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June 2018

Film Review: 'Sicario: Day of the Soldado' Ripped From Headlines

CHICAGO – We don’t really know what is going on at the Mexican border, nor if we’re lucky understand the desperation in crossing over. “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” is a cynical and sad film, but gives a bit of perspective on the this ongoing situation, especially as it deflates the current presidential administration.

'Sicario: Day of the Soldado' Ripped From Headlines

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

CHICAGO – We don’t really know what is going on at the Mexican border, nor if we’re lucky understand the desperation in crossing over. “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” is a cynical and sad film, but gives a bit of perspective on the this ongoing situation, especially as it deflates the current presidential administration.

Podtalk: Co-Directors David & Nathan Zellner Rescues the Western in ‘Damsel’

Damsel

CHICAGO – The familiar archetypes of the Hollywood Western… the dusty town, the swinging saloon doors and the cowboys looking the part… are all present and accounted for in “Damsel,” written and directed by David and Nathan Zellner (“Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter”). The twist comes in the action of the characters, portrayed by Robert Pattinson (“Twilight”), Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderland”) and the Zellners themselves.

Film Review: ‘Uncle Drew’ Scores Points as a Feel Good Film

CHICAGO – Sometimes, you just want to escape to the surreal “Land of The Feel Good,” where all relationships work themselves out and all results are victorious. “Uncle Drew” is that film for this pre-holiday weekend, and although this basketball comedy is not a slam dunk, it certainly hits several heart-and-soul points.

‘Uncle Drew’ Scores Points as a Feel Good Film

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

CHICAGO – Sometimes, you just want to escape to the surreal “Land of The Feel Good,” where all relationships work themselves out and all results are victorious. “Uncle Drew” is that film for this pre-holiday weekend, and although this basketball comedy is not a slam dunk, it certainly hits several heart-and-soul points.

Podtalk: Director Shana Feste & Actor Lewis MacDougall Establish Their ‘Boundaries’

Boundaries

CHICAGO – Combining an intimate, personal story with a superstar cast, writer/director Shana Feste realized a semi-autobiographical journey in her new film “Boundaries.” The cast includes Oscar winners Christopher Plummer and Vera Farmiga, as well as Lewis MacDougall (“A Monster Calls”), Kristen Schaal, Bobby Cannavale, Christopher Lloyd AND Peter Fonda in a road trip picture that reunites ne’er do well Dad Jack (Plummer) with his desperate-to-connect-with-him daughter Laura (Farmiga).

Film News: Cinepocalypse Closing Night with ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space’ on June 28, 2018

Killer Klowns from Outer Space

CHICAGO – The end is near for the 2nd Annual Cinepocalypse Film Fest at the historic Music Box Theatre in Chicago, as they present “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” for their Closing Night Film on Thursday, June 28th (8:30p), with cult writer/directors (and brothers) Stephen and Charles Chiodo making an appearance on behalf of the film. For ticket information, click here.

Podtalk: Actor Lee Perkins Hammers it Home in ‘The Domestics’

Lee Perkins

CHICAGO – The horror of a post apocalyptic world is ripe for exploration, and the new film “The Domestics” is the latest to take us down that road. Tyler Hoechlin and Kate Bosworth portray a married couple seeking her parents, as they road trip through what is left of Wisconsin after a societal collapse, and a series of murderous gangs have marked their territory. One of the gang leaders is Dean The Nailer, a foreboding presence who is portrayed with a ferocious intensity and precise eeriness by actor Lee Perkins.

Podtalk: Comedian Lil Rel Howery Got Game in ‘Uncle Drew’

CHICAGO – The born-in-Chicago comedian and now actor, Lil Rel Howery, is on a hot streak. Besides practically stealing the classic film of last year, “Get Out,” Howery was just seen in “Tag,” and is taking on a lead role in “Uncle Drew.” The new film is a basketball comedy featuring NBA/WNBA players taking on different roles.

Podtalk: Director Eugene Jarecki Crowns Elvis ‘The King’

CHICAGO – Elvis Presley, besides being one of the most famous entertainers of the 20th Century, does symbolize to an extent what can happen to icons when they turn towards certain directions in a career. Director Eugene Jarecki has created an amazing documentary about Elvis called “The King,” that uses his rise and decline as a symbol for the American Dream.

