May 2019

Photo Gallery: Chicago Open Air in Bridgeview on May 18 & 19, 2019

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In this Moment, photo by Jeff Doles. Chicago Open Air 1 of 9

BRIDGEVIEW, ILL. - Chicago Open Air is an annual concert held in Bridgeview, Illinois, that features several rock and metal acts. After not happening in 2018, the festival returned for weekend of rock at SeetGeek Stadium. 2019 headliners included System of a Down, Tool, Ghost and The Cult. Photographers Jeff and Isabella Doles of HollywoodChicago.com were there.

Podtalk: Actor Tom Skerritt at 7th Chicago Critics Film Festival

CHICAGO – One of the great movie character actors is hale and hearty at age 85. Tom Skerritt has over 50 years of roles, and has appeared in such film classics as “M*A*S*H,” “Harold and Maude,” “Up in Smoke,” “Top Gun” and “Steel Magnolias.” Skerritt was at the 7th Chicago Critics Film Festival for the 40th Anniversary of “Alien.”

Film News: Preview of 7th Chicago Critics Film Festival

CHICAGO – Tonight what heights we’ll hit. The 7th Chicago Critics Film Festival (CCFF) begins on Friday, May 17th, 2019, and offers a week of 2019 film greatness, selected by Chicago Film Critics from the major festivals so far. This will be a whole week at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre, Click here for the schedule.

Film Review: ‘John Wick 3 Parabellum’ is More Bang For Your Buck

John Wick 3 Parabellum

CHICAGO – I must admit that upon initial viewing, I didn’t care much for the original “John Wick” film. Coming as it did in the post “Taken” wave of old guy revenge thrillers, I found it to be stylish but supremely silly nonsense, since it was the death of puppy as the spark that lit the fuse. However as time has gone by, John Wick has grown on me.

‘John Wick 3 Parabellum’ is More Bang For Your Buck

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

CHICAGO – I must admit that upon initial viewing, I didn’t care much for the original “John Wick” film. Coming as it did in the post “Taken” wave of old guy revenge thrillers, I found it to be stylish but supremely silly nonsense, since it was the death of puppy as the spark that lit the fuse. However as time has gone by, John Wick has grown on me.

Podtalk: Opening Night of Chicago Critics Film Fest is ‘Saint Frances’ on May 17, 2019

CHICAGO – Tomorrow, May 17th, 2019, is the night! The 7th Chicago Critics Film Festival (CCFF) will kick off with the Opening Night film, “Saint Frances.” This begins a whole week of critic selected films at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre, Click here for the schedule.

Podtalk: Raul Benitez of Full Spectrum Features on Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 5, May 16, 2019

Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 5

CHICAGO – For the past five years, the film house of Full Spectrum Features have been presenting and then distributing a program of short films, which are based in Chicago and features the rising filmmaking talent in the Windy City. On Thursday, May 16th, 2019 (7pm), Full Spectrum Features presents Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 5, at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA).The event is free, and advanced tickets have been claimed, but there will be walk up opportunities that night. Click here for details.

Theater Review: Classic ‘West Side Story’ at Chicago's Lyric Opera

West Side Story

CHICAGO – “When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way … “ And there is no more appropriate way to lyrically pay tribute to a classic staging of the Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim musical, “West Side Story.” There is a new staging currently at Lyric Opera of Chicago, which runs through June 2nd, 2019. Click here for more details and tickets.

Film Review: ‘Poms’ Stumbles and Fumbles Through a Stale Routine

CHICAGO – There is an undeniable amount of skill and talent that goes into cheerleading. I happen to be rhythmically challenged so I am in awe of anyone, regardless of age, who can keep a beat while doing any sort of choreography. “Poms” promised to keep in step with a fresh premise, an all-star cast, and a new perspective on this tried-and-true genre but it tumbles along the way.

‘Poms’ Stumbles and Fumbles Through a Stale, Familiar Routine

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – There is an undeniable amount of skill and talent that goes into cheerleading. I happen to be rhythmically challenged so I am in awe of anyone, regardless of age, who can keep a beat while doing any sort of choreography. “Poms” promised to keep in step with a fresh premise, an all-star cast, and a new perspective on this tried-and-true genre but it tumbles along the way.

