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July 2018

Slideshow: Upcoming 2018 Wizard World Comic Con in Chicago Runs August 23-26

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Loni Anderson of ‘WKRP in Cincinnati.’

CHICAGO – It’s coming back! One of the best annual pop culture entertainment and comic book gatherings returns to Chicagoland once again, as the Wizard World Comic Con will make its yearly visit to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., the weekend of August 23rd through the 26th, 2018. Besides the fan costumes, vendor booths and comic book legends, Wizard World has appearances from TV and movie celebrities, highlighted in 2018 by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files”), Ben Savage (“Boy Meets World”), Henry Winkler (“Happy Days,” Barry”) and Nichelle Nichols (“Star Trek,” Original Series).

Photo Gallery: Emo Nite LA Performing at Wicker Park Fest

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Chicago Fest Crowd at Emo Nite LA.

CHICAGO - Emo Nite LA performed at the Wicker Park Fest on Friday, July 27th, 2018. Emo Nite has origin in three friends (Babs Szabo, T.J. Petracca and Morgan Freed) performing at a small dive bar, and has grown into a full-blown phenomenon. Of course, they have been able to bring together some of the most incredible names in music who have become part of this Emo Nite “family”… including Halsey, Sonny Moore (Skrillex) & From First to Last, Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional), Mark Hoppus (Blink 182), Post Malone, Demi Lovato and so many more.

They have been able to throw regular events in dozens of markets across the country, and have had spots on lineups at festivals like Life is Beautiful, Slam Dunk, BUKU and Vans Warped Tour. They have created successful clothing collabs with companies like OBEY, Urban Outfitters, PLEASURES, Rose in Good Faith, OWSLA and more. But above all else, they are ever changing the idea of what a music event can be.

Red-Carpet Voices: Chris Messina for HBO’s ‘Sharp Objects’

CHICAGO – You’ve seen him in many familiar roles over the years, from “Argo” to “The Mindy Project.” Character actor Chris Messina is memorable in all those roles, and currently is taking on Detective Richard Willis in the hot new HBO miniseries “Sharp Objects,” opposite Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson.

Film Review: Fun and Uproarious ‘Teen Titans Go! To the Movies'

CHICAGO – If a good laugh is golden, then “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” is worth its weight. Although the meta-make-fun of superhero movies have already been done almost to death (Deadpool?), the Titans have been doing it on the Cartoon Network since 2013, and take it to a new level in their movie adventure.

Fun and Uproarious ‘Teen Titans Go! To the Movies’

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

CHICAGO – If a good laugh is golden, then “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” is worth its weight. Although the meta-make-fun of superhero movies have already been done almost to death (Deadpool?), the Titans have been doing it on the Cartoon Network since 2013, and take it to a new level in their movie adventure.

Podtalk: Jerry Vasilatos on Premiere Screenings & 2018 Awards for the 48 Hour Film Project

48 Hour Film Project 2018

CHICAGO – That’s a wrap! The Chicago 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP) goes into its final stage for 2018 with the Premiere Screenings of the short films – created in 48 hours by over 60 production teams – at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago on July 29th and 30th, with the “Best of” screening and Awards Ceremony on Thursday, August 3rd. Producer Jerry Vasilatos oversaw judging and the 48HFP itself for the fourth straight year, in its 14th edition in Chicago. For film line-ups and ticket information, click here.

Podtalk: Director Robert Schwentke of German War Film ‘The Captain’

Captain, The

CHICAGO – Films about the Nazis and the German military during World War II are numerous… except for the ones with a pure German perspective. “The Captain,” directed by Robert Schwentke (“R.I.P.D.”), is based on a true story about a German army deserter who finds a Captain’s uniform, and decides to ride out the waning days of the war with the power of an officer.

Podtalk: Cast of Netflix's ‘Orange is the New Black' on Season Six Download for July 27, 2018

Orange is the New Black

CHICAGO – Orange Day is Friday (July 27, 2018)… as in “Orange is the New Black.” That’s when Season Six will be available for download from Netflix, as the online series continues to showcase the women inmates at Litchfield Penitentiary, three of whom are played by Taylor Schilling (Piper), Kate Mulgrew (Red) and Dascha Polanco (Daya).

