Sarah Knight Adamson is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and a voting member for the Critics Choice Awards for Movies.

Sarah Knight Adamson and Jessica Aymond are both Members of the Chicago Film Critics Association

Film Rating Code:

★★★★ Outstanding Film- Run, don’t walk to the nearest movie theater.

★★★½ Excellent Film- Highly recommend seeing the film in a movie theater.

★★★ Very Good Film- Recommend seeing the film in a movie theater.

★★½ Good Film- Wait for the DVD, the film is still worth viewing.

★★ Wait for the DVD and proceed with caution.

★½ Wait for the DVD the film has major problems in most areas.

★ Can’t recommend the film.

Kaspar Astrup Schroder Interview, Director “Big Time” Danish documentary film Bjarke Ingels, Architect

Kaspar Astrup Schroder director of “Big Time” a documentary film on world famous architect Bjarke Ingels. Photo Credit: Press photo from the director

Kaspar Astrup Schroder director of Big Time a documentary that took six years in the making was in Chicago to present his film during the Chicago International Film Festival. I was able to speak with him via phone as I was unfortunately unable to meet him that day in Chicago due to a family wedding.

The Wall Street Journal has stated that Bjarke Ingels ‘has rapidly become one of the design world’s biggest stars’ and his name recently appeared in TIME magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People’ article. The film Big Time focuses on the New York skyscraper VIA 57W, which houses the newly opened multiplex Landmark at 57 West, and World Trade Center 2. 

Bjarke Ingels architect at work in ‘Big Time’

First and foremost, I learned so much about the topic of architecture and architects by viewing the highly engaging and personalized film, Big Time. The film is for everyone of all ages, especially those interested in architecture. Schroder has captured his subject during his triumphs, frustrations, and disappointments. You’ll see Bjarke Ingels’s childhood home, see his parents speak about him as a child, you’ll hear about his philosophies and the reasoning behind his drawings. But most importantly, you’ll see him with a pen and paper drawing/creating his projects as he explains to us the ‘why’ behind his design style.

The film has a personal connection as well, during the six-year filming period; Ingels began to deal with serious health problems that did interfere with his work. You’ll also view his euphoria in finding the love of his life and his engagement to his lovely girlfriend during this time.

Sarah Knight Adamson: I want to thank you so much for speaking with me today. I really enjoyed your film. Can you tell me why you chose to start filming Bjarke Ingels?

Kaspar Astrup Schroder: My wife is an architect, my sister is an architect, most of my friends are architects, so I was kind of in that environment, and I love making films. I’ve watched a lot of documentary films about architecture that I thought it was very challenging to make something interesting that goes beyond like a normal film. I wanted to broaden up the subject so people that are not architects might become interested in architecture. I started filming him back in 2010, and I completed the shoot last December 2016, six years.

SKA: What aspects of his life were you looking to cover?

KAS: I wanted to make a film about architecture through character, through someone that lives it and makes it. I also wanted to show their dilemmas of the modern man trying to conquer the world but maybe one that also forgets himself in it. When Bjarke started to become sick and then the company was failing after he left Denmark and all those challenges could basically have been in any business.

SKA: Yes.

KAS: I wanted to tell those emotional, universal aspects of a story and try to also develop a character through the film. He’s a great storyteller, and he’s trying to make the best possible life for people with his architecture.

Read more…

Posted in Celebrity Interviews, Interview Archives, Interviews

Goodbye Christopher Robin (PG-13) ★★★½ Radio Podcast 🎙

Will Tilston, Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie in the film GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN. Photo by David Appleby. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Podcast will post after the film review has aired. Stay tuned!

Goodbye Christopher Robin

This Historical Drama gives us the backstory surrounding writer A.A. Milne “Winnie-the-Pooh” and “The House at Pooh Corner,” these books were published 1926 &1928.

Suffering from PTSD after the war, Milne decides to move his family from London and live in the countryside. While there, he found solace in his son and began to write about their afternoons of imaginary play with his son’s stuffed animals.

Milne and his family became instant celebrities, while the books brought hope and comfort to the rest of postwar England.

