All posts by Tarek Fayoumi amateur film critic in Chicago!

I am someone who strives to become a professional critic. I watch and review many movies. I view the eyes of movies as something as an art form. I have followed many critics over the years, but once I was thirteen I knew writing film reviews was going to be my passion. I learned from watching multiple episodes of Ebert And Roeper in my teen years, and then in middle school I began writing film reviews for a newspaper club. I am also an avid fan of the arts of Chicago including Theatre, Comedy, and music. Films, however, are my primary focus.

Nebraska Review: By Tarek Fayoumi



Nothing can be better than watching an Alexander Payne movie with two men on a road trip. Nebraska is a heartfelt comedy that is just a knee-slapper. Bruce Dern, Will Forte, and Bob Odenkirk are tremendous in this quirky, art-house comedy. No better film can compete with a Payne film all focused on a retired man wanting to drive all the way to Montana just to claim a prize.

The film is set on an old, typsy fellow named Woody Grant (Dern). Woody is a man who drinks constantly and frequently forgets his memory a ridiculous amount of times. The drinking side of him has been an issue to years and has bought shame to his two sons David Grant (Forte) and Ross Grant (Odenkirk). Without taking care of himself, Woody is sitting around drinking, cussing, and just being a royal nightmare to anyone around him including his wife Kate Grant (played by June Squibb). No matter how much people try to be nice or help Woody be involved he remains as his self-centered self.

Woody keeps a lottery number with him all the time and is hoping to be able to claim a million- dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing Prize. It is a lottery number he has kept for years and he never takes the time to think about the prize being worth it or not worth it. Since he is a drunk, has dementia, and lost his driving privileges he has no way going to Montana (where the prize money may or may not be). Therefore, his son David volunteers to drive him on a road trip to Montana to help him claim the million dollar prize he obsesses about frequently.

This movie is one of my all time favorites. I am a man who has been on road trips a variety of times. The acting and the dialogue between Dern and Forte defines how a relationship can be when you go on a road trip with one of your parents. Especially when it is for hours at a time and on roads that are deserted. The films witty behavior, crazy situations, and language, makes you want to re-think a vacation if your between flying and driving.

This is the sixth film directed by Payne. Payne’s films have gotten better every time he has made a new installment. For the screenplay he hired a writer for TV series named Bob Nelson. Nelson credits include shows ranging from Almost Live, The John Report with Bob, The (206), The Magic Hour, and Eye of the Nye. With Nelsons talent in writing for ridiculous shows, he helped Payne with the screenplay to bring the audience of Nebraska to be laughing hysterically. Nebraska is a film with tons of quirky dialogue that may seem ridiculous but once it is seen, people will laugh hard.

The technology sides of Nebraska is done in a very artsy way. Payne hires the cinematographer Phedon PapaMichael who he had hired to do the cinematography for his 2004 masterpiece Sideways and the Photography for his sensational 2011 drama The Descendants. PapaMichael creates an entirely black and white film in the highest resolution we have with filming technology today. It takes audience into a journey feeling like were in the sixties watching a classic. Dern is amazing playing Woody. His grumpy, yet alcohol-savvy self and driving everyone up the hill really fits his style of acting and his appearance. Up front he may be a grumpy man but is a brilliant actor. Forte is satirical playing David. He never breaks character, his annoyance with his drunken and opinionated father just drives him up the hill more and more. On the road trip with his dad, his dad getting out of the car to walk Montana, Forte loses himself so many times and it just happens frequently to the point where it goes from funny to serious. Nebraska is a hilarious masterpiece that is at a quiet tone and requires attention, but it is truly brilliant.

Does Woody win his money? Best for you to see it and find out. Payne is quite known for having twists to the ending of his movies. However, when Woody and Grant go further into there road trip, the film keeps getting funny as it progresses. Payne’s films never disappoint. I am now hoping he makes a new one soon. Do not miss Nebraska. Four stars.


Prisoners Review


Prisoners is a suspense masterpiece that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal go overboard with their roles. I have never seen Jackman nor Gyllenhaal play intense roles so well. Prisoners is skeptical, haunting, chilling, you will be asking for more.

Prisoners focuses on a father named Keller Dover (Jackman) a man that takes his family to a neighbors house for a Thanksgiving Dinner. After the feast is finished the children scatter and do their own thing while the grown-ups socialize. Hours later Dover’s daughter goes missing and there is only one clue to her missing. The stranded RV, since Dover’s daughter wanted to play on the RV, but was denied by her brother. That is introduced to Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), a detective assigned to the case. Also we are introduced to the main victim Alex (played by Paul Dano): a man with an IQ of a ten year old but may have something to do with Dover’s daughter. However, with very little evidence and Loki’s trouble of understanding the situation, Dover chooses to put risks into his own hands.

Prisoners honestly is paced just the way it should be. The film literally grasps every key moment to the missing of Dover’s daughter. The people being listed, the search parties, and the forces between Dover and Loki is just engrossing. The film had the message listed “Every Moment Matters.” In that case the movie felt like the whole attention span on it mattered the most.

Prisoners is fairly disturbing on one hand. The fact that Alex gets kidnapped by Dover and punished for answers. At moments (I am not giving away details) but the scenes were quite disturbing where at times I felt I could not handle it.

Overall, Prisoners is one of the best thrillers of 2013. It left me in shock by the ending, but also amazed by how my mind was blown away. It is a two hour and thirty-two minute film. It just feels like ninety when you get into it. Four stars.

Wolf of Wall Street Review


This Christmas may have had more adult movies than children’s movies, but Wolf of Wall Street was a lethal yet sensational masterpiece. The film is quirky, raunchy, mind-blowing, and you will not want it to end. Leonardo DiCaprio knocks his performance out of the ballpark.

Wolf of Wall street focuses on the true story of Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio). Belfort is man who starts his Wall Street business in an auto body shop. He rounds up his own team of brokers and works his way up to make a bunch of money. However, the money being so much money that he does not know what to do with it.

I have seen many films relating to Wall Street business. These films ranging from Wall Street and Wall Street Money Never Sleeps. In those films the strategies to buying and selling stocks made it look like a learn it yourself deal. Not in the Wolf of Wall Street. Belfort makes a script for his brokers and teaches them speaking and selling strategies to sell successfully. That was appealing because that just proves that the more stocks sold, the crazier the movie gets.

Focusing on DiCaprio, I thought that DiCaprio really went over his head in this film. All at once he plays a drug addict, an alcoholic, and one of the wealthiest stockbrokers. What appealed to me was how he can pull of this movie being an insanely mad character. It is not because he has experience, or because of his looks, but with working with Scorsese on numerous occasions, he chooses his roles carefully.

The length of Wolf of Wall Street was Three hours. I have heard from many different sources that the film could have ran for literally four hours. I asked myself what would the extra hour be? Tons of more drugs, sex, and mayhem. If that could have happened, I would have been all for it. Since I was laughing up a lung the entire time.

Wolf of Wall Street is however not a movie intended for children. It is very vulgar and can be quite off limits with how the film goes. But to whoever can handle the obscure content and vulgarity, it is a thrill ride that you will never forget. Four stars.