Film Review: Tom Cruise Outruns Time in ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout'

CHICAGO – By any reasonable account, Tom Cruise should be entering into a phase in the “Mission Impossible” series not unlike the latter James Bond films of Roger Moore… appearing in closeups and letting the stuntmen do the rest. However, Cruise continues to outrun the ravages of time, and his stunts only seem to get crazier in the sixth film, “Mission Impossible: Fallout.”

Tom Cruise Outruns Time in ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout'

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

CHICAGO – By any reasonable account, Tom Cruise should be entering into a phase in the “Mission Impossible” series not unlike the latter James Bond films of Roger Moore… appearing in closeups and letting the stuntmen do the rest. However, Cruise continues to outrun the ravages of time, and his stunts only seem to get crazier in the sixth film, “Mission Impossible: Fallout.”

Slideshow, Audio: Chicago International Film Festival Summer Gala Celebrates Michael Kutza

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Celebration: Michael Kutza, Founder of the Chicago International Film Festival.

CHICAGO – It was a night of stars, tributes and memories as Cinema/Chicago, the organization that presents the annual Chicago International Film Festival, honored the Founder of the Fest (and longtime Artistic Director) Michael Kutza at their 2018 Summer Gala on July 14th. Appearing on the Red Carpet to honor the Chicago cinema icon, who will be retiring at the end of the year, were movie stars Kathleen Turner and Terrence Howard, directors Andrew Davis (“The Fugitive”) and Steve James (“Hoop Dreams), as well as the iconic movie producer Paula Wagner.

Film Review: The Artist’s Obsession in ‘Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti’

CHICAGO – The art masters, and the masterpieces they have created, become a background culture in our lives… even if we don’t necessarily know the artist. Paul Gauguin is one of those painters-as-cultural-influencer, and a vital point in his artistic life is told in the film “Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti.”

The Artist’s Obsession in ‘Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti’

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

CHICAGO – The art masters, and the masterpieces they have created, become a background culture in our lives… even if we don’t necessarily know the artist. Paul Gauguin is one of those painters-as-cultural-influencer, and a vital point in his artistic life is told in the film “Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti.”

Film Review: Awkward & Difficult is Played Out in ‘Eighth Grade’

Eighth Grade

CHICAGO – We’ve all been there. Depending on what school structure you lived through, everyone had issues in “Eighth Grade.” Writer/director Bo Burnham puts those universal issues in a modern context (social media, online video), and portrays them through a girl struggling to belong while navigating the choppy waters of adolescence. It’s difficult, awkward and representative.

Awkward & Difficult is Played Out in ‘Eighth Grade’

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

CHICAGO – We’ve all been there. Depending on what school structure you lived through, everyone had issues in “Eighth Grade.” Writer/director Bo Burnham puts those universal issues in a modern context (social media, online video), and portrays them through a girl struggling to belong while navigating the choppy waters of adolescence. It’s difficult, awkward and representative.

Theater Review: Art’s Healing Power from Brown Paper Box Company’s ‘Everybody’

Everybody, Brown Paper Box Co

CHICAGO – When is the last time a stage play, based in an intimate setting, made you think about your life, death, and the destiny inherent in both? “Everybody,” staged by Brown Paper Box Co. (BPBCo), is such a play, and the energetic aura and sense of surprise that the show contains is soul soothing wonder. The show has various evening/matinee performances at the Pride Arts Center in Chicago run through August 12, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

Red-Carpet Voices: Patricia Clarkson for HBO’s ‘Sharp Objects’

CHICAGO – The HBO miniseries “Sharp Objects,” based on the novel by Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”), will broadcast its third episode on Sunday, July 22nd, 2018. It features Amy Adams in the lead role as Camille Preaker, and also features the incomparable and shining movie star Patricia Clarkson, as Camille’s disparaging mother Adora.

Film Review, Podtalk: Director Eugene Jarecki Crowns Elvis Presley ‘The King’

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.

Director Eugene Jarecki Crowns Elvis Presley ‘The King’

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

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 Review: The Tumbling Delicacy of Life in ‘Blindspotting’

Blindspotting

CHICAGO – How can we understand the day-to-day factors of men and women who continued to be judged by their skin color, economic circumstances, difficult jobs or gender fluidity, if we are not any of those categories? Our art can help us, as given a great example in the new film “Blindspotting.”

