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.

12 Years A Slave Review By Tarek Fayoumi


Nothing can be more powerful yet engrossing than a Steve McQueen film about slavery. 12 Years A Slave is a powerful film that will make viewers cry. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, and Brad Pitt are spectacular in this adaptation of the true story of Solomon Northup. There have been several occasions where films centered on slavery have seemed intense. 12 Years A Slave however, is one of the most haunting and breathtaking dramas that I have seen in a long time.

It tells the story of Solomon Northup (played by Ejiofor) who is a free black man from the part of Upstate New York. He is a loving husband and father to his children. However, all of a sudden he is tricked by some dealers and traded back into slavery. He tries to keep his head up on hopes of getting out, but with everyone around him who feels it is too late to escape, he struggles to find his way home.

Solomon deals with the tasks he is given by his slave owners. Mostly working on plantations and doing harvesting and building on the owner’s land. However, he is told by other slaves that if he wants to survive, the best strategy to go buy is to do less of what is told by his owners to do. In that starts to happen with the ruthless commander Tibeats (Dano). He provokes all of the slaves and everyone ignores it except for Solomon. Solomon goes crazy being a smart mouth to try and state to Tibeats that he is a free man. That on the other hand becomes a more complicated journey for Solomon to get home.

12 Years A Slave is a movie that I walked out mortified by. I have the guts for films that are gruesome or disturbing to most people. I was not mortified by just how gruesome this film was, I was mortified by Ejiofor’s talent to play a ruthless slave. The anger and despair that Ejiofor portrays defines how life can be as a slave. Especially when there is a man who was free but just fell back into it again. The films violence, thematic material, and the despairing moments makes you want to research the biography of Solomon Northup.

This is the third film directed by Steve McQueen. McQueens films have always had the sense to get many emotional reactions from its audience. He hired Hans Zimmer for the music. From a man who’s music is generally quite captivating to me, Zimmer made music that brings audience to feeling like they are a part of the dramatic experience. 12 Years A Slave is a film that really is sad throughout the whole movie, but once it is seen, you will be amazed.

The cinematography in 12 Years A Slave is done with tons of lighting. McQueen hires the cinematographer Sean Bobbitt, who had hired to do for his first two films Shame and Hunger. Bobbitt creates an entirely colorful picture in the highest resolution we have with filming technology we have today. It takes audience into a journey feeling like were actually part of the time period when the events in the film actually happened. Ejiofor is at his best with this picture. His hopes, his goals, his despairs, and his style attitude fits the role he was given in this film. Up front it may seem like he is a man who lost all hope, but his goal is to get back home to his family and prove his freedom.

Can Solomon escape? Best for you to see it and find out. McQueen is generally good with sad or expected endings. However, when Solomon keeps track of how long it has been since he was taken, the film becomes more powerful every key moment. McQueen’s films are triumphant. I am now hoping that he is in the process of another masterpiece. Three and a half Stars.


Inside Llewyn Davis Review By Tarek Fayoumi

I have not always been into folk music, but when I saw Inside Llewyn Davis I was captivated by the folk music played in the film. The Coen brothers Joel and Ethan Coen direct this cinematic tail that had a limited release in early december. As of now though it is starting to expand nationwide due to its oscar buzz. I would hate to see that this film is not playing in many locations. Considering the fact that The Coen brothers had a lot of successful films ranging from Fargo, No Country For Old Men, O Brother Where Art Thou, and many more. 

Inside Llewyn Davis follows the tail of a folk singer Llewyn Davis (played by Oscar Isaac), a folk singer that is struggling to make business with his music as well as have a fit relationship with the one girl he loves who name is Jean (Carey Mulligan). Throughout Llewyn’s journey to find where he can play music, he has a bunch of issues. cannot pay rent, carries a cat, a guitar, and always is living on the streets traveling the the Greenwich Village.

Llewyn is keeping his goal to be back in the business of being a professional folk singer. What makes this film as captivating as it is, is how Llewyn is always frequently trying to find business in music. He honestly does not really put much effort into it because of his suffrage with being poor, but he does have talent. His guitar-playing and his vocal performance is top-notch, but his record deals are not so dazzling.

Inside Llewyn Davis was charming to me. I am one of the most frequent music listeners to random music stations as I drive in my car. Sometimes a folk song comes on the radio and grabs my attention. Normally though, I skip that station. As I heard the song Hey Mr Kennedy, I felt like tuning to the station where the folk music is playing in hopes of finding that song or something similar to it. Inside Llewyn Davis’s music makes you want to be in the moment of the music that is being played in the film.

In the Oscars, I hope Cohen brothers win another award for best music like they did with the film O Brother Where Art Thou back in the year 2000. With their song I am a man of Constant Sorrow. That song was one that I listened too consistently and I still do today. Inside Llewyn Davis has a bunch of songs that are oscar-worthy. However I will not say which ones, because I do not want to ruin the film for people who plan to see it.

This film was honestly a good movie, a solid three and a half star film. It is not to be missed. For you Coen Brothers fans out there, this is a must-see.




Her Review by Tarek Fayoumi


Her is charming film that is fairly enthralling. Spike Jonze writes and directs this film taking place in a futuristic setting with technology advanced to the extreme. The movie stars Joaquine Phoenix (as Theodore), and Scarlett Johansson (as the social operating system named Samantha).  Even though the film is getting a variety of great reviews, it really involves people’s full-on attention to understand the message.

Her gears on the main character Theodore. He is a man who is alone and has many struggles. He is going through a divorce, feels he does not have many friends, and is just in need of fun. Her spends a generous amount of the movie on technology that is way advanced than the technology we have in today’s generation. Everything voice-activated and whatever is done on the computer is done automatically by voice. Meet Samantha: supporting, heartfelt, and Theodore’s operating system. Samantha gets to know Theodore in an instant through advanced background checks and realizations of how Theodore lives his life. Theodore loves Samantha but faces social issues. He loves Samantha, is going through a divorce, and is just not sure of who he would rather be with in his life.

This movie was one I enjoyed but I did not see it as amazing. I enjoyed the scenery, the funny moments, but just I could not understand what the movie was trying to say entirely. It just makes me wonder to myself one question. How much more advanced does our technology get? Overall, it was an enjoyment to see how a man becomes so attached to his operating system.

This movie is not one to be missed. However, just it is one of those films to go with an open-mind. Three and a half stars.