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November 2016

Interview: Naomie Harris, from Moneypenny to ‘Moonlight’

CHICAGO – The career of actress Naomie Harris has exploded, mostly due to a choice role of Moneypenny in the James Bond film series, beginning with 2012’s “Skyfall” and bookended in the recent “Spectre” (2015). But she also displays deep acting chops in the new film “Moonlight,” portraying a mother hopelessly lost in drug abuse.

Interview: Director Rujanee Mahakanjana Takes a Different Route to ‘Lab 99’

Rujanee by Patrick McDonald

CHICAGO – Director Rujanee Mahakanjana has created some atypical and artistic statements in her film career. Her studio Nebula Creatives represents that work, which includes the short films “Random Seating” and “Out of Sight,” and feature films “Man and His Erections” and “Parallel Universe.” She is taking a different route to her next film, “Lab 99,” with a creative process that utilizes the comic book format.

Interview: Barry Jenkins & Tarell McCraney of ‘Moonlight’

CHICAGO – One of the biggest buzz releases of recent weeks is the brilliant new film “Moonlight,” directed by Barry Jenkins, from a story by Tarell McCraney. The narrative, structured in three parts of one boy-to-man’s life, is an emotional journey that connects to important empathy and a vital passionate heart.

Interview: Jean-Claire Fitschen of Comcast on Launch of Xfinity LGBTQ Specialty Content

Comcast Xfinity LBGTQ

CHICAGO – Comcast is a company of diversity, and has launched several options through that diversity with their Xfinity system options, and within their corporate culture. Joining the Spanish bilingual choice, and their in-house Accessibility Lab benefitting persons with disabilities, Comcast recently announced the launch of speciality content with LGBTQ themes. The Executive Director of Multicultural Services, Jean-Claire Fitschen, was recently in Chicago to promote the launch.

Film Review: Science of the Human Condition Makes an ‘Arrival’

CHICAGO – The film genre of aliens from other planets is as old as the movies. But it hasn’t been told as boldly and humanely as the new film “Arrival.” Its theme is communication, and how this interaction relates to the concept of the life cycle. Yes, it’s lofty, but it is also edge-of-the-seat engaging.

Science of the Human Condition Makes an ‘Arrival’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – The film genre of aliens from other planets is as old as the movies. But it hasn’t been told as boldly and humanely as the new film “Arrival.” Its theme is communication, and how this interaction relates to the concept of the life cycle. Yes, it’s lofty, but it is also edge-of-the-seat engaging.

Interview: Omar Epps & D.C. Young Fly of ‘Almost Christmas’

CHICAGO – Every year, the “season” gets earlier and earlier, and the first out of the gate for the holidays is the new film, “Almost Christmas.” This warm-hearted comedy involves a large African American family gathering at the Yuletide, and features Danny Glover, Gabrielle Union, Omar Epps, and introducing D.C. Young Fly.

Film Review: ‘Doctor Strange’ is Odd Enough to be Enchanting

CHICAGO – We’ve reached a point where comic book films are no longer a scarcity, but an eventuality. With several coming out every year, each one competes for our attention even though the originality behind their approach has the opposite effect. A great cinematic fatigue is almost upon us, but “Doctor Strange” shows a promising deviation that could possibly alter the franchise’s fate.

‘Doctor Strange’ is Odd Enough to be Enchanting

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – We’ve reached a point where comic book films are no longer a scarcity, but an eventuality. With several coming out every year, each one competes for our attention even though the originality behind their approach has the opposite effect. A great cinematic fatigue is almost upon us, but “Doctor Strange” shows a promising deviation that could possibly alter the franchise’s fate.