The Tumbling Delicacy of Life in ‘Blindspotting’

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

CHICAGO – How can we understand the day-to-day factors of men and women who continued to be judged by their skin color, economic circumstances, difficult jobs or gender fluidity, if we are not any of those categories? Our art can help us, as given a great example in the new film “Blindspotting.”

Film Review: ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ is a Bubbly Musical

CHICAGO – I give in. “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” the sequel to the much derided “Mamma Mia,” is a bubbly, frothy here-come-the-good-times musical that fits summer like a glove. The flashback format will also answer all the burning questions that were left unanswered from the first film, and the cast includes Cher!

‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ is a Bubbly Musical

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

CHICAGO – I give in. “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” the sequel to the much derided “Mamma Mia,” is a bubbly, frothy here-come-the-good-times musical that fits summer like a glove. The flashback format will also answer all the burning questions that were left unanswered from the first film, and the cast includes Cher!

Podtalk: Lonnie Edwards on ‘Now That We Have Your Attention,’ in Chicago on July 21, 2018

An Atramentous Mind

CHICAGO – Filmmaker and Artist Lonnie Edwards keeps evolving upward with his career, but also keeps honoring his Chicago roots and his fellow artists. Edwards, and director Layne Marie Williams of “Women of the Now,” have co-curated a special night of short films under the title umbrella “Now That We Have Your Attention.” The program will take place on July 21st, 2018 (7:30pm), at the new Chicago Filmmakers center. For details, the line-up of films and tickets, click here.

Podtalk: Co-Director Tommy Haines of ‘Saving Brinton,’ Opening in Chicago on July 20, 2018

Saving Brinton

CHICAGO – In the early years of film and filmmaking, from approximately 1890 through 1930, an astounding 75% of films produced are considered “lost,” with no surviving reels, never to be seen again. Recently, an Iowa man named Michael Zahs finally convinced the University of Iowa to research and archive the Frank Brinton Collection, a cache of early films that barnstormer Brinton would show all over Iowa in the 1890s, on through the early decades of the 20th Century. What was found in that Collection is the subject of “Saving Brinton,” co-directed by Tommy Haines and Andrew Sherburne.

Podtalk: Co-Stars Daveed Diggs & Rafael Casal of ‘Blindspotting’

CHICAGO – If there are themes emerging in the 2018 film year, a couple of them are incorporated in Oakland, California, and African American identity. Like the recent “Black Panther” and “Sorry to Bother You,” the new film “Blindspotting” – written by and featuring Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal – involve those themes.

Film Review: Excess & Dwayne Johnson is How ‘Skyscraper’ Works

CHICAGO – The Dwayne Johnson formula is what it is, as it seems for about three to five films a year. A disaster strikes, but the Johnson character has loved ones among the victims, and in his background (military, police, mercenary) there is enough expertise to rescue them. “Skyscraper” is the latest.

Excess & Dwayne Johnson is How ‘Skyscraper’ Works

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

CHICAGO – The Dwayne Johnson formula is what it is, as it seems for about three to five films a year. A disaster strikes, but the Johnson character has loved ones among the victims, and in his background (military, police, mercenary) there is enough expertise to rescue them. “Skyscraper” is the latest.

Podtalk: Josh Hope, Co-Director of the Windy City International Film Fest, July 12-15, 2018

2018 WCFF

CHICAGO – This is Year Two for the Windy City International Film Festival (WCFF) – from Thursday, July 12th to Sunday, July 15th, 2018 – and the festival that celebrates indie filmmaking both locally and internationally will have its screenings at Chicago’s historic Biograph Theater (2433 North Lincoln Avenue). Also for the second year, the festival is co-directed by Mindy Kay Parks and Josh Hope. For a complete weekend schedule, click here.

Film Feature: Best & Worst of 2018 So Far by HollywoodChicago.com

CHICAGO – The holiday hangover is fading with the heat and humility, so what better time to remind ourselves of the Best and Worst films of 2018 SO FAR! HollywoodChicago.com contributors – Patrick McDonald, Jon Espino and Spike Walters – offer the following reactions to those so-far cinema treats and threats.

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