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Film Review: All Forms of Heroism Available in ‘Black Panther’

CHICAGO – The fortune of the latest Marvel Studios superhero epic, “Black Panther,” lies in its solid foundation in African mythos and intelligent storytelling. And with Ryan Coogler (“Creed”) as director, there are still major confrontations and battles, intertwined into the soul.

Interview: Actor David Oyelowo Presides Over ‘A United Kingdom’

CHICAGO – Actor David Oyelowo is very familiar with portraying a man of consequence put into a difficult leadership role. In 2014, he took on the role of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in “Selma.” Currently, he is in theaters with “A United Kingdom,” which tells the story of an African prince who led his country to a new mindset in the 1950s.

Film Review: Lack of Cohesiveness, Intrigue Stymies ‘The Gunman’

CHICAGO – If you’re going to see a Sean Penn action movie, I guess “The Gunman” would be appropriate. As he and the filmmakers inject some reality in the usual motivations, the puzzle pieces don’t connect well and in the end are not that interesting. That is not to say that the film is bad.

Interview: Director Pierre Morel on Sean Penn, Liam Neeson & His Latest ‘The Gunman’

Pierre Morel of 'The Gunman,' photo by Patrick McDonald

CHICAGO – There were basically two careers for Pierre Morel, before he directed the mega-hit “Taken,” starring Liam Neeson, and afterward. The French-born cinematographer, camera operator and now director is releasing “The Gunman,” an action film that stars Sean Penn. Like “Taken,” the motivations for the action are based in the real world, and “The Gunman” travels to Africa, London and Barcelona on his way to redeeming his soul.

Film Review: Story Too Broad to Execute in ‘Machine Gun Preacher’

Machine Gun Preacher 2

CHICAGO – When one movie has an ex-con, drug retribution violence, his religious conversion, his building of a church, his preaching, his trip to Southern Sudan in Africa, his opening of an orphanage and his family, then it’s too big a story to tell. Therein lies the challenge for “Machine Gun Preacher.”

Interviews: Gerard Butler, Sam Childers on ‘Machine Gun Preacher’

CHICAGO – Gerard Butler is movie star good looking, that is very apparent when meeting him. What wasn’t expected was his keen insight, passion and perspective on taking on a challenge and playing a true-life Pennsylvania preacher, who ends up helping children in the most corrupted areas of the Southern Sudan in Africa, in “Machine Gun Preacher.”

Film Review: Strength of ‘Life, Above All’ Found in Khomotso Manyaka

Life, Above All 2

CHICAGO – As long as one person is inflicted with HIV, or full-blown AIDS, the crisis will never be averted, despite less of a profile in America and Europe. Africa is still in the midst of dealing with the epidemic, and Khomotso Manyaka portrays a symbol of that struggle in the enlightening “Life, Above All.”

Interviews: Oliver Schmitz, Khomotso Manyaka of ‘Life, Above All’

CHICAGO – The spectre of AIDS seems to have diminished, but the continent of Africa still has a huge problem fighting the disease. Director Oliver Schmitz (”Paris, Je T’Aime”) focuses his lens on this physical and cultural crisis in “Life, Above All.”

Interview: ‘22 Years From Home’ Director Malachi Leopold

Kuek Gurang of "22 Years From Home"

CHICAGO – The “Lost Boys” of Sudan in African history has carved a place in culture representing extreme acts of terror in the midst of civil war. Malachi Leopold, a Chicago producer/director, will debut his documentary profiling one of those Lost Boys – Kuek Gurang – in “22 Years From Home,” April 27th at the Music Box Theatre here.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Jesus Christ Superstar, Lyric Opera

    CHICAGO – As a wee lad, I would often go into my parent’s record collection. One day, out of the blue, that brown double album with the gold embossed angels appeared, like a gift from the divine. “Jesus Christ Superstar” began as a record album “rock opera” in 1970, evolved to a Broadway show and film, and then was interpreted through a myriad of stage revivals over the years. The latest is an exciting piece of stagecraft at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The show has a various evening/matinee run through May 20th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Cornerstone, Nothing Without a Company

    CHICAGO – We all need some help. The stage play group Nothing Without a Company realizes that, and has collaborated with the organization “Cornerstone” to provide that assistance. Cornerstone is a seminar and a happening in downtown Chicago, facilitated by “experts” to generate your potential. The presentation has a Thursday-Sunday run at Michigan Avenue’s Artspace 8 through May 6th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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