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Film Review: Rising Above Cancer in the Teen Dream ‘Hope Springs Eternal’

Hope Springs Eternal

CHICAGO – The topic of cancer is rarely heroic, and as we know mostly concludes tragically. But the new teen comedy “Hope Springs Eternal” turns the Big C on its ear, and features up-and-coming young actor Mia Rose Frampton to take it on. The film is light and breezy, with nods to John Hughes, absurdist teen indoctrinations and the celebration of music in life.

Podtalk: Desiree Burcum of ‘Yippie Fest,’ at the Prop Theatre in Chicago, Aug. 17-19, 2018

2018 Yippie Fest

CHICAGO – It’s the 2nd annual Yippie Fest in Chicago at the Prop Thtr (Theatre), and the three days of Theater, Performance, Music, Film, Comedy and more kicks off with the 2018 Opening Ceremonies on Friday, August 17th, and runs through Sunday, August 19th. The Fest evolved from the spirit of Mary-Arrchie Theater’s Abbie Hoffman Fest, which ran from 1989 to 2016. The Fest also celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Yippies (Youth International Party) in Chicago, during the Vietnam protests in August of 1968. The whole world was watching. For more information on Yippie Fest, including tickets, click here.

Podtalk: Eddie Muller of ‘Noir City,’ at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre from Aug. 17-23, 2018

Eddie Muller, Noir City

CHICAGO – It’s always darkest before the dawn, and an entire genre of film is available to remind us of that chilling thought. The historic Music Box Theatre presents “Noir City” – August 17th-23rd, 2018 – an annual celebration of “film noir,” the dark category of film drama that usually takes place at night, and features a rogues gallery of dames, gumshoes, coppers and crooks. Hosting for the 10th straight year is Eddie Muller, a recognized world expert on noir and also the host of Turner Classic Movie’s (TCM) “Noir Alley.” For more information, including tickets, click here.

Film Review: Stylish ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is a Bit Too Soap Opera

CHICAGO – “Crazy Rich Asians” is not meant to be anything but glitzy fun, but in the midst of the glamour, excessive wealth and beautiful people, there is a plot that ventures into Soap Opera land, and eventually becomes a distraction for the reason an audience goes to this show… to fantasize about living large.

Film Review: Revealing ‘Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood’

CHICAGO – Any “secret history” inevitably reveals some totally human trait that somehow counters a delicately constructed facade. Show business is no stranger to those histories, and the new documentary “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” is a doozy. Ex-Pimp to the Stars Scotty Bowers reveals all.

Film Review: ‘The Meg’ is a Proud $150 Million Dollar ‘B’ Movie

CHICAGO – From their golden age from the 1950s to the 1970s, the infamous “B” movies – usually the third feature at the drive-in, or playing in the crumbling old theaters – were targeted to teens. In the modern era, these films are now given $150 million dollar budgets and wide releases. Case in point, the shark movie called “The Meg.”

Podtalk: Seth Boustead, Producer of ‘Thirsty Ears’ Classical Music Fest on Aug. 11-12, 2018

2018 Thirsty Ears Festival

CHICAGO – Seth Boustead is a rock star in a different class of music. The energetic and passionate musician is also the producer of the 3rd annual “Thirsty Ears” Classical Music Street Festival in Chicago, bringing the art and “classical gas” to the Ravenswood neighborhood. For more information and performer schedules, click here.

Film Review: ‘BlackKkKlansman’ is a Spike Lee Joint That Burns

CHICAGO – Director Spike Lee has hit the motherlode in good timing of the kind that says “Everything Old is New Again.” His overview in the true story of a black man that went undercover within the Klu Klux Klan in the 1970s nicely mirrors our current president’s divisiveness in the incendiary “BlacKkKlansman.”

Podtalk: Rebecca Fons & Jack C. Newell on Second ‘Destroy Your Art’ in Chicago, Aug. 10, 2018

Destroy Your Art, 2018

CHICAGO – The happening is lovelier, the second time around. Chicago film power couple Rebecca Fons and Jack C. Newell bring back “Destroy Your Art,” an event in which a filmmaker creates a film, shows it once to the audience, and then destroys it forever. Destroy Your Art takes place on August 10th, 2018, at Silent Funny Gallery in Chicago. For more information, including tickets, click here.

Film Review: ‘Generation Wealth’ Tells Us What We Already Know

CHICAGO – When it comes to really being rich, what do we already know? Money doesn’t buy happiness. Family and friendship connections are more important than accumulation. Yet those simple lessons keep being broken up by the excess of more, the values of which are in the documentary “Generation Wealth.”

Podtalk: Amy Guth, New Executive Director of Chicago’s Midwest Independent Film Festival

Amy Guth of the Midwest Indie Fest

CHICAGO – First Tuesdays in Chicago have a new face and a new attitude. Amy Guth – who is a filmmaker, author and broadcaster – was named in July as Executive Director of the Midwest Independent Film Festival, the monthly fest event that convenes every first Tuesday during the year. Her first presentation opportunity for 2018 is tomorrow night (Tuesday, August 7th) at the popular Female Filmmakers Night. For the short film line-up, more information and ticket purchasing, click here.

Red-Carpet Voices: Gillian Flynn for HBO’s ‘Sharp Objects’

Gillian Flynn, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – She is the author whose novels are screen friendly. Gillian Flynn has had all three of her books adapted for either television or film, and the latest is a miniseries adaptation of her first novel, which continues on HBO, titled “Sharp Objects.” The series runs eight episodes, and features Amy Adams in the lead role, supported by Patricia Clarkson, Chris Messina and Elizabeth Perkins.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Orange is the New Black

    CHICAGO – Orange Day is Friday (July 27, 2018)… as in “Orange is the New Black.” That’s when Season Six will be available for download from Netflix, as the online series continues to showcase the women inmates at Litchfield Penitentiary, three of whom are played by Taylor Schilling (Piper), Kate Mulgrew (Red) and Dascha Polanco (Daya).

  • Everybody, Brown Paper Box Co

    CHICAGO – When is the last time a stage play, based in an intimate setting, made you think about your life, death, and the destiny inherent in both? “Everybody,” staged by Brown Paper Box Co. (BPBCo), is such a play, and the energetic aura and sense of surprise that the show contains is soul soothing wonder. The show has various evening/matinee performances at the Pride Arts Center in Chicago run through August 12, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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