April 2019

FLASHBACK Podtalk: Co-Creators, Actor of CBS-TV’s ‘The Red Line,’ Debuting April 28, 2019

View From Tall, The

CHICAGO – Chicago is again in the spotlight, due to the efforts of Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss, the creators of “The Red Line,” the based-in-the-Windy-City CBS TV series that debuts Sunday, April 28th, 2019. They even cast a veteran Chicago actor for the ensemble, Michael Patrick Thornton.

Podtalk: Liza Mandelup on Her New Documentary ‘Jawline,’ at 2019 CineYouth Festival

Jawline director Liza Mandelup

CHICAGO – The 2019 CineYouth Festival launched on Friday, April 26th, and the kickoff featured a Sundance Film Fest award winner, “Jawline.” The documentary, directed by Liza Mandelup, is a ripped-from-the-now overview on the impact of teenage life through the creation of social connections online rather than in reality. The 15th edition of the CineYouth Fest will feature 64 films from 18 different countries, all produced by filmmakers who are 22 years old or younger. All the screenings, workshops and other happenings are FREE and open to the public. For more information, click here. The CineYouth Festival runs through Sunday, April 28th.

Film News: 15th CineYouth Festival in Chicago Opens with ‘Jawline’ on April 26th, 2019

2019 CineYouth Festival

CHICAGO – The future of filmmaking will be on full display this weekend as Cinema/Chicago – the facilitators of the annual Chicago International Film Festival – presents the 2019 CineYouth Festival. The 15th edition of the Fest will feature 64 films from 18 different countries, all produced by filmmakers who are 22 years old or younger. The Opening Film on Friday, April 26th, is ‘Jawline,’ and director Liza Mandelup will appear on behalf of the film. The screening is FREE and open to the public at the historic Music Box Theatre in Chicago, register for tickets by clicking here. The CineYouth Festival runs through Sunday, April 28th.

Podtalk: Patrick Creadon on His Doc ‘Hesburgh,’ at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre, Apr. 26, 2019

Hesburgh front 2nd

CHICAGO – For every grand name in history, there are behind-the-scenes performers who contribute to that history just as profoundly. One such person was “Father Ted” of Notre Dame, profiled in Patrick Creadon’s new documentary, “Hesburgh.” The film opens Friday, April 26th, 2019, at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago.

Film News: 2019 Tribeca Film Festival Opens with ‘The Apollo’ on Apr. 24 at Apollo Theater

2019 Tribeca Film Festival, 'The Apollo'

NEW YORK CITY – The 18th edition of the Tribeca Film Festival will open with a love letter to a New York City Harlem neighborhood icon. The legendary Apollo Theater will screen the Opening Night film, “The Apollo,” on April 24th, 2019. This documentary chronicles the unique history and contemporary legacy of this New York City landmark, and kicks off the two week festival, Wednesday, April 24th through Sunday, May 5th.

Film Review: Journey to Conclusion is the Thrill of ‘Avengers: Endgame’

CHICAGO – When it comes down to this, and the creators do it right, there is no more satisfying conclusion than “Avengers: Endgame.” Admirers of this magnificent Marvel (Studios) Universe story will get everything they want. It is the “Gone with the Wind” of superhero epic films.

Journey to Conclusion is the Thrill of ‘Avengers: Endgame’

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

CHICAGO – When it comes down to this, and the creators do it right, there is no more satisfying conclusion than “Avengers: Endgame.” Admirers of this magnificent Marvel (Studios) Universe story will get everything they want. It is the “Gone with the Wind” of superhero epic films.

Podtalk: Season 8 CLOSING NIGHT Film for Asian Pop-Up Cinema is ‘Tracey,’ April 24, 2019

Tracey

CHICAGO – Season Eight of Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema (APUC) concludes another memorable run on Wednesday, April 24th, 2019, with “Tracey,” its Closing Night film from Hong Kong. The story of sexual orientation and gender truth is directed by Jun LI, who will appear on behalf of the film at AMC River East 21 in downtown Chicago.

Podtalk: Filmmaker Clare Cooney for Short Film ‘Runner,’ Debuting on YouTube’s Omeleto

Runner/Clare Cooney

CHICAGO – The determining factor of a creative work’s shelf life can simply be its excellence. Writer, director and actor Clare Cooney released her first short film “Runner” in 2017, and the positive reaction was immediate. After a number of film festivals and awards, Cooney will release the film nationwide on the YouTube channel “Omeleto” on April 23rd, 2019. To access the film, click here.

