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February 2017

Film Review: ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ is More Silly Than Sexy

CHICAGO – While offering a veritable sex scene smorgasboard, “Fifty Shades Darker” fails to offer much in the way of anything that is actually sexy. As the mousy Anastasia Steele and the billionaire Mr. Grey, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are slightly more comfortable in their roles than they were the first time around.

‘Fifty Shades Darker’ is More Silly Than Sexy

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

CHICAGO – While offering a veritable sex scene smorgasboard, “Fifty Shades Darker” fails to offer much in the way of anything that is actually sexy. As the mousy Anastasia Steele and the billionaire Mr. Grey, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are slightly more comfortable in their roles than they were the first time around…but they continue to have all the sexual chemistry of a couple on a first date that isn’t going particularly well.

Interview: Michael Sanow of ‘The Asylum’ Showcase in Chicago Through Feb. 23, 2017

Asylum, The Logo

CHICAGO – Put in a dash of crazy, add a dash of funny and you are defining “The Asylum,” a catch-all name for a couple of show events in Chicago, playing at The Apollo Theater Studio through February 23rd, 2017. Behind the scenes of these showcases is producer Michael Sanow, a Chicago theater veteran. For “The Asylum” information regarding the “Atypical Musical Comedy Show” (Tuesdays) and “Access Comedy” (Thursdays), click here.

Film Review: 2017 Best Doc Oscar Nominee ‘I Am Not Your Negro’

I Am Not Your Negro

CHICAGO – The terms that have been used to describe African Americans over the years …black, afro-americans, negro and worse… has always been what others had named them, the others that wanted to marginalize, categorize and group individuals into images of words. The documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” seeks to upend these generalizations and in turn, those words.

2017 Best Doc Oscar Nominee ‘I Am Not Your Negro’

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

CHICAGO – The terms that have been used to describe African Americans over the years …black, afro-americans, negro and worse… has always been what others had named them, the others that wanted to marginalize, categorize and group individuals into images of words. The documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” seeks to upend these generalizations and in turn, those words.

Interview: Amy Pietz of ‘Halfway’ to Appear at Midwest Independent Film Festival on Feb. 7, 2017

CHICAGO – Amy Pietz is a Midwesterner made good in her primary role as a working actor. And what better performer to appear at the kick-off of the 2017 Midwest Independent Film Festival, as Pietz’s new film takes place in her native Wisconsin.

Interview: Scott Freiman on ‘Deconstructing the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper Album’

Deconstructing The Beatles

CHICAGO – Scott Freiman is an entrepreneur, producer, composer and musicologist, and turned his primary passion – painstakingly delving into the song production techniques of The Beatles – into a series of lectures called “Deconstructing The Beatles.” He has turned those lectures into films, and “Deconstructing The Beatles Sgt. Pepper Album” will screen in Chicago at area Landmark Cinemas on February 6th, 2017.

Film Review: It Hurts Trying to Laugh at ‘The Comedian’

Comedian, The

CHICAGO – Mention this possibility…Robert De Niro portrays an aging stand-up comic who once had a popular sitcom in the 1980s…and 99% of filmgoers are in. Add that he beds a woman 25 years his junior, does community service, roasts Cloris Leachman and becomes a reality show host, and suddenly 80% of that 99 are out. That’s just part of the over-extension and dread in “The Comedian.”

It Hurts Trying to Laugh at ‘The Comedian’

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

CHICAGO – Mention this possibility…Robert De Niro portrays an aging stand-up comic who once had a popular sitcom in the 1980s…and 99% of filmgoers are in. Add that he beds a woman 25 years his junior, does community service, roasts Cloris Leachman and becomes a reality show host, and suddenly 80% of that 99 are out. That’s just part of the over-extension and dread in “The Comedian.”

Film Review: ‘The Space Between Us’ Falls Into a Black Hole & Dies

CHICAGO – You know you’re in trouble when the opening scene of a film inspires forehead slapping levels of incredulity. And that’s just the beginning of what I felt while watching “The Space Between Us,” another entry in the long line of would-be weepies about young lovers torn apart, usually by class or disease.

‘The Space Between Us’ Falls Into a Black Hole & Dies

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – You know you’re in trouble when the opening scene of a film inspires forehead slapping levels of incredulity. And that’s just the beginning of what I felt while watching “The Space Between Us,” another entry in the long line of would-be weepies about young lovers torn apart, usually by class or disease. The film desperately wants to be a millennial love story for a generation, and has plenty of faults but precious few stars in its tale of literal star-crossed lovers.

Film Review: The Book (Finally) Closes on ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’

CHICAGO – Guilty pleasures are the order of the day, especially when we are facing daily signs of a real, impending apocalypse. End of the world by zombies remains one of the most popular cataclysmic cinematic events and “Resident Evil” is proof. “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” proves that what should be dead can come back to life, but the real question is if it actually should.

The Book (Finally) Closes on ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Guilty pleasures are the order of the day, especially when we are facing daily signs of a real, impending apocalypse. End of the world by zombies remains one of the most popular cataclysmic cinematic events and “Resident Evil” is proof. “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” proves that what should be dead can come back to life, but the real question is if it actually should.

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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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