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Podtalk: ‘Maktub’ Premieres at 53rd Chicago International Film Festival on Oct. 15, 2017

Maktub

CHICAGO – The world comes to Chicago for the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival, and screenwriters/lead actors Guy Amir and Hanan Savyon has brought their new film “Maktub” for screening on Sunday night, October 15th, 2017 (8pm). The unique comedy is the first film for the Israeli television hitmakers.

Interview, Audio: Director Sean Baker Builds ‘The Florida Project’

The Florida Project, Sean Baker

CHICAGO – It’s an epidemic in America, and it exists in a gray area that is not as prominent as other socio-economic issues. It is the “hidden homeless,” and the problem is uniquely defined as individuals who live week-to-week in cheap hotels, shelters and SROs, one circumstance away from being officially homeless. Writer/director Sean Baker takes this subject on in a stark-but-accessible narrative film called “The Florida Project.”

Interview, Audio: Artistic Director Mimi Plauché on 53rd Chicago International Film Festival

CHICAGO – In May of this year, Cinema/Chicago – the parent organization of the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF) – announced that Mimi Plauché was the new Artistic Director of the Fest. She assumed the position that had formally been held by CIFF founder Michael Kutza, who continues as President and CEO.

Interview, Audio: John Carroll Lynch Directs an Elegy for Harry Dean Stanton in ‘Lucky’

Lucky

CHICAGO – He is a familiar character actor, having a long career with roles in TV and film as diverse as “Fargo,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “Gran Torino,” “The Americans.” and the recent “Jackie” and “The Founder.” He is actor John Carroll Lynch, and he has made his directorial debut in the wonderfully essential “Lucky,” whose title character is portrayed by Harry Dean Stanton. The film is a perfect elegy for the actor, who passed away last month at the age of 91.

Podtalk: Chicago’s Women of the Now Presents ‘Deities of the Divine’ on Oct. 7, 2017

Deities of the Divine

CHICAGO – The filmmaker/creative group known as Women of the Now are keen to present happenings in Chicago, decorating their events with installations and themed entertainment. Their next gathering, the last big bash of the year, will take place on Saturday, October 7th, 2017, at Camera Ambassador (details below) and is called “Deities of the Divine.”

Interviews: ‘Signature Move’ at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Oct. 3, 2017

Midwest Independent Film Festival Logo

CHICAGO – The Made-in-Chicago film “Signature Move” will have a Midwest festival premiere through a “first Tuesday” showcase at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on October 3rd, 2017, and it will take place at a different location, the Music Box Theatre in Chicago (usually the Festival is at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema). Lead Actor Fawzia Mizra, director Jennifer Reeder and other cast/crew members are all scheduled to attend.

Podtalk: Actor Fawzia Mirza on Premiere of ‘Signature Move’

CHICAGO – Made-in-Chicago filmmaking gets the big spotlight at the Music Box Theatre on Friday, September 29th, 2017, as “Signature Move” premieres with a Red Carpet event. Walking that carpet will be the female lead, Fawzia Mirza, who portrays a closeted gay Pakistani woman negotiating love and wrestling moves.

Interview, Audio: Director Mei-Juin Chen of ‘The Gangster’s Daughter’

Mei-Juin Chen

CHICAGO – Opening Night of the fifth season of the Asian Pop-Up Cinema is Wednesday, September 20th, 2017, and the first film is a doozy. “The Gangster’s Daughter” is a different take on the popular Taiwanese mobster movie, a relationship film as much as the pure crime. At the helm is director Mei-Juin Chen, with her first narrative film.

Exclusive Photo: Remembering Frank Vincent of ‘The Sopranos’ & ‘Goodfellas,’ Dead at 80

Frank Vincent, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – Frank Vincent always looked good, no matter what role he was playing, but he mostly portrayed mafia types, and was styling as those guys as well… he even wrote a book on dress, “A Guy’s Guide to Being a Better Man.” He was best known as Phil Leotardo on the legendary HBO series, “The Sopranos,” and he passed away at age 80 in New Jersey on September 13th, 2017.

Podtalk: Katelyn Zenie of the Femme Filmmaker Showcase in Chicago on Sept. 9, 2017

Femme Filmmakers Showcase

CHICAGO – The film community is flourishing in Chicago, and this weekend boasts of another cinema event. The Femme Filmmaker Showcase will screen three blocks of short films, all either created by women filmmakers or with women centric themes, on Saturday, September 9th, 2017. This will also be an evening of networking, and tours will be provided at one of the latest studio spaces in Chicago, 2112/Fort Knox Studios.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

  • Wonder Woman

    CHICAGO – There are few films in 2017 that are as historically important as they are cinematically well-crafted. Of those, there is only one I saw three times in theaters. That honor comes in the form of the revolutionary “Wonder Woman,” which not only shows huge promise for the future of DC Comics films but for comic book-based films as a whole.

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