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January 2017

Film Review: Joy of Life Expands When Meeting ‘Toni Erdmann’

Toni Erdmann

CHICAGO – If you need a little cinema therapy, it doesn’t get any better than “Toni Erdmann.” This subtle story builds to generate a joyful feeling, which defines the small-but-important survival guides for this thing called life. Writer/director Maren Ade has delivered the goods, and the film is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the upcoming Academy Awards.

Joy of Life Expands When Meeting ‘Toni Erdmann’

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

CHICAGO – If you need a little cinema therapy, it doesn’t get any better than “Toni Erdmann.” This subtle story builds to generate a joyful feeling, which defines the small-but-important survival guides for this thing called life. Writer/director Maren Ade has delivered the goods, and the film is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the upcoming Academy Awards.

Photo Gallery: ‘America’s Got Talent’ Star Aiden Sinclair’s ‘Illusions of the Passed’ Magic Show

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Illusions of the Passed by Aiden Sinclair at The Stanley Hotel

CHICAGO – While vacationing in Colorado, an unusual twist of fate landed me before “America’s Got Talent” star Aiden Sinclair while staying at The Stanley Hotel. His one-man show, “Illusions of the Passed,” took place in the billiards room of the hotel where Stephen King’s “The Shining” was inspired. Here are photos from the unusual experience.

Photo Gallery: The Lumineers at Allstate Arena on Jan. 20, 2017

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The Lumineers at Allstate Arena on Jan. 20, 2017

CHICAGO – The Lumineers sold out Chicago’s Allstate Arena on Jan. 20, 2017. HollywoodChicago.com photographer Layne Lindroth brings you front-row photos illustrating the incredible folk/rock show. Enjoy!

Theater Review: Brown Paper Box Co. Dances ‘The Baltimore Waltz’

Baltimore Waltz, The

CHICAGO – During the scourge of the AIDS epidemic, at its height in the late 1980s, a playwright lost her brother to the condition. Inspired by him, Paula Vogel wrote “The Baltimore Waltz,” a story about her and her brother’s travels through Europe – and filtered through the prism of fantasy and the movies. The Brown Paper Box Company presents a re-staging of the play in Chicago through February 19th, 2017.

HollywoodChicago.com ESP, En Español: ‘xXx,’ ‘Split,’ ‘Paterson’ y ‘20th Century Women’

CHICAGO – Cada semana, HollywoodChicago.com le traerá las criticas de las películas que hemos visto y que están saliendo esa semana, pero en español. HollywoodChicago.com ESP no sólo representa HollywoodChicago.com Espanol, sino también Esta Semana en Peliculas.

What is HollywoodChicago.com ESP? / Que es HollywoodChicago.com ESP?

CHICAGO – This week, we’re introducing HollywoodChicago.com ESP. What exactly is HollywoodChicago.com ESP? Well, in an attempt to keep up with our ever-growing and evolving readership, we will now be providing film reviews in Spanish. HollywoodChicago.com has always prided itself on being inclusive and progressive, and we know that many of our readers learned English as a second language. We have heard your suggestions and here is our response.

HollywoodChicago.com ESP, En Español: ‘xXx,’ ‘Split,’ ‘Paterson’ y ‘20th Century Women’

CHICAGO – Cada semana, HollywoodChicago.com le traerá las criticas de las películas que hemos visto y que están saliendo esa semana, pero en español. HollywoodChicago.com ESP no sólo representa HollywoodChicago.com Espanol, sino también Esta Semana en Peliculas.

Film Review: Matthew McConaughey is All That Glitters in ‘Gold’

CHICAGO – The relish that Matthew McConaughey displays in creating his latest character in “Gold,” a Willy Loman-type mining exec who is looking for his biggest score, is most of the reason to experience the film. However, there isn’t exactly a motherlode when it comes to the story.

Matthew McConaughey is All That Glitters in ‘Gold’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – The relish that Matthew McConaughey displays in creating his latest character in “Gold,” a Willy Loman-type mining exec who is looking for his biggest score, is most of the reason to experience the film. However, there isn’t exactly a motherlode when it comes to the story.

Interview: Oriana Oppice of Women in Film Chicago & Their Open House on Jan. 26, 2017

WIFC logo, 2016

CHICAGO – Women in Film Chicago (WIFC) continues its role as one of the best resource and advocacy groups for women filmmakers and their supporters. The organization has roots to the 1970s, when the first WIFC group was formed in Los Angeles, and the Chicago chapter has experienced strong growth, both in numbers and what it offers to its membership. The WIFC will be celebrating all of this with their Open House, January 26th, 2017, at Columbia College in Chicago (details below).

Entertainment News: TV Icon Mary Tyler Moore Dies at 80

GREENWICH, CONN. – She was the ideal woman for two generations of TV viewers, first in the 1960s as wife Laura to comedy writer Rob Petrie on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” and then in the 1970s as feminist breakthrough Mary Richards on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Ms. Moore died on January 25, 2016, near her home in Greenwich, Conn. She was 80.

Film News: ‘La La Land’ Gets Record 14 Oscar Nominations for 2017

CHICAGO – The film musical “La La Land” received 14 nominations (including Best Picture), tying a record, as all nominees were announced for the 89th Academy Awards on January 24th, 2017. The rest of the Best Pictures nominees were “Arrival,” “Fences,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hell or High Water,” “Hidden Figures,’ “Lion,” “Manchester by the Sea” and “Moonlight.”

