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Interview

Exclusive Portraits, Audio: Ed Asner, TV Icon & Character Actor

CHICAGO – When Mary Tyler Moore passed away in January, it was another reminder of her groundbreaking 1970s TV series “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” One of her co-stars – who portrayed bossman Lou Grant, and made his own mark in TV and movies thereafter – was Ed Asner. The actor appeared at “The Hollywood Show.”

Podcast Talk: Rebecca Fons on Reopening the Iowa Theater in Winterset on May 25, 2017

Rebecca and Marianne Fons of the Iowa Theater

CHICAGO – When Rebecca Fons, the former Education Manager of the Chicago International Film Festival, was getting married to Jack C. Newell – a prominent Chicago film director – her mother Marianne told her something that would change the course of their lives. Fons’ hometown movie theater, the “Iowa,” was about to offered for sale. In the equivalent of the recent Matt Damon family film favorite, Rebecca and Marianne Fons was about to star in their version of “We Bought a Movie Theater.”

Podcast Talk: Asian Pop-Up Cinema Honors Hong Kong Pop & Film Legend Teddy Robin Kwan

Asian Pop Up Cinema 2017 Closing Night

CHICAGO – When The Beatles changed pop music forever in the early 1960s, they also launched a worldwide revolution of bands and songwriters. One such star was Teddy Robin Kwan, who founded Teddy Robin & the Playboys in Hong Kong, and rightly took the crown as “The King of Asian Pop.” And for his second act, the small-but-mighty Kwan became one of Hong Kong’s top film composers, as well as a director and actor of note. He was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Asian Pop-Up Cinema series Closing Night Gala in Chicago on May 11th, 2017.

Podcast Talk: Allison Tolman & Lucas Neff of ABC-TV’s ‘Downward Dog’

CHICAGO – From “Mr. Ed” to “Dog with a Blog,” talking animals have had their place on TV. The latest has origins as a web series, with the clever title “Downward Dog.” The show premieres on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 (9:30pEST/8:30pCST), on ABC TV, and features Ned the Dog as Martin, and human companions portrayed by Allison Tolman and Lucas Neff.

Interview: Director Azazel Jacobs Looks at ‘The Lovers’

Azazel Jacobs The Lovers

CHICAGO – There is a familiar Stephen Sondheim song called “Send in the Clowns,” which speaks of the absurdity of relationships, and their ups and downs. Writer/director Azazel Jacobs has kind of made a movie version of that song’s meaning, with the trials of a married couple, cheating on each other, in “The Lovers.”

Interview: Director Pat Healy of ‘Take Me’ at Chicago Critics Film Festival on May 15, 2017

CHICAGO – An original voice, in an original conceptual movie, is a rare category of cinema art. Director and lead actor Pat Healy, working from a script from Mike Makowsky, has fashioned “Take Me,” a thriller about kidnapping and having the tables turned.

Interview: Collin Souter, Short Film Programmer for the 2017 Chicago Critics Film Festival

Collin Souter

CHICAGO – In all film festivals, the real hidden talent can often be found in the Short Films Program. This is the beginning for many great filmmakers, and it is up to the film reporters and programmers to unearth these creative jewels. Film Critic and Writer Collin Souter is the Short Films Programmer for the Chicago Critics Film Festival (CCFF), and the fest will be presenting two separate programs on May 13th and 14th, 2017, during the run of the festival, which takes place from May 12th through May 18th at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre (details below).

Interview: Founder Pepe Vargas of Chicago Latino Film Festival on Closing Night, May 4, 2017

Pepe Vargas of Chicago Latino Film Festival

CHICAGO – On the final day of a major film festival, it’s always good to acknowledge the work of the people who make it happen… like Pepe Vargas, who is the Founder and Executive Director of the Chicago Latino Film Festival. The Fest concludes on Thursday, May 4th, 2017, at the AMC River East Theatre in Chicago, with the Venezuelan film, “Tamara.” For complete details and to purchase tickets, click here.

Interview: Director Park Heung-sik of ‘Love, Lies’ at Closing Night Film of Asian Pop-Up Cinema

Love, Lies

CHICAGO – The Fourth Season of the Asian Pop-Up Cinema series comes to a rousing conclusion with the Closing Night film – “Love, Lies” – from South Korean director Park Heung-Sik. The screening will take place on Wednesday, May 3rd, 1017, at the AMC River East Theatre in downtown Chicago. Director Park Heung-sik will attend the screening, and participate in a Q&A afterwards. For complete details and to purchase tickets, click here.

Interview: Sean Patrick Leonard, on World Premiere of ‘Rockabye’ at Twister Alley Film Festival

Sean Patrick Leonard

CHICAGO – The sudden drama of tragic death is beautifully rendered in a new short film called “Rockabye,” a Chicago-based production directed by David Bradburn and written/performed in by Sean Patrick Leonard. The World Premiere of the film will take place at the Twister Alley International Film Festival in Woodward, Oklahoma, on April 29th, 2017.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 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.

  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

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