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Film Review: ‘Phantom Thread’ is Both Beautiful and Muddled

CHICAGO – There is a certain beauty in human creation, and the fashion industry allows that we can be individual in the sense of our clothing choices. The perfection that those creators attend to is nicely defined in “Phantom Thread,” but as an exploration of their personal life, it is frustrating.

Interview: Jovan Adepo & Stephen McKinley Henderson of ‘Fences’

CHICAGO – The film adaptation of a stage play by August Wilson, the late playwright known for his “Pittsburgh Cycle” of dramas, was aided by Denzel Washington, both portraying the lead role and directing “Fences.” Washington had done the play on Broadway, and recruited to the film his stage mate Stephen McKinley Henderson and newcomer Jovan Adepo.

Film Review: Two Stories Clash in Uneven ‘Rules Don’t Apply’

Rules Don't Apply Front

CHICAGO – Movie icon Warren Beatty had wanted to make a film about 20th Century billionaire Howard Hughes for close to 40 years. On the heels of Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator,” Beatty has written, directed and portrays Hughes in “Rules Don’t Apply,” and has created a strange farce about the mogul and a romance tale around him.

Interview: Lily Collins & Alden Ehrenreich of ‘Rules Don’t Apply’

CHICAGO – If there is one star-crossed couple in this fall’s movie line-up, it’s Marla and Frank of “Rules Don’t Apply,” as portrayed by Lily Collins and Alden Ehrenreich. The two popular young actors are trying to connect by the standards of late 1950s Hollywood in the film, a looser atmosphere but still difficult for two religious outsiders.

Interview: Film Icon Warren Beatty Knows ‘Rules Don’t Apply’

CHICAGO – When encountering film producer, director, writer and “movie star” Warren Beatty, I entered into an interview that would be truly one of a kind. The spontaneous Mr. Beatty works a talk in a give-and-take Socratic method, searching for the truth underneath the rhetoric, as he did with his new film “Rules Don’t Apply.”

Film Review: Unexpected Lessons for the Student of ‘Indignation’

CHICAGO – America was a very different place in 1951, and there are very few people around to tell us about it. That is why reminders of the more confining social order that existed back then is necessary, and is expressed in the film “Indignation.” This is an adaptation of a recent Philip Roth novel, and he was able to articulate the era.

Film Review: ‘Hail, Caesar!’ is Coen Bros. Excellence for Movie Lovers

CHICAGO – Writer/directors Joel and Ethan Coen love the movies, and that love is magnificently played out in “Hail, Caesar!” As they riff on religion, geopolitics and 1950s morality, while wonderfully celebrating and spoofing an era in movies that will never be again, the Coens abide and deliver.

Interview: Director Jay Roach Channels His Inner ‘Trumbo’

CHICAGO – Director Jay Roach loves his work, heading into another phase of his successful career. The man who directed the first two “Austin Powers” films is now taking on movie and American history with “Trumbo,” featuring Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) as the 1950s blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.

Blu-ray Review: Dated ‘Riot in Cell Block 11’ is Beautifully Filmed

Riot in Cell Block 11

CHICAGO – The Criterion Collection has added “Riot in Cell Block 11” (1954) to their stellar Blu-ray family, and the transfer is absolutely gorgeous, especially if you’re an admirer of the stark cinematography of the late black & white film era. Although dated, it still packs a gritty wallop.

Great Performances Wasted in Sterile ‘Revolutionary Road’

Revolutionary Road

CHICAGO – Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) and April Wheeler (Kate Winslet) refuse to believe that they’re like everyone else in the 1950’s suburbia of Sam Mendes’ frustrating “Revolutionary Road”. They may go to the same jobs and travel in the same social circles, but, unlike the bored housewives and husbands around them, they haven’t given up on their dreams.

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  • Speech & Debate (stage play)

    CHICAGO – “Speech & Debate,” the latest production from the mighty Brown Paper Box Company, continues their tradition of thinking outside that “box” in presenting storefront theater that makes a statement and a difference. “Speech” goes inside America by showcasing the outsiders… those who create art because they can’t get it right in real life. This non-equity Chicago stage play premiere is finely tuned and wonderfully acted, and runs through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • We're Gonna Be Okay

    CHICAGO – The 1960s were a time of historical social transition. The movements – civil rights, feminist, gay rights – all had roots in that tumultuous decade. The Chicago premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s “We’re Gonna Be Okay” echoes all of those movements in its characters, and collides them against the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the American Theater Company through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.


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