December 2018

Film Review: ‘Vice’ Proves It’s Okay to Laugh at Dick Cheney

CHICAGO – “Vice” is an occasionally very funny attempt to demystify the life and legacy of former Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney. Using some of the same gimmicks and narrative trickery he employed to great effect in “The Big Short,” writer/director Adam McKay goes deep into the weeds to try to explain how Cheney made it to the second highest office in the land.

‘Vice’ Proves It’s Okay to Laugh at Dick Cheney

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

CHICAGO – “Vice” is an occasionally very funny attempt to demystify the life and legacy of former Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney. Using some of the same gimmicks and narrative trickery he employed to great effect in “The Big Short,” writer/director Adam McKay goes deep into the weeds to try to explain how Cheney made it to the second highest office in the land.

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Remembers Penny Marshall

Penny Marshall, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – Penny Marshall was somewhat of an enigma, and admittedly not comfortable in the spotlight. The 1970s sitcom legend who evolved into a top American film director never seemed quite sure of her legacy, but she left behind a superior body of work that defined her as a filmmaker. Ms. Marshall died from complications due to diabetes on December 17th, 2018, at the age of 75.

Film Review: A Heroic Ruth Bader Ginsburg in ‘On the Basis of Sex’

CHICAGO – Many heroes of America toiled long behind the scenes to break the chains of oppression. For every Susan Anthony or Martin Luther King Jr. there were the activists, legal experts and volunteers who sought the justice denied to them by the archaic patriarchal society. One such hero is Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the film “On the Basis of Sex.”

A Heroic Ruth Bader Ginsburg in ‘On the Basis of Sex’

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

CHICAGO – Many heroes of America toiled long behind the scenes to break the chains of oppression. For every Susan Anthony or Martin Luther King Jr. there were the activists, legal experts and volunteers who sought the justice denied to them by the archaic patriarchal society. One such hero is Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the film “On the Basis of Sex.”

Film Review: ‘Aquaman’ is a Watery Sleep with the Fishes

CHICAGO – The dripping sound of water you will hear this upcoming weekend will be the tears of DC Comics fans, as they cry from frustration over the latest cinema hit job on one of the Super-Friends. The tepid and overlong “Aquaman” is another hero movie that tries to combine origin story and “first case” adventure, and fails at both.

‘Aquaman’ is a Watery Sleep with the Fishes

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

CHICAGO – The dripping sound of water you will hear this upcoming weekend will be the tears of DC Comics fans, as they cry from frustration over the latest cinema hit job on one of the Super-Friends. The tepid and overlong “Aquaman” is another hero movie that tries to combine origin story and “first case” adventure, and fails at both.

Film Review: You’ll Be Wild About Magical ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

CHICAGO – They did it. Walt Disney Studios took one of their most beloved live action/animated films and rebooted it for a new millennium. “Mary Poppins Returns” is a song-filled, emotional and magical celebration of all things Mary P, combining the elements that made it great the first time with the modern movie strengths of today.

You’ll Be Wild About Magical ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

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

CHICAGO – They did it. Walt Disney Studios took one of their most beloved live action/animated films and rebooted it for a new millennium. “Mary Poppins Returns” is a song-filled, emotional and magical celebration of all things Mary P, combining the elements that made it great the first time with the modern movie strengths of today.

Podtalk: Jerry Vasilatos Presents ‘Solstice’ at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre on Dec. 18, 2018

Solstice

CHICAGO – In a bit of a Christmas miracle, a film that was shot in Chicago in the early 1990s will see the light of screen again in the same theater – the historic Music Box Theatre – where a key scene was filmed. Writer/Director Jerry Vasilatos presents the 25th Anniversary restoration of his holiday film “Solstice” on December 18th, 2018, with a post screening Q&A moderated by Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com. For details and ticket info, click here.

Film Review: Multi-Dimensional ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

CHICAGO – This animated take on Spider-Man gets a little stuck in a web entirely of its own making. Digging deeper into the weeds of the extended mythology of the comics, “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” presents not one but at least seven different versions of the character.

Multi-Dimensional ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

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

CHICAGO – This animated take on Spider-Man gets a little stuck in a web entirely of its own making. Digging deeper into the weeds of the extended mythology of the comics, “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” presents not one but at least seven different versions of the character.

Film Review: ‘Vox Lux’ is a Visually Stark Metaphor for a Lost Cause

CHICAGO – In the frozen emotional landscape of America, where mass shootings have become as regular as the sunrise, what better symbol for this madness is there than a pop star? Natalie Portman is that singer in “Vox Lux,” a victim and a perpetrator in the sin of mass death, and the soundtrack of gunfire.

‘Vox Lux’ is a Visually Stark Metaphor for a Lost Cause

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

CHICAGO – In the frozen emotional landscape of America, where mass shootings have become as regular as the sunrise, what better symbol for this madness is there than a pop star? Natalie Portman is that singer in “Vox Lux,” a victim and a perpetrator in the sin of mass death, and the soundtrack of gunfire.