Film News: Lana Wachowski to Present ‘Bound’ at 2018 Cinepocalypse on June 27

Lana Wachowski, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – The roots of the Chicago-born Wachowski Siblings (“The Matrix,” “Cloud Atlas”) is in the 1990s, with their unforgettable directorial debut “Bound” (1996). To celebrate that landmark, the Cinepocalypse Film Fest invited Lana Wachowski to present the film at the historic Music Box Theatre on Wednesday, June 27th, 2018 (7pm). To purchase tickets, click here.

Exclusive Photo: TV Icon Carol Burnett at the Chicago Theatre

CHICAGO – She’s so glad we had this time together. Carol Burnett, who practically is the history of show business in one career, recently appeared at the Chicago Theatre with her show “An Evening of Laughter and Reflection,” which was a career overview and audience Q&A… just like she had done on her classic TV show.

Film News: Chicago Gala to Honor Michael Kutza on July 14, 2018

CHICAGO – One of the greatest representatives of Chicago cinema history, Michael Kutza, the Founder and CEO of the Chicago International Film Festival, announced his retirement after 55 years on North America’s oldest film festival. He will be honored at the Festival Summer Gala in Chicago on July 14th, 2018.

Podtalk: Yedidya Gorsetman on June 24 World Premiere of ‘Empathy, Inc.’ at 2018 Cinepocalypse

Empathy, Inc.

CHICAGO – The buzz of the Chicago film week is the 2018 Cinepocalypse Film Festival at the Music Box Theatre. And there is no better excitement than a World Premiere, and director Yedidya “Jed” Gorsetman is doing just that with his new film, “Empathy, Inc.” For complete information about the screening, click here.

Film Review: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ is Classic Jurassic

CHICAGO – For a franchise celebrating its 25th Anniversary, with three original films and on its second reboot, the dinosaurs-living-on-modern-earth dynamic would pretty much be played out. But after a shallow first reboot, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” takes on a more classical approach, and returns to form.

‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ is Classic Jurassic

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

CHICAGO – For a franchise celebrating its 25th Anniversary, with three original films and on its second reboot, the dinosaurs-living-on-modern-earth dynamic would pretty much be played out. But after a shallow first reboot, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” takes on a more classical approach, and returns to form.

Film News: Special Guests for ‘Cinepocalypse’ at Chicago’s Music Box, June 21-28, 2018

Cinepocalypse 2018

CHICAGO – It’s the 2nd Annual “Cinepocalypse,” unspooling at Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre on Thursday, June 21st, 2018, for a week of weirdness, horror and cinema carnage. Throughout the week, there will be special appearances, freaky revivals and Lifetime Achievements. The following is a guide to all the special guests and events for this special film festival.

Interview: Kevin Epperson Directs ‘The Courtship,’ Screening in Chicago on June 21, 2018

Courtship, The

CHICAGO – The dark, mysterious film genre of noir has been a hand-in-glove for most of the cinema’s epic history. Director Kevin Epperson’s latest short film, “The Courtship,” uses all the familiar tools within the noir theme… the use of black&white, plus the roles of the hapless mark and the mysterious dame… to showcase the story of online dating gone awry. Epperson will be screening “The Courtship” at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Chicago, on Thursday, June 21st, 2018, at 7pm (click link below for more details).

Red-Carpet Interview: Gene Siskel Film Center Honors Ethan Hawke

CHICAGO – Ethan Hawke has made 2018 his year, and on June 7th the Gene Siskel Film Center of Chicago recognized his recent artistic achievements and his career by honoring him with their annual Renaissance Award. The event included a Red Carpet walk, and an on-stage talk with his friend, actor Vincent D’Onofrio.

