John Petrakis

John Petrakis teaches screenwriting in Chicago.

Safety Not Guaranteed

Safety Not Guaranteed tells the story of Darius (Aubrey Plaza), a bored intern at a Seattle magazine. While researching a human interest story about Kenneth (Mark Duplass), a scientist/ store clerk who has placed a newspaper ad looking for a companion to accompany him into the future, Darius finds herself learning valuable life lessons about trust, loss, hope and, of course, love.
July 25, 2012

Dark Horse

Writer-director Todd Solondz is the patron saint of schlubs and schlemiels. From his award-winning debut film Welcome to the Dollhouse (1996) through a series of low-budget projects, he casts an empathic eye on outsiders who can’t catch a break, no matter how hard they try.
July 22, 2012

I Wish and Moonrise Kingdom

In cinema, children generally represent wisdom. Their innocence suggests a mind and spirit that has not yet been polluted by anger, disappointment, jealousy, greed, bitterness or any of the other flaws and foibles that accumulate as we turn the corner from adolescence to adulthood.
June 24, 2012

A Simple Life

Whenever people complain to me about the lack of “realistic” movies out there, I point them to tiny gems such as Ann Hui’s A Simple Life, Hong Kong’s entry for last year’s Oscar for best foreign lan­guage film.
June 3, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, by British director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love), is a “hands across the water” movie flavored with large doses of “there’ll al­ways be an England” pluck. It culminates in a warm and thoughtful look at our innate ability to rediscover unexplored strengths within ourselves even on the last few miles of life’s journey.
May 29, 2012