The Bottom-Line? I enjoyed this enchanting film and the backstory surrounding A.A.Milne and his family. The film is for ages nine years old and up, as it does have some war scenes.

Cast: Domhnall Gleeson as the father and writer, Will Tilston as Christopher Robin, Margot Robbie, as the mother and Kelly McDonald as the nanny.

Credits: Directed by Simon Curtis, screenplay by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Simon Vaughan

Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Run Time: 1 hour 47 minutes


Posted in Film Review Podcast Archives, Hollywood 360, Movies 2017, Radio Podcasts, Reviews

Victoria and Abdul (PG-13) ★★★ Radio Podcast 🎙

Judi Dench and Ali Fazal star in ‘Victoria and Abdul.’  Photo Credit: Focus Features

Radio Podcast will be posted after the review has aired. Stay tuned! 

Victoria and Abdul is historical fiction that’s based on the book of the same name.

In 1887 a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim played by Ali Fazal becomes an unlikely friend to Queen Victoria who’s played by Judi Dench. He becomes her teacher, her spiritual advisor, and her devoted friend.

As their friendship deepens, the Queen begins to see the world through new eyes and joyfully reclaims her compassion.

The Bottom-Line? Judi Dench is fabulous as Queen Victoria! She’s the reason to see this film. It’s funny, entertaining all sprinkled with bits of history throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed the natural chemistry between the Queen and Abdul.

It’s always ambitious for characters to age in a film, and you’ll see outstanding examples here.

Cast: Judi Dench (Queen Victoria), Ali Fazal (Abdul Karim)

Credits: Directed by Stephen Frears and written by Lee Hall.

Studio: Focus Features

Run Time: 1 hour 52 minutes


Posted in Coming Soon, Film Review Podcast Archives, Hollywood 360, Movies 2017, Radio Podcasts, Reviews

The 53rd Chicago International Film Festival 2017 Preview


The 53rd Chicago International Film Festival will shortly be in full swing with tickets on sale now. A new Artistic Director, Mimi Plauché plans to continue the eclectic mix of programming that has been the trademark of founder Michael Kutza by selecting the best of the awards-season contenders, indie standouts, and hidden gems. The festival dates are October 12- October 26, 2017.

Sarah’s Backstage Pass has covered the CIFF starting in 2010, and always looks forward to discovering, learning, educating and interacting. The excellent programming and diverse offerings bring people together to celebrate film as an art form that can indeed amalgamate cultures.

The film offerings include 139 features, of which, 25 will celebrate their North American Premiere and 29 their U.S. Premiere.

The International films of the Festival that are submissions for the 89th Academy Awards, to be held on (March 4, 2018), include: Racer and the Jailbird (Belgium), Men Don’t Cry (Bosnia and Herzegovina), November (Estonia), BPM (120 Beats Per Minute) (France), Scary Mother (Georgia), In the Fade (Germany), Under the Tree (Iceland), The Insult (Lebanon), Barrage (Luxembourg), Thelma (Norway), Spoor (Poland), The Line (Slovakia), Summer 1993 (Spain), The Square (Sweden), The Divine Order (Switzerland). Please check the program link for tickets and schedule.

Chadwick Boseman stars as Thurgood Marshall. Credit: Open Road Films

Marshall is the Opening Night film, on Thursday, October 12 at 7 p.m., with director Reginald Hudlin, actor/producer Chadwick Boseman, actors Josh Gad and Sterling K. Brown, and producer Paula Wagner are all scheduled to attend the premiere at AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois St.).

Marshall is based on a true incident in the life of Thurgood Marshall, as a young lawyer, long before his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. The NAACP sends Marshall to conservative Connecticut to defend a black chauffeur against his wealthy socialite employer in a sexual assault and attempted murder trial. Marshall is driven to discover the truth in the high profile trial which in turn ultimately set the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement. 

