Sarah Knight Adamson

Chicago-based Sarah Knight Adamson is the film critic for the Internationally syndicated radio show Hollywood 360, broadcast on over 90 stations. She has served on film panels for the Chicago Public Library, been a juror at film festivals, and writes about film for Naperville Magazine. She is founder and publisher of Sarah’s Backstage Pass website, where her written work appears.

 

Articles by Sarah Knight Adamson

 

MARC TURTLETAUB on PUZZLE, Kelly Macdonald and Women’s Roles — Sarah Knight Adamson interviews

As producer, Marc Turtletaub has been investing cash and cred in femme-centric feature films since 2004, standing behind award-winning films such as Little Miss Sunshine with Toni Collette and Abigail Breslin, and Loving with Ruth Negga among others. Sitting in the director’s chair for this year’s Puzzle, he’s brought to life a most memorable female character named Agnes, a doting albeit repressed housewife and mother who finds her sense of adventure, self-esteem and new meaning in life when she casually enters the realm of competitive jigsaw puzzling. As with Turtletaub’s other cinematic credits, a great measure of Puzzle’s success rests with the film’s leading lady, Kelly Macdonald, whose complex and nuanced performance as Agnes is funny and heartbreaking and entirely relatable. Here’s what he had to say in a chat with AWFJ’s Sarah Knight Adamson after the Chicago Film Critic’s Festival’s May 14 screening of the film at the Music Box Theater. Continue reading…

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ANT-MAN AND THE WASP — Review by Sarah Knight Adamson

antman posterPaul Rudd is back in all of his goofy glory as dad (Scott Lang) also known as Ant-Man in the follow-up to Ant-Man (2015). Here’s the good news: Evangeline Lily, (Hope van Dyne) The Wasp not only has equal movie title billing, but she also works right alongside Ant-Man in fending off evil. No, they’re not out to save the world from doom and gloom—here they work together to save a family member. The film’s core is family driven by comedy buzzing throughout; delightful when compared to the weighty themes of other Marvel films namely, The Avengers: Infinity War (2018). There’s no doubt this mostly PG film could have easily been slated as the perfect summer family-friendly popcorn munchin’ movie—although the PG-13 language that is scattered throughout is not appropriate for youngsters. All and all—an entertaining, refreshing change in the MCU (Marvel Comic Universe) as audiences were giggling and laughing out-loud from start to finish. Continue reading…

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ADRIFT — Review by Sarah Knight Adamson

adrift posterShailene Woodley’s breakout role as the spunky oldest daughter of George Clooney in The Descendants (2011) has proven her acting abilities aren’t a one-off—in fact she’s been sailing along quite nicely in Hollywood, with blockbuster films under her belt such as The Fault of Our Stars (2014) and the award-winning TV series Big Little Lies. In the ultra physically challenging role of Adrift her performance now clearly ranks her among her fellow A-list actors. Here she plays Tami Oldham in the harrowing true story of she and her fiancé, Richard Sharp’s (Sam Claflin) journey from Tahiti to San Diego aboard a 44-ft yacht, their dilemma—Hurricane Raymond, which garnered 40-ft. waves and 140 knot winds with only a few weeks into their voyage. The trailers tell us Richard is severely injured with a broken leg and ribs—(I’m not giving out any spoilers here), thus promoting Tami from skipper to captain for their survival—and, to carry the bulk of the film. Continue reading…

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BOOK CLUB — Review by Sarah Knight Adamson

For those of us that are currently in a ‘book club’ or those of us who’ve been in one in the past, we are undeniably privy to the fact that the book is never the star of ‘book club’ it’s the wine and the sisterhood. I’m pleased to say; in the film, Book Club director/writer Bill Holderman and writer Erin Simms got this right for their debut rom/com. Continue reading…

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LIFE OF THE PARTY — Review by Sarah Knight Adamson

Undeniably, Melissa McCarthy is one of the funniest women working in Hollywood to date. After her break-out role in Bridesmaids (2011), the female version of The Hangover, McCarthy continues to cross over into typical guy-dominated roles: buddy cops in The Heat, world reconnaissance in Spy, and exterminating ghosts in Ghostbusters. Here she’s reinventing the manboy character as in Rodney Dangerfield’s Back to School and Will Ferrell’s Old School in creating a sweet, unassuming mom role in Life of the Party. Continue reading…

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TULLY — Review by Sarah Knight Adamson

Tully is a female character driven movie from the heart, which mothers universally will champion and applaud for its realism—to be clear, it is not the flawlessly staged Mommy Blog Instagram photos that display angelic children with posed smiles and lovely stain-free attire. Native Chicago suburban writer Diablo Cody, known for her Academy Award winning screenplay of Juno (2007) along with director Jason Reitman bring us their third film together. Tully’s tone feels like the grownup version of Juno; she’s now in mid-crises mode, heading smack dab into post-partum depression. But, don’t let that scare you off, this quick-witted dark comedy, had me laughing out loud. Tully is a film for all to see, to clearly appreciate that motherhood, like old age, is not for sissies. If anything, you’ll gain an empathic view of the never-ending duties and responsibilities of merely being a mom. Continue reading…