Film Review: Vivacity and Simplicity Come Together in ‘Teen Spirit’

CHICAGO – For most of us, music literally becomes the soundtrack to our lives. They become a reflection of our mood, innermost thoughts, and even our fears. Sometimes they are just a pick me up, the same way Cardi B is currently soundtracking the writing of this review. Certain, well-placed songs can even tell our life story without us having to utter a single word, much like Teen Spirit.

Vivacity and Simplicity Come Together to Perform in ‘Teen Spirit’

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

CHICAGO – For most of us, music literally becomes the soundtrack to our lives. They become a reflection of our mood, innermost thoughts, and even our fears. Sometimes they are just a pick me up, the same way Cardi B is currently soundtracking the writing of this review. Certain, well-placed songs can even tell our life story without us having to utter a single word, much like Teen Spirit.

HollywoodChicago.com ESP, En Español: 'Teen Spirit' y 'The Curse of La Llorona'

CHICAGO – Cada semana, HollywoodChicago.com le traerá las criticas de las películas que hemos visto y que están saliendo esa semana, pero en español. HollywoodChicago.com ESP no sólo representa HollywoodChicago.com Espanol, sino también Esta Semana en Peliculas. Esta semana estamos tratando con dos tipos de espíritus muy diferentes.

Podtalk: Yvonne Elliman, Mary Magdalene in Rock Opera & Film ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’

Yvonne Elliman, photo by Joe Arce.

CHICAGO – To begin with, Yvonne Elliman’s vocal stylings have appeared on albums that have sold 50 million units. The singer was discovered by Andrew Lloyd Webber for his seminal “Jesus Christ Superstar” rock opera (approximately 10 million albums sold), portraying Mary Magdelene, and also had a monster hit – “If I Can’t Have You” – on the legendary “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack (40 million sold).

FLASHBACK Interview: The Confessions of Ted Neeley, Superstar

Ted Neeley, photo by Joe Arce.

CHICAGO – What can be said for a man who has portrayed Jesus close to 5,000 times, and starred in the definitive Broadway and film versions of the most famous rock opera about Christ? Ted Neeley is as virtuous as his famous title role in “Jesus Christ Superstar.” During this Easter weekend, HollywoodChicago.com reprints this comprehensive overview of Ted Neeley, Superstar.

Interview: Leah Martin-Brown, Lead Singer of ‘Evol Walks’

Leah Martin-Brown of 'Evol Walks'

CHICAGO – With a healthy dose of attitude, a dynamite lead singer and a predilection for time-honored rock ‘n’ roll, “Evol Walks” is a band that has rapidly emerged as a heavyweight contender. Now based in Los Angeles, Evol Walks has produced an EP, earned plaudits from artists and fans around the world, and played across three continents. The band’s hard edge takes its inspiration from the giants of heavy music, from roots in AC/DC and Black Sabbath, as well as Led Zeppelin, Joan Jett, Stone Sour and Monster Magnet, plus gives it a modern tweak.

Film Review: Disneynature’s ‘Penguins’ in Flight with the Flightless

CHICAGO – It is the tenth anniversary of Disneynature, the arm of Walt Disney Pictures that releases a new nature doc around every Earth Day. This year the naturally visual interest of “Penguins” are their subject, and the film does a nice job on the life cycle journey of these fascinating flightless birds.

Disneynature’s ‘Penguins’ in Flight with the Flightless

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

CHICAGO – It is the tenth anniversary of Disneynature, the arm of Walt Disney Pictures that releases a new nature doc around every Earth Day. This year the naturally visual interest of “Penguins” are their subject, and the film does a nice job on the life cycle journey of these fascinating flightless birds.

Film News: Chicago’s Asian Pop-up Cinema Screens ‘Memories of a Dead End’ on April 17, 2019

Memories of a Dead End

CHICAGO – Korea Week continues in Season Eight of Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema (APUC) on Wednesday, April 17th, 2019, and the film presented will be “Memories of a Dead End.” The story of emotional healing is directed by Hyun-young Choi, who will appear on behalf of the co-produced South Korean/Japan film at AMC River East 21 in downtown Chicago.

Interview: Chicago’s Asian Pop-up Cinema Continues with ‘The Pension’ on April 16, 2019

Pension, The

CHICAGO Two weeks to go in Season Eight of Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema (APUC), and this week (April 16-17, 2019) is Korea week. Director Jeonghuh Deok-Jae will appear on behalf of the film “The Pension” – a anthology film set at the title hotel in South Korea – at AMC River East 21 in Chicago on April 16th, 2019.

Film Review: ‘The Chaperone’ is Excellent Lesson in 1920s Identity

The Chaperone

CHICAGO – Although mostly set in the early 1920s, “The Chaperone” has some pungent lessons regarding identity, and living life authentically. The story of former silent film star Louise Brooks and her first trip to New York City expresses both how we can live today and how they lived back then.