Film Review: M. Night Shyamalan Returns, Full of Personality in ‘Split’

CHICAGO – M. Night Shyamalan is a complicated filmmaker whose work seems to reflect a variety of different sides to the artist. “The Visit” marked a return to a new, yet familiar side of Shyamalan that most of us thought blew away with “The Last Airbender.” it seems “Split” marks the return/re-emergence of the too-long departed Shyamalan that we thought was buried in the past.

M. Night Shyamalan Returns, Full of Personality in ‘Split’

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

CHICAGO – M. Night Shyamalan is a complicated filmmaker whose work seems to reflect a variety of different sides to the artist. “The Visit” marked a return to a new, yet familiar side of Shyamalan that most of us thought blew away with “The Last Airbender.” It seems “Split” marks the return/re-emergence of the too-long departed Shyamalan that we thought was buried in the past.

Entertainment News: Travel & Adventure Show Returns to Chicagoland on Jan. 21 & 22, 2017

Travel and Adventure Show, 2017

CHICAGO – Travel buffs and soulful adventurers will get a taste of the upcoming year in wanderlust at the Travel & Adventure Show, returning to Chicago on January 21st and 22nd, 2017, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. The show features leading destinations, local experts, celebrity travel speakers and vendors that highlight everything you need to get to those special destinations.

Exclusive Portrait: Hail to the Chief, a Tribute to President Barack Obama

Barack Obama, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – The year was 2006, and the photographer was Joe Arce of HollywoodChicago.com. The portrait subject was the future president of the United States, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. For the first time, on his last day in office, we publish this portrait of the 44th executive representative of America.

Film Review: ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ is Action as Phantasm

CHICAGO – The true miracle of “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” – besides constantly breaking the law of physics – was making the sonorous line readings of Vin Diesel almost palatable. This over-the-top action fantastic turns up every implausibility dial to the red zone, but satisfactorily entertains.

‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ is Action as Phantasm

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

CHICAGO – The true miracle of “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” – besides constantly breaking the law of physics – was making the sonorous line readings of Vin Diesel almost palatable. This over-the-top action fantastic turns up every implausibility dial to the red zone, but satisfactorily entertains.

Film Review: Gravity of Poetic Dreams Carry Weight in ‘Paterson’

Paterson

CHICAGO – What is more ordinary than a man alone with his thoughts, and then applying those thoughts to paper in the form of poetry? “Paterson” is a celebration of such ritual, and other dreams in the working class. It never panders, it never makes the “hero” that heroic, but it does challenge him in an ordinary sense, to work it out as meaningful poetics.

Gravity of Poetic Dreams Carry Weight in ‘Paterson’

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

CHICAGO – What is more ordinary than a man alone with his thoughts, and then applying those thoughts to paper in the form of poetry? “Paterson” is a celebration of such ritual, and other dreams in the working class. It never panders, it never makes the “hero” that heroic, but it does challenge him in an ordinary sense, to work it out as meaningful poetics.

Film Review: Michael Keaton is a Man with a Brand in ‘The Founder’

CHICAGO – Michael Keaton is the real reason to see “The Founder” – it’s a movie that probably wouldn’t work at all without him. Keaton portrays Ray Kroc, the man who turned McDonald’s into a multinational fast food behemoth. But “The Founder” is an origin story of both the man and the brand…and Kroc is not the genius of American business he’s been made out to be.

Michael Keaton is a Man with a Brand in ‘The Founder’

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

CHICAGO – Michael Keaton is the real reason to see “The Founder” – it’s a movie that probably wouldn’t work at all without him. Keaton portrays Ray Kroc, the man who turned McDonald’s into a multinational fast food behemoth. But “The Founder” is an origin story of both the man and the brand…and Kroc is not the genius of American business he’s been made out to be.

Film Review: ‘Monster Trucks’ May Be One of the Weirdest Films Ever

Monster Trucks

CHICAGO – A four year old walks into a room with a great idea for a movie, and unfortunately his father is president of a “motion picture group.” Millions of dollars and four years later, this child’s idea became “Monster Trucks,” one of the strangest movies ever conceived.

‘Monster Trucks’ May Be One of the Weirdest Films Ever

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – A four year old walks into a room with a great idea for a movie, and unfortunately his father is president of a “motion picture group.” Millions of dollars and four years later, this child’s idea became “Monster Trucks,” one of the strangest movies ever conceived.

Film Feature: 10 Worst Films of 2016, by HollywoodChicago.com

CHICAGO – Film reviewing can be a blood sport – not everything is a highfalutin art night at the cinema. The three reviewers of HollywoodChicago.com – Patrick McDonald, Spike Walters and Jon Espino – did spend some time wasting energy on some really bad movies in 2016, and lived to tell about it.

Photo Gallery: Humorcore Rock Band Psychostick at Bada Brew on Jan. 12, 2017

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Psychostick at Bada Brew on Jan. 12, 2017

CREST HILL, Ill. – HollywoodChicago.com photographer Jeff Doles brings you a front-row seat to humorcore rock band Psychostick’s performance at Bada Brew on Jan. 17, 2017. Self-coined a “humorcore” band, Psychostick is an American comedy rock band from Tempe, Ariz. who is known for their silly imagery and usage of humor in their songs and lyrics. Enjoy!

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 3rd, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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