Podtalk: Producer Kristi Dunn Kucera on Her Brother & His ‘Trial of Lies’

Shawn & Kristi Dunn

CHICAGO – In 1925, the Franz Kafka novel “The Trial” was published, launching the term “Kafka-esque” to describe people who get trapped by the judicial system. One such victim is Shawn Dunn, a financial planner who discovered a way (in 1994) to take “corporate inversion” – a tax abatement system initially developed by multinational corporations to substantially reduce their tax bill – and apply that same system to his small business and retirement fund clients for their use. Despite the continued legality (for corporations) of the accounting technique, the FBI raided Dunn’s offices, and arrested him for providing the same legal means for his clients to minimize their tax bills. He lost his trial in 2008, and despite many appeals, is currently serving an 18 year sentence.

Podtalk: Director Jeff Tomsic Plays the Game of ‘Tag’

CHICAGO – When a real life group of friends keep a thirty year tradition alive, playing a game of “Tag,” there is bound to be a film that shares the same name. Jeff Tomsic makes his director debut with a killer cast… Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress and Jeremy Renner, all still playing that childhood game.

Film Review: John Travolta Captures the Life & Times of ‘Gotti’

Gotti

CHICAGO – Probably the last classic era of romanticized organized crime (mafia, mob, etc.) in New York City was the reign of John Gotti… the high profile boss of the Gambino family from 1986-1992. Nicknamed both the Dapper Don and Teflon Don (because of his ability to avoid prosecution), he is brought back to life by John Travolta in the sparely titled “Gotti.”

John Travolta Captures the Life & Times of ‘Gotti’

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

CHICAGO – Probably the last classic era of romanticized organized crime (mafia, mob, etc.) in New York City was the reign of John Gotti… the high profile boss of the Gambino family from 1986-1992. Nicknamed both the Dapper Don and Teflon Don (because of his ability to avoid prosecution), he is brought back to life by John Travolta in the sparely titled “Gotti.”

Film Review: ‘Incredibles 2’ is a Sequel That Returns for Fine Fun

CHICAGO – If you liked Pixar Animation’s original “The Incredibles” of 14 years ago, then you’ll find a lot to like with this sequel, which puts these “supers” back in their suits for another go around to save the world. The action in “Incredibles 2” picks up almost immediately after the original film left off.

‘Incredibles 2’ is a Sequel That Returns for Fine Fun

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

CHICAGO – If you liked Pixar Animation’s original “The Incredibles” of 14 years ago, then you’ll find a lot to like with this sequel, which puts these “supers” back in their suits for another go around to save the world. The action in “Incredibles 2” picks up almost immediately after the original film left off.

Podtalk: Director Brett Haley on Rhythms in ‘Hearts Beat Loud’

CHICAGO – There is no better Father’s Day present at the movies than director Brett Haley’s new film, “Hearts Beat Loud.” It’s the story of a single Dad, portrayed by Nick Offerman, dealing with his about-to-go-to-college daughter. The riff in the film is that they are also songwriters together, and that becomes a major conflict.

Video Interview: John Travolta on His New Role as ‘Gotti’

CHICAGO – John Travolta has fulfilled his career legacy of icon status, and he continues to work on projects that highlight his performance abilities. Fresh off his role as real-life Robert Shapiro in “The People Vs. O.J. Simpson,” Travolta takes on another historical figure in his portrayal of mobster John Gotti in the new film “Gotti.”

Theater News: ‘The Cher Show’ in Chicago, June 12, 2018

CHICAGO – Cherilyn Sarkisian… yes, that is her birth name… is the redoubtable Cher, and it’s perfect timing for her to have a jukebox musical tribute. “The Cher Show,” covering three eras/songs of the six-decade career of Cher, opens for a Chicago preview before its Broadway run, from June 12th through July 25th, 2018.

Podtalk: ‘Working in protest’ on Final Day of Chicago Underground Film Festival, June 10, 2018

Working in protest

CHICAGO – In the age of Donald Trump, the number of citizen protests have increased in size and scope. But what are the results of these gatherings and what does it really mean? A new documentary film by co-directors Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley entitled “Working in protest” uncovers a bit of unvarnished truth in these demonstrations, as it covers the protest years of 1987 through 2017. This is part of the final day of the 25th Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF), which includes the Closing Night film “FUTURE LANGUAGE: The Dimensions of VON LMO,” directed by Lori Felker.

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