Podtalk: Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema Co-Presents ‘Still Human’ on May 13, 2019

Still Human

CHICAGO – One of the most honored recent films of Hong Kong, “Still Human,” will have its Chicago Premiere in a co-presentation by Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema and the Hong Long Economic & Trade Office. The emotional drama, about a disabled Hong Kong man (Anthony Wong) and his Filipino caregiver (Crisel Consunji), recently won accolades from the Hong Kong Film Awards and the Udine Far East Film Festival. First-time feature director Oliver Chan – she is a female filmmaker, despite the moniker – and lead actress Crisel Consunji will appear on behalf of the film at the Gene Siskel Film Center, on May 13th, 2019 (8pm). Click here for tickets and details.

Film News: Patrick McDonald Hosts ‘Bathtubs Over Broadway' for AHFS on May 13, 2019

Bathtubs Over Broadway

CHICAGO – How does one man rediscover and revive an art form? This question is answered in the magnificent “Bathtubs Over Broadway,” a 2018 documentary about the quest of comedy writer Steve Young, as he saves the legacy of the “industrial musical,” a form of American corporate entertainment from the 1950s through the ‘70s. Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com will host a screening of the film on Monday, May 13th, 2019 (7:30pm), and facilitate a discussion afterward, at the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove, Ill. To purchase tickets, click here.

Interview: Alecia “Mixi” Demner, Singer & Songwriter from ‘Stitched Up Heart’

Stitched Up Heart, photo by Jeff Doles

CHICAGO – Hard rock to their core, the band “Stitched Up Heart” combine powerful vocals and soulful lyrics to make the band a rock ‘n’ roll force to be reckoned with … Stitched Up Heart recently released their new track “Lost,” featuring Godsmack front man Sully Erna. “Lost” is the first track released off their upcoming sophomore LP that will be released in the fall.

Film Review: Predictable, Unfunny ‘The Hustle’ Has No Game

Hustle, The

CHICAGO – As the “Oceans Eight” remake of last year proved, it is simply not enough to redo a film and flip the gender focus. Anne Hathaway may be the kiss of death for this genre, as she appeared both in O8 and the current “The Hustle,” which in turn is a remake of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” (1988). Rebel Wilson, doing what Rebel Wilson does, portrays her sidekick.

Predictable, Unfunny ‘The Hustle’ Has No Game

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

CHICAGO – As the “Oceans Eight” remake of last year proved, it is simply not enough to redo a film and flip the gender focus. Anne Hathaway may be the kiss of death for this genre, as she appeared both in O8 and the current “The Hustle,” which in turn is a remake of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” (1988). Rebel Wilson, doing what Rebel Wilson does, portrays her sidekick.

Film News: Columbia College Filmmakers Present ‘Advanced Practicum,’ May 10, 2019

2019 Manifest Urban Arts Festival

CHICAGO – The end of the 2019 academic year means graduation is nearing, and Chicago’s Columbia College – offering a curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts and business for nearly 7,000 students – is celebrating with their undergraduate “Advanced Practicum.” The short film program, which combines collaborative talent for directors, producers and post-production, is part of the day-long events of the college’s “Manifest Urban Arts Festival.” For more information about Advanced Practicum, click here.

Film Review: ‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ is Family Fun for All

CHICAGO – Let’s face it. If you’re not already obsessed with Pokémon, or the parent of someone who is, you’re not likely to land in a darkened theater with “Detective Pikachu” on the marquee. But for any newbies who happen to walk in, there are a few pleasures in this big budget kid friendly blockbuster.

‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ is Family Fun for All

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

CHICAGO – Let’s face it. If you’re not already obsessed with Pokémon, or the parent of someone who is, you’re not likely to land in a darkened theater with “Detective Pikachu” on the marquee. But for any newbies who happen to walk in, there are a few pleasures in this big budget kid friendly blockbuster.

Exclusive Photo: In Memoriam, Peter Mayhew of ‘Star Wars’

CHICAGO – Most likely Peter Mayhew stepped into movie history because he could fit into a costume. The seven-foot-three actor was the perfect size for a new character in a little film called “Star Wars,” and so he became the once and future persona of Chewbacca. Mayhew died in Texas on April 30th, 2019. He was 74.