Key dates, special guests and tributes:
October 16 – Tribute: Vanessa Redgrave
October 18 – Centerpiece film: Lady Bird
October 19-22 – Industry Days
October 20 – Awards Night
October 21 – Tribute: Alfre Woodard
October 25 – Tribute: Sir Patrick Stewart
October 26 – Closing Night Ceremony; Closing Night film: The Shape of Water; Tribute: Michael Shannon

The Chicago Architecture Biennial is a partner during the Festival and throughout the four months of the Biennial. Films will explore captivating buildings as well as the architects who designed them.

‘Big Time’ was produced by Sonntag Pictures (Denmark), led by Sara Stockmann. Architect Bjarke Ingels shown here.

Sarah’s Backstage Pass will be highlighting the Danish film Big Time, a documentary of the architect Bjarke Ingels. Check back for an interview with the director, Kaspar Astrup Schröder and Bjarke Ingels the subject of the film.

The film is spread over a period of 6 years while Bjarke Ingels works to complete his largest projects yet, the New York skyscraper VIA 57W, which houses the newly opened multiplex Landmark at 57 West, and World Trade Center 2. The Wall Street Journal has stated that Bjarke Ingels has ‘rapidly become one of the design world’s biggest stars’ and his name recently appeared in TIME’S 100 Most Influential People.

Big Time Screenings: Sat Oct 14 at 6pm @ AMC Theatres – River East 21, attended by Kaspar Astrup Schröder and Bjarke Ingels  Sun Oct 15 at 3pm @ AMC Theatres – River East 21, attended by Kaspar Astrup Schröder

Exploring the international refugee crisis and the ongoing immigration debate are the focus of nine documentaries: Before Summer Ends (Switzerland, France), Mr. Gay Syria ( France, Germany, Turkey), The Other Side of the Wall (Spain), and Sea Sorrow (Vanessa Redgrave’s directorial debut); the features The Charmer (Denmark); The Insult ( Slovakia, Ukraine), Aki Kaurimaski’s The Other Side of Hope (Finland); and the shorts Across My Land (U.S.) and The Comet (Sweden; both part of the program Shorts 5: Speak, See, Remember).

Winnie the Pooh’s Origin Story ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ CREDIT: Fox Searchlight

Wars may have ended but, for these central characters the traumas still remain: Birds Are Singing in Kigali (Poland), Goodbye Christopher Robin (United Kingdom), Last Flag Flying (U.S.), Men Don’t Cry, (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Germany, Croatia), Mudbound (U.S.), the world premiere of Zoo (United Kingdom) and the shorts Seven Minutes (Israel) and Les Intranquiles (Switzerland; both part of the program Shorts 5: Speak, See, Remember).

Check back for our coverage of Goodbye Christopher Robin, Sarah Knight Adamson screened the film in London last week, visited the outdoor setting for the film in Hartfield, England as well as the Pooh Corner Shop. She will also interview British director Simon Curtis.

Short film notes: 21 of the 53 (40%) shorts are directed by women, 9 out of 53 have Chicago roots (all eight shorts featured in Shorts 1 – Chicago Style: City & State and Standing Nymph and Man (U.S.; Shorts 8 – These Walls Talk: Architecture).

A Gentle Night (China; Shorts 6 – Meditations & Emergencies) won the Short Film Palme d’Or, 500,000 Years (Thailand; Shorts 3 – Living After Midnight: After Dark was produced by Kick The Machine, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s production company.

The Burden (Sweden; Shorts 2 – Blurred Lines: Animation) won top prizes at the Annecy Film Festival and the Göteborg Film Festival. Returning shorts filmmakers Helena Giron and Samuel Delgado ( Plus Ultra, Spain; Shorts 3 – Living After Midnight: After Dark ), Kevin Jerome Everson and Claudrena Harold ( Fastest Man in the State, U.S.; Shorts 7 – Another Country: Black Perspective).

Sam Shepard, the late great actor, and playwright will be remembered with the presentation of his last film as an actor, Camille Thoman’s stylish thriller Never Here as part of its International Film Noir program.

With a myriad of films, filmmakers, special guests, topics and events to be shared, discovered, and devoured, the full schedule can be found at the Chicago International Film Festival’s website:

The Chicago International Film Festival

The Chicago International Film Festival runs from October 12-26.