‘The Chaperone’ is Excellent Lesson in 1920s Identity

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

CHICAGO – Although mostly set in the early 1920s, “The Chaperone” has some pungent lessons regarding identity, and living life authentically. The story of former silent film star Louise Brooks and her first trip to New York City expresses both how we can live today and how they lived back then.

Film Review: ‘Little’ Squanders Its Comedic and Social Potential in an Attempt to Play It Safe

CHICAGO – After a typical late night, deep dive of the internet, I found something terrifying. Around the 60’s, creating dinners in Jello were popular for some reason. Although I liked every individual ingredient, seeing the way they fit together was a less than appetizing. Watching “Little” reminds me of this experience except after the film, I was left with a bland, spiceless taste in my mouth.

‘Little’ Squanders Its Comedic and Social Potential in an Attempt to Play It Safe

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

CHICAGO – After a typical late night, deep dive of the internet, I found something terrifying. Around the 60’s, creating dinners in Jello were popular for some reason. Although I liked every individual ingredient, seeing the way they fit together was a less than appetizing. Watching “Little” reminds me of this experience except after the film, I was left with a bland, spiceless taste in my mouth.

Podtalk: DOC 10 Co-Founder Steve Cohen on Documentary Art & Fest Finales on April 14, 2019

Steve Cohen & Paula Foehle

CHICAGO – One of the exciting weekend film festivals in Chicago is DOC 10, a celebration of non-fiction filmmaking at its highest level. And no one knows that more than Steve Cohen, the co-founder – with Paula Froehle – of the festival. Cohen and Froehle not only help facilitate and curate DOC 10, but also produce documentaries through their Chicago Media Project. The Closing Night Film of DOC 10, on April 14th, 2019, is “Biggest Little Farm.” For more information and tickets, click here.

Film News: Chicago’s DOC 10 Fest Opens with ‘Knock Down the House’ on April 11, 2019

Knock Down the House

CHICAGO – One of the great predictors of Oscar worthy films is Chicago’s DOC 10 festival. The Chicago Media Project presents its fourth annual documentary fest, a weekend of 10 prominent documentaries that end up either making a national statement or nominated for awards (last year’s fest included Oscar nominees “Minding the Gap” and “RBG”). It all takes place at the Davis Theatre in the Lincoln Square neighborhood from April 11th-14th, 2019, and opens with “Knock Down the House.” For more information and tickets, click here.

Film Review: ‘Hellboy’ Maintains Energy Just by Being Hellboy

CHICAGO – The latest film reboot is “Hellboy,” and it cruises based on the viability and popularity of its title character. David Harbour takes the reins from Ron Perlman in portraying the demon, and although it’s bogged down by the story, the latest iteration works because the character is so weirdly appealing.

‘Hellboy’ Maintains Energy Just by Being Hellboy

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

CHICAGO – The latest film reboot is “Hellboy,” and it cruises based on the viability and popularity of its title character. David Harbour takes the reins from Ron Perlman in portraying the demon, and although it’s bogged down by the story, the latest iteration works because the character is so weirdly appealing.

Film News: 35th Chicago Latino Film Festival Closing Night with ‘El Reality’ on April 11, 2019

El Reality

CHICAGO – The 35th edition of the Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF) is coming to a close, and their final night film is “El Reality” on April 11th, 2019, at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. This Closing Night event and its gala after party (at Chez, 247 East Ontario) celebrates the whole festival, concluding after a two week run. For more information and tickets, click here.

Entertainment News: Annual ‘Watchathon Week’ from Comcast Xfinity TV, April 8 - 14, 2019

Watchathon

CHICAGO – Get the couches ready and the soft pants on … it’s time to binge watch with Xfinity TV. In the week of April 8th through the 14th, 2019, Xfinity offers their seventh annual “Watchathon Week” to their customers, giving them an opportunity to catch up with thousands of movies and shows, including the entire series of “Game of Thrones,” in anticipation of its final season.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Grace, Or the Art of Climbing

    CHICAGO – What is life but a constant climb? The Brown Paper Box Co., one of the most vital storefront theater groups in Chicago, asks that question and more in the significant “Grace, Or the Art of Climbing.” Using a woman’s journey through some difficult situations, the parallels of “the climb” become a artfully performed story that is all inspiration and uplift. The play runs through July 7th, 2019, at Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District in Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Elizabeth Laidlaw

    CHICAGO – The recent limited series “The Red Line” on CBS-TV was notable for a couple elements – it was set in Chicago and it featured Chicago actors in major roles. Creators Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss (from here), cast their Chi-town colleague Elizabeth Laidlaw, who portrayed police officer “Vic” Renna.

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