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Interview

Podcast Talk: Dan Pal on the ‘Queer Bits Film Festival’ in Chicago on June 17, 2017

Queer Bits Film Festival

CHICAGO – June is Pride Month, a celebration of LGBTQ liberation, and all other forms of orientation and gender liberation. What began as a gay and trans rights flashpoint on a June night in 1969, during the push back riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, has become a month-long commemoration of the evolution in identity rights and freedoms. An event in Chicago associated with Pride Month is the annual “Queer Bits Film Festival” – a short film program at the Pride Arts Center on North Broadway on June 17th, 2017 at 7:30pm – that showcases the best of Queer cinema from around the world. The festival producers are Shaun Baer and Dan Pal.

Interview, Audio: Documentary Director Steve James on ‘Abacus: Small Enough to Jail’

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

CHICAGO – The documentary maker Steve James, one of the best in the history of cinema, has a resume of quality reporting through feature film that is stunning in its context. The director of “Hoop Dreams,” “Stevie,” “The Interrupters,” “Head Games” and the Roger Ebert biography “Life Itself” has a new doc, focusing on one repercussion of the financial crisis of 2008, subtly entitled “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.

Interview, Audio: Director Brett Haley Discovers ‘The Hero’

CHICAGO – The familiar character actor and voiceover artist, Sam Elliott, has been breaking out in that latter part of his career. Known for his cowboy roles, smooth bass-tone voice and epic mustache, the icon has been seen lately in diverse roles in “Grandma,” “Digging for Fire,” “Grace and Frankie” and his latest – and perhaps greatest – “The Hero.”

Interview, Audio: Trey Edward Shults Directs ‘It Comes at Night’

CHICAGO – In 2016, a new filmmaker voice made its way into the scene, and it was significant. Trey Edward Shults released his debut film “Krisha,” a shattering story of addiction and its effect on family. The film got him a deal with the distributor/producer A24, and his sophomore effort – the horror/thriller “It Comes at Night” – will be released on June 9th, 2017.

Podcast Talk: John Charles Meyer on ‘Dave Made a Maze,’ Screening in Chicago on June 6, 2017

Dave Made a Maze

CHICAGO – Truly unique and creative micro-budget films are as rare as a sighting of Bigfoot these days, as so many people are picking up a camera to give it try. The production of “Dave Made a Maze” is a happy exception, a film that delivers the thrills and at the same time makes fun of them. Throw in hipsters-in-peril and homages to 1980s adventure films, and it’s easy to find the way through this fun movie.

Podcast Talk: Michael Galinsky’s ‘All the Rage’ at Chicago Underground Film Fest on June 3, 2017

All the Rage

CHICAGO – Dealing with pain has become almost an obsession with Americans. Between over the counter sales of pain relievers, doctor visits and the prescription abuse of painkillers, a crisis has come about. Why are we hurting? Director Michael Galinsky, with co-directors Suki Hawley and David Beilinson, explore an alternative means of pain treatment in “All the Rage.”

Interview, Audio: Comedian Demetri Martin on His Film ‘Dean’

CHICAGO – The dry, hangdog demeanor of comedian Demetri Martin is familiar to fans who have watched his Comedy Central show, “Important Things,” experienced his notable stand up routines and read his best-selling books. It seemed a natural to leap into film, so Martin has written, directed and portrays the title character in the new release, “Dean.”

Exclusive Portraits: Helen Mirren & Taylor Hackford Honored at Cinema/Chicago Gala

CHICAGO – There ain’t nothing like Dame Helen Mirren, international star and Oscar winner for “The Queen.” She, along with her husband Taylor Hackford (director of “Ray” and “An Officer and a Gentleman”), were honored at the Cinema/Chicago Spring Gala on May 24, 2017.

Podcast Talk: ‘Drifting Towards the Crescent’ Opens Chicago Underground Film Fest

Drifting Towards the Crescent

CHICAGO – The oldest underground film festival in U.S. cinema history is CUFF – the Chicago Underground Film Festival, celebrating its 24th edition. From Wednesday, May 31st to Sunday, June 4th, 2017, the radical fringe of the film world will unspool at the five day fest. The Opening Night film on May 31st, at the historic Logan Theatre in Chicago, is “Drifting Towards the Crescent,” a documentary from local filmmaker Laura Stewart.

Podcast Talk: Full Spectrum Features ‘Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 3’ on May 30, 2017

Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 3

CHICAGO – One the top filmmaker organizations of Chicago is Full Spectrum Features. The non-profit production and exhibition collective has made their “Chicagoland Shorts” series (Vol. 1 & 2) a representation of diverse Windy City creativity, applying their mission statement of supporting minority, female and LGBTQ filmmakers in that mix. “Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 3” will have its World Premiere on May 30th, 2017, at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in downtown Chicago, as announced by the Program Director of Full Spectrum Features, Dane Haiken. The screening begins at 6pm, and is free and open to the public.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 3rd, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • 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).

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