Film Review: History & Culture Co-Exist in Exemplary ‘The White Crow’

White Crow, The

CHICAGO – In any ear for pop culture, the name Rudolf Nureyev is well known. A Soviet Russian-born ballet virtuoso nicknamed “Lord of the Dance,” RN lived large until he died, of complications due to AIDS at age 54 in 1993. But before that, he was born into poverty, danced into fame, and historically defected to the West in 1961. “The White Crow,” a new film directed by Ralph Fiennes, tells his story.

History & Culture Co-Exist in Exemplary ‘The White Crow’

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

CHICAGO – In any ear for pop culture, the name Rudolf Nureyev is well known. A Soviet Russian-born ballet virtuoso nicknamed “Lord of the Dance,” RN lived large until he died, of complications due to AIDS at age 54 in 1993. But before that, he was born into poverty, danced into fame, and historically defected to the West in 1961. “The White Crow,” a new film directed by Ralph Fiennes, tells his story.

Podtalk: ‘Pooh: The Derrick Rose Story’ at Midwest Independent Film Fest on May 7, 2019

Pooh: The Derrick Rose Story

CHICAGO – One of the most talked about Chicago sports stories of the last ten years has been Derrick Rose, the NBA stand out who was drafted to his hometown Bulls as the second coming of Michael Jordan in 2008, and was plagued by bad luck injuries and playing time limits that couldn’t satisfy the rabid fan base and media that demanded accountability. The Theatrical Premiere of “Pooh: The Derrick Rose Story” will take place at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on May 7th, 2019. Click here for tickets and details.

Film Review: 'Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile' Unfortunately Lives Up to Its Name

CHICAGO – Hearing the details of tragic stories, we often find it hard to understand how they got into that situation in the first place, especially since all the red flags are so obvious to us. “I’d never be so dumb,” we tell ourselves.

'Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile' Unfortunately Lives Up to Its Name

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

CHICAGO – Hearing the details of tragic stories, we often find it hard to understand how they got into that situation in the first place, especially since all the red flags are so obvious to us. “I’d never be so dumb,” we tell ourselves. “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile” takes us through how easy it is to miss something that we’ve never truly seen.

Podtalk: Doc Director Penny Lane on Her New Film ‘Hail Satan?’

Hail Satan?

CHICAGO – Religion, and the separation of those institutions from the “state,” is an ongoing controversy in the United States. One such religious group may have found the ultimate solution to keep that separation in place. The Satanic Temple is an anarchist religion whose goal is to get a place at the table with the other holy influencers. They are profiled in director Penny Lane’s new film, “Hail Satan?”

Film Review: ‘Long Shot’ Awkwardly Combines Politics & Romance

CHICAGO – “Long Shot” is a bit of a hybrid that can’t quite decide what it wants to be. Is it a political satire, or is it another in a long line of Seth Rogen stoner comedies with a little rom com thrown in for good measure? It’s a little of both, with the shaggy dog stoner comedy the dominant form … making it a somewhat jarring and incongruous fit with the more political elements of this comedy.

‘Long Shot’ Awkwardly Combines Politics & Romance

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “Long Shot” is a bit of a hybrid that can’t quite decide what it wants to be. Is it a political satire, or is it another in a long line of Seth Rogen stoner comedies with a little rom com thrown in for good measure? It’s a little of both, with the shaggy dog stoner comedy the dominant form … making it a somewhat jarring and incongruous fit with the more political elements of this comedy.

Film Review: ‘UglyDolls’ is Animated Fun For Kids and Everyone Else

CHICAGO – The animation formula, for entertaining both kids and adults, is to never make the story too serious, and “UglyDolls” gets it right. The obvious moral lesson of “accepting yourself” is covered with great animating, memorable characters, peppy songs, and a sly sense of humor. In essence, made for the whole family.

‘UglyDolls’ is Animated Fun For Kids and Everyone Else

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

CHICAGO – The animation formula, for entertaining both kids and adults, is to never make the story too serious, and “UglyDolls” gets it right. The obvious moral lesson of “accepting yourself” is covered with great animating, memorable characters, peppy songs, and a sly sense of humor. In essence, made for the whole family.

Photo, Audio: In Memoriam, Agnés Varda of French New Wave Cinema

CHICAGO – If the French New Wave cinema movement (1958 to late 1960s) had a mother, it was undoubtably Agnés Varda. The versatile filmmaker began her film journey shortly before the movement began, and her influence resonated throughout that era and within her career. Varda died at the age of 90 on March 29th, 2019.

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