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May 2018

Slideshow: Meteorologist Ginger Zee Promotes Her Book ‘Chasing Helicity’ in Chicagoland

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Meteorologist Ginger Zee up close for her book ‘Chasing Helicity.’

CHICAGO – Meteorologist Ginger Zee is an admired personality on ABC-TV, handling the weather reporting from “Good Morning America” to “World News Tonight.” Those in Chicago fondly remember Ms. Zee, when she did weather on NBC5 here. She made a triumphant return to promote her new book, “Chasing Helicity,” at a signing event sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop at North Central College in Naperville, Ill.

Podtalk: Writer/Director Paul Schrader Blesses ‘First Reformed’

CHICAGO – Paul Schrader can absolutely claim the title of Cinema Icon with his 40 plus years of influence and involvement as writer or director in memorable films such as “Taxi Driver,” “American Gigolo,” “Raging Bull” and “Auto Focus.” His latest written-and-directed-by film is “First Reformed,” featuring Ethan Hawke.

Exclusive Photo: In Memoriam for Margot Kidder of 1978 'Superman,’ Dead at Age 69

Margot Kidder, photo by Joe Arce

LIVINGSTON, Mont.– Actress Margot Kidder had a roller coaster ride of a life, which ended in Montana on May 13, 2018, at the age of 69. From her modest beginnings as a Canadian performer in TV and B-movies, to her work with Brian De Palma, and her peak as Lois Lane in the first set of “Superman” movies, Kidder forged her own path. That path included a bipolar disorder that plagued her later years.

Film Review: Full Glory of Cinema Art Resides in 70mm ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’

2001: A Space Odyssey

CHICAGO – It is the 50th Anniversary of director Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and the film has lost none of its power, freshness and thought process, in a journey of truth that ponders existence. The film has been recently restored in 70mm (overseen by director Christopher Nolan) and now is on a roadshow tour, including Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre.

Full Glory of Cinema Art Resides in 70mm ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’

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

CHICAGO – It is the 50th Anniversary of director Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and the film has lost none of its power, freshness and thought process, in a journey of truth that ponders existence. The film has been recently restored in 70mm (overseen by director Christopher Nolan) and now is on a roadshow tour, including Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre.

Podtalk: Filmmakers Bill Holderman & Erin Simms Join ‘Book Club’

CHICAGO – If your impression of a book club is one of staid pseudo-intellectuals creating pithy symbolism out of nothingness, then your impression is about to change. Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen star in the new comedy “Book Club,” co-written by Erin Simms and director Bill Holderman.

Film Review: Formula Works Well in Hilarious ‘Deadpool 2’

CHICAGO – We could all use some laughs, and “Deadpool 2” blessedly delivers. The meta superhero Deadpool – who exists both as a anti-hero and actor playing him – provides the wisecracks in the midst of the mayhem he experiences, and entertains in a way that other comic book movies wish they could be.

Formula Works Well in Hilarious ‘Deadpool 2’

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

CHICAGO – We could all use some laughs, and “Deadpool 2” blessedly delivers. The meta superhero Deadpool – who exists both as a anti-hero and actor playing him – provides the wisecracks in the midst of the mayhem he experiences, and entertains in a way that other comic book movies wish they could be.

Film News: CLOSING NIGHT of Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema is May 16, 2018

2018 APUC Closing Night

CHICAGO – Season Six of Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema has been superior, and definitely ranks as one of their best. After showing the finest contemporary films of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China and India, Hong Kong is saved for the Closing Night Film on May 16th, 2018. “Tomorrow is Another Day” is the English title, and it was directed by Chan Tai-Lee and features Ling Man-Lung. Chan and Ling will appear on behalf of the film at the AMC River East 21 Theatre in downtown Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

Festival Feature: Immersive Virtual Reality at 2018 Tribeca Film Festival

NEW YORK CITY – Every year, the evolution of story experience is on display at the Tribeca Film Festival, and its popularity continues to escalate. The “Virtual Arcade,” which was at the festival hub in the Tribeca neighborhood, featured Virtual Reality (VR), interactive storytelling and immersive experiences.

Festival Feature: The Films of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival

2018 Tribeca Film Festival 2

NEW YORK CITY – The 17th Tribeca Film Festival wrapped a couple weeks ago (April 29th, 2018) and the award winning films of the festival have been named. Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com was there for the first week of Tribeca, and files his personal best of the films that he experienced.