Film News: HollywoodChicago.com to Host Q&A for ‘Wild Honey’ on Dec. 12, 2018

Wild Honey

CHICAGO – “Wild Honey” is a film of transition and redemption, and features a stellar cast anchored by veteran character actress Rusty Schwimmer.

Podtalk: Producer Stephanie Buxbaum on Her Adventures in Reality & Doc Series Television

Stephanie Buxbaum 3

CHICAGO – In the history of “Reality TV” there has been periods of up-and-down popularity, shows that have been around seemingly forever (“Big Brother,” “Amazing Race”) and spinoffs to new styles like “documentary series” as networks like the National Geographic Channel emerged. In all those permutations, producer Stephanie Buxbaum has experienced it all, and has the career and stories to prove it.

Film News: Chicago Film Critics Best Film of 2018 is ‘Roma’

CHICAGO – The personal, emotional essence of Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” – a memory film set in the Mexico City neighborhood in the early 1970s – took home the Best Picture honor at the 2018 Chicago Film Critics Association annual dinner. “Roma” also was honored as Best Foreign Film, Director, Cinematography and Editing.

Film Review: ‘Anna and The Apocalypse’ is UnDead on Arrival

CHICAGO – Arriving a few years too late after the great movie mashup craze, “Anna and The Apocalypse” is a zombie Christmas musical. The signature (and only) joke is that teens are dancing and singing amid the blood, guts, and gore spurting in gushers around them. But it’s less a feature film and more akin to a late run episode of “Glee,” when its creators had clearly run out of any ideas.

‘Anna and The Apocalypse’ is UnDead on Arrival

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Arriving a few years too late after the great movie mashup craze, “Anna and The Apocalypse” is a zombie Christmas musical. The signature (and only) joke is that teens are dancing and singing amid the blood, guts, and gore spurting in gushers around them. But it’s less a feature film and more akin to a late run episode of “Glee,” when its creators had clearly run out of any ideas.

Film Review: ‘Roma’ is a Celebration of Human Courage & Spirit

CHICAGO – In one of the most arresting and beautiful films of the year, writer/director Alfonso Cuarón transports us back to 1970s Mexico City, to his childhood and his appreciation of memory. He also creates a human story around all the nostalgia, that all takes place in the neighborhood of “Roma.”

‘Roma’ is a Celebration of Human Courage & Spirit

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

CHICAGO – In one of the most arresting and beautiful films of the year, writer/director Alfonso Cuarón transports us back to 1970s Mexico City, to his childhood and his appreciation of memory. He also creates a human story around all the nostalgia, that all takes place in the neighborhood of “Roma.”

Podtalk: Jon Heder for ‘When Jeff Tried to Save the World’ at Music Box Theatre, Dec. 6, 2018

When Jeff Tried to Save the World

CHICAGO – When your first major role was as the title character in ‘Napoleon Dynamite,’ the way through the rest of your career is paved with gratitude. Actor Jon Heder portrays another title character in his latest film, “When Jeff Tried to Save the World” – co-written and directed by Kendall Goldberg – and creates another memorable role. Heder and Goldberg will make an appearance on behalf of the film on Thursday, December 6th, 2018, at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

Slideshow: Co-Authors Sean Hayes & Scott Icenogle Introduce ‘Plum!’

| Image 1 of 3 |
Sean Hayes of ‘Will and Grace,’ co-author of ‘Plum!’.

CHICAGO – Tis the season for a holiday children’s book, and actor Sean Hayes (“Will & Grace”) and husband Scott Icenogle have co-written “Plum!,” the story of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the quest to get her wings. The couple appeared at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville (Illinois) to sign books and greet admirers.

Photo Gallery: Alien Weaponry Performs in Chicagoland at The Forge

| Image 1 of 8 |
Alien Weaponry performing at the Forge 1 of 8

JOLIET, Ill. – Thrash Metal band Alien Weaponry performs at The Forge venue in Joliet on November 29th, 2018. New Zealand natives Lewis de Jong, Henry de Jong and Ethan Trembath brought their unique energy to the venue, and HollywoodChicago.com photographer Jeff Doles was there, taking the following Exclusive Photos.

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  • Deadbeat2

    CHICAGO – Not many web series start out as music videos, but the new online (YouTube) drama “Deadbeat 2” was just that. Created, written and directed by Danny Froze, the made-in-Chicago story recently premiered episodes five and six in the series, which features actor Kiwaun Stoutmire in the lead role of Ronnie.

  • Bill Daily, photo by Joe Arce

    CHICAGO – He was America’s sidekick in TV’s golden decades of the 1960s and ‘70s, and was a proud Chicago-born-and-bred performer. Bill Daily, better known as Major Roger Healey (“I Dream of Jeannie”) and the wacky neighbor Howard Borden (“The Bob Newhart Show”) died at his New Mexico home at the age of 91 on September 4th, 2018.

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