Film News: New Documentary Previews at Kartemquin Fall Festival on Nov. 4, 2016

America to Me

CHICAGO – Kartemquin Films is concluding its Fall Festival tonight on Friday, November 4th, 2016, with a special presentation of clips from three upcoming documentary projects. The film house, famous for the legendary “Hoop Dreams,” will show previews of ”America to Me” by director Steve James; “Eating Up Easter” by Sergio Rapu; and ”Dilemma of Desire” by Maria Finitzo. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Interview: Director James Redford on His Essential Film ‘Resilience’

James Redford

CHICAGO – James “Jamie” Redford is on a righteous mission. Using the power of his latest documentary film, “Resilience,” he is informing all of society to something WE ALL can relate to – Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE). Why is this important? Because virtually everyone is affected by these traumas, and it may be the key to healing many mental AND physical health problems, as well as some societal ills.

Film Review: ‘Trolls’ is Catchier Than it Has a Right to Be

CHICAGO – “Trolls” isn’t the type of confection that I would normally subject myself to, but at least it didn’t make me want to stick knitting needles in my ears. That’s because “Trolls” aspires to be this season’s “Frozen,” a full blown animated musical jam packed with songs you can’t get out of your head as much as you might try.

‘Trolls’ is Catchier Than it Has a Right to Be

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “Trolls” isn’t the type of confection that I would normally subject myself to, but at least it didn’t make me want to stick knitting needles in my ears. That’s because “Trolls” aspires to be this season’s “Frozen,” a full blown animated musical jam packed with songs you can’t get out of your head as much as you might try.

Interview: Directors Mike Mitchell & Walt Dohrn of ‘Trolls’

CHICAGO – The delightful new animated film “Trolls” takes the familiar doll to a new level of fun and heart. Behind this invention is the director team of Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn, who have worked together in various animation roles over the years before teaming up in their first collaboration for Dreamworks Studio.

Interview: Festival Director Eve Studnicka on the Driftless Film Festival From Nov. 3-6, 2016

Driftless Film Festival 2016

CHICAGO – For seven years, the town of Mineral Points, Wis., has hosted an ever evolving event called the “Driftless Film Festival.” And for all those years, from the time she was a young teenager to the present day, Eve Studnicka has worked within and around the festival. For the past two years, she has been the Festival Director, all while completing her undergraduate degree at Columbia College in Chicago.

Slideshow: Red-Carpet Portraits at 52nd Chicago International Film Festival for Local Films

| Image 1 of 8 |
MIDDLE MAN - Director Ned Crowley and Actor Jim O’Heir.

CHICAGO – The 52nd Chicago International Film Festival wrapped last week, but the Red Carpet presentations continued right up to that end date. The Chicago connections films, either made in the area or by Chicago filmmakers or actors, had two major Red Carpets, and HollywoodChicago.com was there to capture them. Actors and filmmakers from the new films “Middle Man” and “Imperfections” were there.

Interviews: City & State Short Film Directors at the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival

CIFF City and State 2016

CHICAGO – One of the great nights at the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival is the short film presentation celebrating the best of area filmmakers, the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois. Included in the program were three notable filmmakers, Anne Beal (“Positioning”), Filip Kojic (“HUH”) and Brian Zahm (“The Nude”).

Film Review: Surprising Fun in Revenge Tale of ‘The Handmaiden’

CHICAGO – Although “The Handmaiden” is based in deceit, fetishes, thievery and subservience, director Park Chan-Wook (“Stoker”) keeps it light by the addition of some subversive humor, and weaves a mystery with a pitch that is like the “The Sting” meets “In the Realm of the Senses.”

Surprising Fun in Revenge Tale of ‘The Handmaiden’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Although “The Handmaiden” is based in deceit, fetishes, thievery and subservience, director Park Chan-Wook (“Stoker”) keeps it light by the addition of some subversive humor, and weaves a mystery with a pitch that is like the “The Sting” meets “In the Realm of the Senses.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Wiz, The

    CHICAGO – When stage theater can cause outbreaks of elation, celebration and joy, then it must be due to Kokandy Productions’ revival of “The Wiz.” The urban reinterpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” story – told through tuneful euphoria and jubilant dance – is ecstatically produced, in every morsel of its stagecraft.

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