Sarah Knight Adamson © October 7, 2017

Posted in Film Festivals, Red Carpet and Events, Red Carpet and Events

Stronger (R) ★★★★ Radio Podcast 🎙

Click Here to listen to Sarah Knight Adamson’s Hollywood 360 Radio Podcast:

Stronger is the true story of Jeff Bauman, who lost both his legs during the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. The film is based on his memoir of the same name. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Bauman and Tatiana Maslany plays his girlfriend and future wife.

We see Jeff as he struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and the challenging physical effects he faces in learning to adjust to his new life.

Miranda Richardson plays Bauman’s caring yet over-bearing mom.

The Bottom Line? Talk about a winner! Jake Gyllenhaal’s gritty, multifaceted Oscar worthy performance gives us a realistic and profound sense of what it means to be a true hero.

You’ll be surprised by other circumstances that surround Bauman, namely a new baby and the story of the man that saved him.

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal as Jeff Bauman, Tatiana Maslany as Erin Hurley, Clancy Brown as Jeff Bauman Sr., Miranda Richardson as Patty Bauman, Frankie Shaw as Gail Hurley, Danny McCarthy as Kevin Horst, Carlos Sanz as Carlos Arredondo, Karen Scalia as Lori Hurley, Jimmy LeBlanc as Larry

Credits: Director David Gordon Green, Writer (based on the book “Stronger” by) Bret Witter, Jeff Bauman, Writer John Pollono, Cinematographer Sean Bobbitt

Studio: Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions Films

Run Time: 2 hours

Posted in Film Review Podcast Archives, Hollywood 360, Movies 2017, Radio Podcasts, Reviews

The Kingsman: The Golden Circle (R) ★★★ Radio Podcast 🎙

Click Here to listen to Sarah Knight Adamson’s Hollywood 360 Radio Podcast:

The Kingsman: The Golden Circle (British Secret Service Comedy)

This is the sequel to The Kingsman: Secret Service (2014) A year has passed since Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton) and the spy organization Kingsman saved the world, yet lost his mentor Harry Hart (Colin Firth) to a gunshot. The opening scene is worth the price of admission as Charlie Hesketh, a former Kingsman trainee who lost his arm and vocal chords in the prior film, ambushes Eggsy. This insane hand to cybernetic hand combat scene takes place in the back seat of a black cab with the completion in Hyde Park Lake all while Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” blares in the background.

Poppy Adams, (Julianne Moore) the world’s largest drug cartel queen, broadcasts a message telling the world about a toxin she laced within every recreational drug available.

Statesman, a secret American organization posing as a Bourbon whiskey distillery in Kentucky introduces us to Jeff Bridges as Agent Champagne and Channing Tatum as Tequila they wear Stetsons and carry electrified lassos to play off the English Bowlers and weaponized umbrellas.

The Bottom-line: This is a wacky film with a fight scene in the Cambodia jungle, inside a 1950s red and white “Diner” set that uses a giant donut (think Randy’s Donuts) for a shield. Elton John is dressed in a peacock feathered suit while he’s kicking some bad guys around while “Saturday (Wednesday) Night’s Alright for Fighting” blares. The zaniness won me over by the film’s endless parade of creative ridiculous gadgets and weapons.

Cast: Taron Egerton as Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin ,Colin Firth as Harry Hart, Julianne Moore as Poppy, Mark Strong as Merlin, Pedro Pascal as Agent Whiskey, Sophie Cookson as Roxy Morton, Halle Berry as Ginger, Channing Tatum as Agent Tequila, Jeff Bridges as Agent Champagne, Poppy Delevingne as Clara, Elton John as himself.

Credits: Director Matthew Vaughn, Writer (comic book The Secret Service) Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons, Writer Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, Cinematographer George Richmond, Editor Eddie Hamilton, Composers Henry Jackman, Matthew Margeson.

Run Time: 2 hours and 21 minutes

The radio podcast will post after the review has aired. Stay Tuned.

Posted in Film Review Podcast Archives, Hollywood 360, Movies 2017, Radio Podcasts, Reviews

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