July 29th, 2022 09:54am

From the Chicago Critics Film Festival…

Back in May, I reviewed To Leslie and Palm Trees and Power Lines for CHIRP — the latter of which was my favorite film of the festival, and will likely be on my Top 10 list for the year. Have a gander!

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May 9th, 2022 10:25pm

I have been writing…

… and now that the kinks in Ye Olde Website have been ironed out, you’ll see regular updates here! Here are two essays from the last Chicago Critics Film Festival: my reviews of The Lost Daughter and Red Rocket for CHIRP Radio.

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February 19th, 2019 04:43am

Best of 2018! And more…

Before I list my favorites of 2018, here’s a recap of other films covered by CHIRP’s Fourth Wall last year:

One of my all-time favorite relationship films, Drinking Buddies delves into a quartet of intertwined Chicagoans, two of whom are co-workers at a local microbrewery. What are we all looking for in relationships? Director Joe Swanberg emerged a decade ago as one of the champions of the “mumblecore” film movement which strives for authenticity, and here, all four characters seem completely honest and real.

When it comes to the bank-robbing brothers Connie and Nick in Good Time, well — the ultra-suave Rat Pack this is not. After a bungled heist ends with a sack of worthless money and Nick in custody, Connie is forced to ad-lib an assortment of schemes over the next 24 hours in the hopes of freeing him… with misfortune befalling any unfortunate soul who gets sucked in along the way.

With any and all political documentaries, “truth” is a murky subject, and it’s no different in 13th. Director Ana DuVernay’s agitprop film was a compelling launching point for a discussion on race, politics, and the criminal justice system. As for her answers? Your Mileage May Vary based on your worldview.

In director Jason Reitman’s Tully, there’s a montage early on that spins us between diaper-changing, wailing, and assorted spills in rapid-fire fashion. It didn’t take much imagination for this humble scribe to visualize childrearing as an exhausting horrorshow. So how does Marlo (Charlize Theron) deal? Enter Tully…

While I was disappointed with his latest offering The Favourite, Yorgos Lanthimos’ distinctive brand of deadpan weirdness was on full display in his previous film, The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Here, he asks the question: how much stress can we inject into a household before even fundamentally serene people start to crack?

And now for my Top 10 of 2018:


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May 18th, 2018 08:29pm

Revolutionary Road, The Thin Blue Line, Thirteen, and others…

It’s been a while, I know, but I’ve got lots more content out there in the way of cinema conversation!

Revolutionary Road  — Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet tear down their marriage from within, one verbal dagger at a time, in this ’50s-era adaptation of a Richard Yates novel.

The Thin Blue LineThis Errol Morris film about the murder of a police officer a decade earlier not only served as a landmark documentary, but also led to the exoneration and release of a wrongly-convicted suspect.

ThirteenLet’s just say that the lifestyles of these renegade youth (based on the real exploits of actress/co-screenwriter Nikki Reed) were way crazier than anything experienced by this humble scribe, who spent much of this age buried under computer games and comic books.

MindhunterSeems that most folks dug this Netflix series about 1970s FBI investigators on the trail of a serial killer? I didn’t. Read to see why!

Black Mirror, Season 4 In contrast, Charlie Brooker’s series on the dark side of technological progress has rarely failed to deliver the goods. In this season, Brooker & Co. tackle online dating, helicopter parenting, and the world of immersive computer gaming.

These and more reviews are featured in the Essays page!

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November 3rd, 2017 10:11pm

The Florida Project! The Square! And more ramblings about that tricky concept called humor…

Greetings folks — more Fourth Wall conversations for your consumption!

The Florida ProjectMy pick for the best film of 2017 (thus far), about folks scraping by in the seedy motels that reside in the shadow of Orlando’s Disney World.

The Square — A rather excellent Australian neo-noir caper from 2008, written by Joel Edgerton (and directed by his brother Nash).

The Fall of The SimpsonsNo, that’s not a spinoff adventure of Homer & Co.; it actuall is about the decline of a once-great landmark comedic work, spurred by the fascinating dissection of humor via an insightful YouTube critique.

BoJack Horseman, Season 4 — “I know now why you laugh, but it’s something I can never do.” If I was playing Arnold’s T-800 in Terminator 2, I might’ve used this line instead? BoJack has wowed fans and critics, including my Fourth Wall collaborator Clarence. As for me, I spent the whole time watching with a vacant stare…

The Levelling — A low-key British drama from 2016, about a young woman who comes home to pick up the pieces of the family farm after a tragedy.

The Babadook — Just in time for Halloween! This 2014 Australian horror tale kicked off a broader conversation on our tastes re: the horror genre.

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September 18th, 2017 10:14pm

More thoughts from The Fourth Wall…

Check out a trio of new conversations on cinema and television!

After Love, an outstanding 2016 French/Belgian film about a marriage in the throes of a separation — but where both parties (and their school-age daughters) are still inhabiting the same home. As you might imagine, the atmosphere is rather tense…

Black Mirror, our first foray into Charlie Booker’s genius series about the impact that technology might have on societal interaction in the very near future.

War Machine, well… sometimes we watch these films so that you don’t have to! But it did inspire a fair amount of introspection about why most comedies leave me more than a bit wanting. This 2017 military satire would squarely fall in that category.

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August 24th, 2017 09:42pm

Lady Macbeth! Exit Through the Gift Shop! And more!

Check out some more e-conversations on cinema, both new and old! It’s The Fourth Wall, a regular exchange of thoughts between fellow CHIRP member Clarence Ewing and me on film. I also have listed our discussions separately on my Essays page.

[Clarence and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on Lady Macbeth, but I loved it — and watch for the name Florence Pugh in years to come. Tremendous performance.]

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June 11th, 2017 05:10am

The Fourth Wall — The Baker’s Dozen!

Hey folks — we just finished our 13th edition of The Fourth Wall for CHIRP Radio. Come check out fellow scribe Clarence Ewing and me discuss all sorts of cinema topics! From the recent James Baldwin documentary I Am Not Your Negro to technolove in Her… and everything in between. You can access the entire archive here.

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March 16th, 2017 03:27am

New Film Blog: Fourth Wall!

Check out the new weekly film blog, Fourth Wall, I’ve co-launched with fellow CHIRP Radio volunteer Clarence Ewing! Basically, the two of us will pick a topic each week and then trade thoughts via e-mail until we publish the discussion on Fridays. Here’s our take on the current state of Hollywood. Next up — the new film Get Out. 

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January 24th, 2017 02:24am

Quiet Desperation: The children of “Alba” and “Moonlight”

Hi folks — here’s the first in what will hopefully be a continuing series of thoughts on various new films. These won’t necessarily be reviews, but more an exploration of themes expressed in each story. To start: two of my favorite cinematic experiences of 2016: Alba and Moonlight. 


Few films and television shows paint an authentic picture of childhood. Some of it assuredly smacks of lazy writing, but I imagine that once we pass a certain age, it’s simply tough to get inside the mind and perspective of a child. Can you remember when the world was a scary place? When you weren’t sure of how to behave in certain social situations? Or when you had to deal with malicious peers?


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Kevin Fullam is a writer and researcher, with extensive experience in fields ranging from sports analytics to politics and cinema.

In addition, he has hosted two long-running radio series on film and culture, and taught mass media at Loyola University.

Episodes of his two shows, Split Reel and Under Surveillance, are archived on the Radio page.