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2015

Interviews: Women in Film Chicago 2016 Focus Awards Honorees

CHICAGO – It was a celebration in late January for Women in Film Chicago, as the organization showcased notable women in media with their annual Focus Awards. Advertising guru Jean Batthany, director Kris Swanberg, Editor Kathryn Hempel and writer/actress Megan Mercier were the honorees.

Film Feature: The 10 Best Films of 2015, By Patrick McDonald

CHICAGO – Another year is about to slide towards the next one, so it’s time to look back at the cinema universe of 2015, the 10 Best Films of the year. In this arena, the intrepid “Über Critic” of HollywoodChicago.com, Patrick McDonald, will attempt to give his spin on the “best of” point of view.

Film News: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Tops Chicago Film Critics Association 2015 Best Film Nominees

CFCA 2015 Mad Max

CHICAGO – The adrenalin-fueled “Mad Max: Fury Road” topped the Chicago Film Critics Association nominations list for 2015, announced on Monday, December 14th. Other notable multi-category nominees included “Carol,” “The Revenant” and “Inside Out.” Jennifer Jason Leigh scored a double nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category for “The Hateful Eight” and “Anomalisa,” and Amy Schumer got a nod for Most Promising Performer with “Trainwreck.”

Film News: Midwest Independent Film Festival’s ‘Best of the Midwest’ on Dec. 1, 2015

Best of the Midwest 2015

CHICAGO – On Tuesday, December 1st, the Midwest Independent Film Festival will award their 2015 “Best of the Midwest” with a ceremony at Rockit Bar & Grill, 22 W. Hubbard, in Chicago. The evening will be hosted by Festival Director Mike McNamara, and nominees include the short film “Baby Mary” (directed by Kris Swanberg), plus feature films “Full Frame” (directed by Christopher Kelley), and “Anguish” 
(directed by Sonny Mallhi).

Slideshow: Happy 50th Anniversary to the Chicago International Film Festival & Founder Michael Kutza

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Michael Kutza, Founder and Artistic Director, Chicago International Film Festival.

CHICAGO – 50 years ago today – Thursday, November 4th, 1965 – a 22-year old filmmaker named Michael Kutza realized his dream of bringing the cinema world to Chicago, with the opening night of the first Chicago International Film Festival. 50 years later, founder Kutza just finished overseeing the 51st festival.

Interviews: City & State Short Film Directors at 51st Chicago International Film Festival

CHICAGO – The future of filmmaking was on display at the 51st Chicago International Film Festival at the City & State Short Film program. Subtitled “Feel the Illinoise,” the collection included works by directors Bradley Bischoff, Joel Benjamin, Ed Flynn, Andy Berlin, Jake Zalutsky and Weija Ma.

Film News: 51st Chicago International Film Festival Closes with Best of Fest, ‘Carol’ & ‘Spotlight’

Spotlight

CHICAGO – All great things come to an end, and the 51st Chicago International Film Festival is no exception, concluding on October 28th and 29th, 2015, with the Best of the Fest, in addition to a special presentation of the new Todd Haynes’ film “Carol’ and their Closing Night film event, the tense journalism thriller “Spotlight.”

Film News: 2015 Chicago French Film Festival Kicks Off July 31 at the Music Box Theatre with ‘Le Affaire SK1’

French Film Fest 2015

CHICAGO – The 5th annual Chicago French Film Festival is six days of beret-wearing cinema, taking place July 31st-August 5th, 2015, at the historic Music Box Theatre in Chicago. The opening night film at 7pm is “Le Affaire SK1.”

Slideshow: Heart Rocks Rosemont Theater in Chicagoland

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Heart at Rosemont Theater, Rosemont, Illinois, June 12th, 2015.

CHICAGO – The recent viral YouTube video of Heart’s “Stairway To Heaven” performance – before the surviving members of Led Zeppelin – proved once and for all that Ann and Nancy Wilson of that legendary band are good enough to make Robert Plant, and fans new and old, weep tears of joy. Numerous musical trends and band personnel have come and gone since Heart’s 1976 debut “Dreamboat Annie,” but at its cardiac core the most celebrated sister act of rock continues to beat on as strong as ever, while keeping their love alive.

Film News: Second Week Highlights of the 31st Chicago Latino Film Festival

Chicago Latino Film Festival Logo 2015

CHICAGO – It’s the second week of the 31st edition of the Chicago Latino Film Festival which continues through Thursday, April 23rd, 2015. It concludes on that evening with the musical comedy film “Ciudad Delirio.” All films are at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago.

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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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