumored to be in the works…

  • Pretending to Cook

    Rolling in Dough

    I’m not sure if it was all the Great British Baking Show I watch, or all the time on my hands lately (calm before the busy-season storm), or the fact that I haven’t picked up a new hobby in…well, forever. Whatever it was, a few months ago I decided I wanted to learn how to make bread. From flour, yeast and water to a warm loaf of delicious carbs, I wanted to make it with my own two hands. As a first step on this baking adventure, I turned to what has become a bible of sorts for me in the kitchen, The Joy of Cooking (a 75th Anniversary edition…

  • City Stories

    For Anyone Who’s Ever Read a Book

    I first discovered the American Writers Museum a year ago, when it received a write-up in the New York Times on the occasion of its opening. I clicked through to the article with a general curiosity about about this new space dedicated to the written word; I gave no thought to the actual location of the thing. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the story was a dispatch from right here in Chicago, the new museum located in the heart of downtown!  Fast-forward a year, and I still hadn’t carved out time to visit, and I’m not entirely sure why. Life and work and just not putting it at…