Photo Gallery: Lexi Parr Rocks the RocHaus on May 12, 2018

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Lexi Parr at the RocHaus, 1 of 4

WEST DUNDEE, Ill. – “A Voice for the Generations” – as singer Lexi Parr has often been called – the Galena (Illinois)-based artist is the quintessential old soul. She wails like Janis and commands the tonal spectrum like Etta James. Lexi has been lighting up stages since an early age, destined to be the “voice” that everyone remembers. The city of Nashville, Harley Davidson Motorcycles, MTV, “The Voice” TV show and the largest stages across the Midwest have all embraced Lexi, with her immense talent and the electrified stage show she brings with her band, RubyBlonde.

Podtalk: Programs Manager Ana Wright on Opening of New ‘Chicago Filmmakers’ Home

Chicago Filmmakers

CHICAGO – One of the gems of the local cinema scene is the organization known as Chicago Filmmakers. Their 43 year old mission? To make the world of filmmaking available to anyone who wants to learn, thereby allowing new and diverse voices to emerge. Chicago Filmmakers recently moved into their ultimate home, a converted fire station in the Edgewater neighborhood, which is ideally located and suited for any local resident to learn the nuts and bolts of moviemaking, or to take in their screen offerings. Ana Wright is the Programs Manager for the nonprofit center.

Film Review: Melissa McCarthy is the Charming ‘Life of the Party’

CHICAGO – Melissa McCarthy is a comedic force to be reckoned with, able to wring laughs improbably out of the stingiest of material. She always manages to find the funny, which helps elevate everyone around her, and so she slips easily in the durable friendly constructs of the campus comedy in “Life Of The Party.”

Melissa McCarthy is the Charming ‘Life of the Party’

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

CHICAGO – Melissa McCarthy is a comedic force to be reckoned with, able to wring laughs improbably out of the stingiest of material. She always manages to find the funny, which helps elevate everyone around her, and so she slips easily in the durable friendly constructs of the campus comedy in “Life Of The Party.”

Film News: Chicago Critics Film Festival Closing Day/Night Line-up for May 10, 2018

2018 Chicago Film Critics Festival

CHICAGO – The 2018 Chicago Critics Film Festival (CCFF), the only fest curated by film critics in the country, is finishing up with a rousing line-up of cinema leading to the Closing Night Spotlight. “Eighth Grade” will close the 6th annual fest – and although the film is sold out – rush tickets could be available at the fest’s location, Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre. Get all the information by clicking here.

Film Review: Strange Story of ‘Disobedience’ is Constant Distraction

CHICAGO – The director Sebastían Lelio is no stranger to oddball human stories. His 2017 film, “A Fantastic Woman” – the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film – was a one-of-a-kind but amazingly poignant story of identity. His latest, “Disobedience,” mines the same human territory with lesser results.

Strange Story of ‘Disobedience’ is Constant Distraction

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

CHICAGO – The director Sebastían Lelio is no stranger to oddball human stories. His 2017 film, “A Fantastic Woman” – the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film – was a one-of-a-kind but amazingly poignant story of identity. His latest, “Disobedience,” mines the same human territory with lesser results.

Podtalk: Jerry Vasilatos on May 8, 2018, Opening Registration for Chicago 48 Hour Film Project

2018 48 Hour Film Project

CHICAGO – If you ever had a hankering to get a film onto the big screen, the 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP) is your opportunity. The short-movie-creating competition is coming back to Chicago for the 14th straight year, and Jerry Vasilatos is the producer for the 4th year. The registration period has opened on May 8th, 2018, and will continue through July 3rd. For complete details, click here.

Podtalk: Filmmaker Clare Cooney on ‘Runner’ at Chicago Critics Film Festival, May 6, 2018

Runner/Clare Cooney

CHICAGO – When a notable filmmaker debut takes place, the cinema universe takes notice. Clare Cooney debuted her short film “Runner” on the festival circuit in 2017, and won Best USA Short Film at the Fairhope (Alabama) Film Festival. She brings the made-in-Chicago short back to its city of origin, as “Runner” screens as part of the 6th Chicago Critics Film Festival on Sunday, May 6th, 2018, part of “CCFF Shorts Program #1.” For details and ticket purchase info, click here.

Exclusive Photos: Natalie Morales of ‘The Today Show’ on Cookbook ‘At Home with Natalie’

Natalie Morales, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – Natalie Morales is the West Coast news anchor of NBC-TV’s “The Today Show,” the host of “Access Hollywood” and a contributing correspondent to “Dateline NBC” and the “NBC Nightly News.” Somehow, she also has time to be a superior home cook, and shared her recipes recently during a stop at Anderson’s Bookshop La Grange (Illinois), promoting her cookbook “At Home with Natalie.”

