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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: Actor André Holland is Rising in ‘Moonlight’

CHICAGO – While the name André Holland may not be familiar, the actor’s consummate approach to his craft is unforgettable. Specializing in character parts, Holland has raised his profile in such movie hits as “Selma” and “42,’ and on television recently with “The Knick” and “American Horror Story.” His latest film is “Moonlight.”

Interview: Naomie Harris, from Moneypenny to ‘Moonlight’

CHICAGO – The career of actress Naomie Harris has exploded, mostly due to a choice role of Moneypenny in the James Bond film series, beginning with 2012’s “Skyfall” and bookended in the recent “Spectre” (2015). But she also displays deep acting chops in the new film “Moonlight,” portraying a mother hopelessly lost in drug abuse.

Interview: Barry Jenkins & Tarell McCraney of ‘Moonlight’

CHICAGO – One of the biggest buzz releases of recent weeks is the brilliant new film “Moonlight,” directed by Barry Jenkins, from a story by Tarell McCraney. The narrative, structured in three parts of one boy-to-man’s life, is an emotional journey that connects to important empathy and a vital passionate heart.

Film Review: Redemptive & Emotional Journey Dances in ‘Moonlight’

CHICAGO – We are all victims of our own circumstances. How we interact with this circumstance, given our DNA, social nurturing, family and relationship ties are thrown in the air like organic confetti, landing here and there, and often in smaller and smaller pieces. “Moonlight” is a film full of this absolution.

Film Review: ‘American Honey’ is a New National Anthem for All of Us

American Honey

CHICAGO – The America we find ourselves in today would never have been imagined by our ancestors. Sure, we don’t have flying cars or robotic house servants but we do have different ways of life. “American Honey” shows the sweet and sour side of my generation’s new American Dream while keeping it infinitely relatable to everyone.

Interview: Actor Craig Robinson, Director Chad Hartigan Reflect on ‘Morris From America’

CHICAGO – When a 13 year old African American teenager is suddenly put into the atmosphere of Germany – specifically Old Heidelberg – then a whole new adventure awaits for “Morris from America.” Craig Robinson (“The Office”) portrays the title character’s father, and the film is directed by Chad Hartigan.

Film Review: Spotty ‘Swiss Army Man’ Has Just Enough Gas

CHICAGO – It’s a simple concept. A man is stuck on an island, and has run out of hope. A dead corpse washes ashore and starts farting. The farts are so frequent that the man rides the corpse like a jet ski. The man is “saved”? Oh yes, and the corpse is portrayed by Daniel “Harry Potter” Radcliffe.

Interview: Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan Open a ‘Swiss Army Man’

CHICAGO – In what truly must be one of the most original and odd ideas for a movie in awhile, “Swiss Army Man” is opening in Chicago this week, and features Daniel “Harry Potter” Radcliffe as a dead corpse that helps a man survive. This scenario was concocted by writer/directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan.

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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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