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1970s

Film Review: 'Free Fire' Knows That Happiness is a Warm Gun

Free Fire

CHICAGO – In a film that had a sassy, arbitrary perspective on its own flipped-out story, “Free Fire” sought to out-Quentin Tarantino in freaky funny characters and ammo-splurging gun battles. Director Ben Wheatley (“High-Rise”) took an ensemble cast to rarified heights of insult comedy, revenge dynamics and bullets that hit the bone.

Interview: Director Ben Wheatley Ignites His New Film ‘Free Fire’

CHICAGO – One of the more lovely examples of pure cinema – if that description can be given to a film with nearly constant gunplay – is in the upcoming release of “Free Fire.” Director Ben Wheatley (“High-Rise”) constructs a dark and funny scenario within one room, and fills it with symbolism and homage to other movies.

Interview: Director Hunter Adams on Release of ‘Dig Two Graves’

Dig Two Graves

CHICAGO – One of the local filmmaker heroes has been Hunter Adams, the director of “Dig Two Graves.” Shot in Southern Illinois in the infamous “Little Egypt” area, Adams took a shoestring budget and created a tense and mysterious supernatural thriller. “Dig Two Graves” will get its theatrical and iTunes release on Friday, March 24th, 2017, and will play in Chicago at the AMC River East Theatre (details below).

Interview: Actor Don Cheadle Discovers Himself ‘Miles Ahead’

CHICAGO – Like improvisational jazz, the performance career of Don Cheadle has many moods, directions and shadings. For his latest film, he takes on the titles of co-writer and director, along with the lead role of music legend Miles Davis. This all comes together is the aptly titled “Miles Ahead.”

Interview: Kevin Hanna on The Artist’s Lab Staging of ‘The Cowboy and The Showgirl Cycle’

Cowboy and The Showgirl, The

CHICAGO – Chicago is a hotbed for new stage talent, and the growth of that creativity is generated in new theater works. The Artist’s Lab at Stage 773 is one such developmental program, and director Kevin Hanna is currently in residence to create a new three part musical production called “The Cowboy and the The Showgirl Cycle.” The first part will have its premiere at Stage 773 on February 11th, 2016 (details below).

Film Review: Searing ‘Last Days in Vietnam’ Documents Vital History

Last Days of Vietnam

CHICAGO – It has been nearly 40 years since the Vietnam War truly ended, with the desperate events during the Fall of Saigon. “Last Days in Vietnam” is a brilliant new documentary that puts it all in perspective, the final surreal folly of America’s nightmarish involvement in the Vietnam War. Director Rory Kennedy – the youngest daughter of Robert F. Kennedy – generates a precise and gripping document that lingers long after it has been experienced.

Film Review: Director Ron Howard Delivers a Meticulous ‘Rush’

CHICAGO – Defining the glory days of any sport is often centered on personal rivalries. The 1970s – notable for stand-offs like John McEnroe and Björn Borg – had a similarly contentious rivalry between Formula One car racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, portrayed in Ron Howard’s “Rush.”

Film Review: Effective ‘The Conjuring’ Captures the Sum of All Fears

CHICAGO – True scary movies have a couple of things going for them – the source of the scare and the psychology of the scare. The source provides the “boo,” the audience provides the interactive psychology. “The Conjuring” is a true scary movie.

Film Review: ‘The Source Family’ Reveals a Communal Past

Source Family, The

CHICAGO – What did you do during the 1970s, Daddy? After this Father’s Day, many adult kids might be asking that question after seeing “The Source Family.” This documentary is about a commune that began in California (naturally) in the 1970s, even after the infamous Manson Family.

Interviews: Those 1970s Celebrities at ‘The Hollywood Show’

Denny Laine, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – When “That ’70’s Show” was merely a twinkle in the eye of Ashton Kutcher’s pappy, there were real TV, film and music celebrities actually working in that disco decade. Denny Laine (of Paul McCartney and “Wings”), Eric Shea (“The Poseidon Adventure”) and Richard Anderson (“The Six Million Dollar Man”) helped to define that freak show era.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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