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A QUIET PLACE — Review by Sarah Knight Adamson

Shh…Don’t Say a Word. Sci-fi giant spider-like creatures can’t see you—so no need to hide—except, if they hear you—they’ll kill you instantly. That’s the premise of this tightly edited, spine-tingling sci-fi horror film. Be prepared for 95 minutes of suspense building, nerve-wracking drama as a family attempts to survive in a dystopian world where making a sound means certain death. Continue reading….

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ALL I WISH — Review by Sarah Knight Adamson

Should a 60-yr-old actress permanently be typecast as a mom or a grandma? Sharon Stone can answer that question with an emphatic no way! When first-time director Susan Walters took a chance on a major script change from Stone, she opened the anti-ageism floodgates for all females. You see, Walters sent the script to Stone inquiring if she’d play the lead’s mom—Stone replied back that it would be more interesting to play the lead daughter role, not to mention it’s a storyline viewers haven’t seen before. When Walters replied that that the character she had in mind wears a bikini, plays beach volleyball, smokes pot, dances in bars, drinks shots, doesn’t want marriage and has casual sex, Stone sent the message, “Don’t change a thing other than the age.” Sharon Stone still rocks. Continue reading…

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I KILL GIANTS — Review by Sarah Knight Adamson

I Kill Giants, the story of a preteen who stuggles with family trauma is based on the graphic comic book series of the same name. The series was written in 2008 by comic book writer Joe Kelly, of Deadpool and Uncanny X-Men fame with artist J. M. Ken Niimura. Danish filmmaker Anders Walter directs his debut feature. If you’ve read all seven issues of the graphic novels, it would seem conceivable to adapt the series into a feature film, as the work is astonishing. The undertaking would be no easy feat – as the casting, as well as the narrative for the main star absolutely, has to be spot on. Here, the casting of the pre-teen is perfect. Continue reading…

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TOMB RAIDER — Review by Sarah Knight Adamson

Yes, it’s a Non-stop Vvdeo-game with little pizazz. Tomb Raider (PG-13) stars Swedish actress Alicia Vikander in the remake of Laura Croft -Tomb Raider, made in 2001 and starring Angelia Jolie. Both editions are based on a popular video game. Continue reading…

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WOMEN ROCK THE 23RD CRITICS CHOICE AWARDS — Sarah Knight Adamson reports

Critics-Choice-Awards-logo-620x360What a joy to attend the Critics Choice Awards on the heels of the female-driven Golden Globes Awards earlier in the week, as women across the globe were inspired by Oprah’s Cecil B. DeMille Award acceptance speech. The mood Thursday evening, January 11, was exciting to say the least. Everywhere you looked, women−whether celebrities or critics—were beaming. Yes, the room was euphoric in celebration, as finally our voices are being heard. Continue reading…

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THE DISASTER ARTIST — Review by Sarah Knight Adamson

“The Disaster Artist,” rated (R), is a comedy based on the real-life story of Hollywood writer/director Tommy Wiseau. His claim to fame is a dramatic film he made, The Room,in 2003. You see, it’s so bad, that it’s actually good and has become a major cult film. Continue reading….

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WONDER — Review by Sarah Knight Adamson

“Wonder” (rated PG) is a drama and comedy based on R.J. Palacio’s best selling book of the same name. It tells the story of August (Auggie) Pullman played by Jacob Tremblay, who is barely recognizable in the film. Remember when he played that darling little boy in the film “Room” in 2015? Auggie’s a good-natured, funny and smart 10-year-old boy, who was born with noticeable facial deformities. Julia Roberts gives an amazing performance as Auggie’s devoted mom, and Owen Wilson stars as a very cool dad. Continue reading…

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MUDBOUND — Review by Sarah Knight Adamson

“Mudbound” is a drama that takes place just after WWII, on a cotton farm in Mississippi. It’s based on the novel written by Hillary Jordan with themes of poverty, racism, violence and a divided America. It stars Jason Clarke as Nate and his wife. Laura, is played by Carey Mulligan. They are landowners. Mary J. Blige stars as Florence their neighbor and sharecropper; she’s married to a sharecropper Hap, played by Rob Morgan. Continue reading…

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Ebert Fest 2017 Focuses on Empathy — Sarah Knight Adamson reports

The 19th Annual Ebertfest Film Festival, April 19-23, was held at the historic 1,525-seat Virginia Theater and the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, IL. The festival highlighted a wide array of films, panels, and Q&A’s dedicated to the theme of empathy. Continue reading…

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