Film Review: Charlize Theron in ‘Tully’ Turns Mom Into Martyr

CHICAGO – “Tully” is a deeply weird motherhood fantasy snuck inside the friendly-but-distancing screenwriting constructs of another pseudo ironic story by Diablo Cody. Charlize Theron plays Margo, a mother of two kids with a third due any day, struggling with the sacrifices she’s made for motherhood.

Charlize Theron in ‘Tully’ Turns Mom Into Martyr

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

CHICAGO – “Tully” is a deeply weird motherhood fantasy snuck inside the friendly-but-distancing screenwriting constructs of another pseudo ironic story by Diablo Cody. Charlize Theron plays Margo, a mother of two kids with a third due any day, struggling with the sacrifices she’s made for motherhood.

Film Review: Remake of ‘Overboard’ a Fun & Unexpected Treat

CHICAGO – When the movie remake of the 1987 charmer “Overboard” was announced last year, immediately my thought was “it will stink.” But the creators of this remake didn’t listen, and produced a charmer of their own, twisting the premise and adding the hope of America. If that ain’t heart, I don’t know what is.

Remake of ‘Overboard’ a Fun & Unexpected Treat

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

CHICAGO – When the movie remake of the 1987 charmer “Overboard” was announced last year, immediately my thought was “it will stink.” But the creators of this remake didn’t listen, and produced a charmer of their own, twisting the premise and adding the hope of America. If that ain’t heart, I don’t know what is.

Film News: Special Appearances at the 6th Chicago Critics Film Fest, May 4-10, 2018

2018 Chicago Film Critics Festival

CHICAGO – The 2018 Chicago Critics Film Festival (CCFF), the only fest curated by film critics in the country, is entering its sixth edition with another outstanding line up. A collective of Chicago film critics attend the winter film festivals (Sundance, SXSW, etc.) and find the hidden gems that will make their mark in cinemas for 2018 and beyond. The festival takes place from Friday, May 4th – “Fast Color” is the opening night film – through Thursday, May 10th, at Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre. Get all the information – including the opportunity to purchase a weeklong pass – by clicking here.

HollywoodChicago.com en Español Entrevista: El Legendario Comediante Mexicano Eugenio Derbez Habla 'Overboard'

Derbez Main 2

CHICAGO - Cuando rehagas una película, tienes que asegurarte de que vale la pena rehacerla y es relevante hoy. Eugenio Derbez hace exactamente eso con “Overboard”. La película se actualiza social y culturalmente, y es sorprendentemente familiar. Esta versión también se lanzará en teatros con un doblaje en español. Hablamos con el legendario comediante Eugenio Derbez sobre la película, ser Mexicano en Hollywood y mucho más!

Interview: Legendary Mexican Comedian Eugenio Derbez talks ‘Overboard’

CHICAGO - When you remake a film, you have to make sure it is worth remaking and is relevant today. Eugenio Derbez does exactly that with “Overboard”. The film is socially and culturally updated, and made surprisingly family friendly.

Tribeca 2018: Author Tawni O’Dell on the Screenplay Adaptation of Her Book, ‘Back Roads’

Tawni O'Dell of 'Back Roads'

CHICAGO – For a first book author, there is probably no greater literary blessing than their work becoming a “Oprah’s Book Club” selection. Tawni O’Dell experienced that honor in 2000, for her novel “Back Roads.” Fast forward years later, and O’Dell adapted that novel – with Adrian Lyne – into a screenplay that became the film “Back Roads,” which screened at the 17th Tribeca Film Festival on April 20th, 2018.

Interview: Betsy West & Julie Cohen on Their Documentary ‘RBG’

CHICAGO – Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the notorious “RBG,” has been a steady and abiding voice on that high court since 1993. But how much do we really know about this unassuming and highly admired jurist? Co-directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen answer this question in their documentary “RBG.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Jesus Christ Superstar, Lyric Opera

    CHICAGO – As a wee lad, I would often go into my parent’s record collection. One day, out of the blue, that brown double album with the gold embossed angels appeared, like a gift from the divine. “Jesus Christ Superstar” began as a record album “rock opera” in 1970, evolved to a Broadway show and film, and then was interpreted through a myriad of stage revivals over the years. The latest is an exciting piece of stagecraft at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The show has a various evening/matinee run through May 20th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Cornerstone, Nothing Without a Company

    CHICAGO – We all need some help. The stage play group Nothing Without a Company realizes that, and has collaborated with the organization “Cornerstone” to provide that assistance. Cornerstone is a seminar and a happening in downtown Chicago, facilitated by “experts” to generate your potential. The presentation has a Thursday-Sunday run at Michigan Avenue’s Artspace 8 through May 6th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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