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Film Review: ‘Get Out’ is Funny, Scary & Tells Us About Us

CHICAGO – When he got his chance, writer/director Jordan Peele (“Key & Peele”) completely understood what he had to do – combine his skewered hilarity, love of horror movies and true social conscience, and put them all into one great movie. Ladies and germs, “Get Out.”

Film Review: Brainiac Fulfillment is the Key to ‘Hidden Figures’

CHICAGO – In America, there is the history we have, and the history that we want to have happened. “Hidden Figures” falls into the second category, but it’s presented in such a way that it fulfills the goal – tell an amazing story about a group of African American women who helped launch men into space.

Interview: Jovan Adepo & Stephen McKinley Henderson of ‘Fences’

CHICAGO – The film adaptation of a stage play by August Wilson, the late playwright known for his “Pittsburgh Cycle” of dramas, was aided by Denzel Washington, both portraying the lead role and directing “Fences.” Washington had done the play on Broadway, and recruited to the film his stage mate Stephen McKinley Henderson and newcomer Jovan Adepo.

Interview: Director Julie Dash of ‘Daughters of the Dust’

CHICAGO – Iconic and historical are the two apt terms for a film directed by an African American woman, the first to be distributed theatrically, Was it the 1920s? 1940s? It had to be the 1970s. No, it was 1992 when that barrier was broken, with the film “Daughters in the Dust,” directed by Julie Dash.

Interview: Omar Epps & D.C. Young Fly of ‘Almost Christmas’

CHICAGO – Every year, the “season” gets earlier and earlier, and the first out of the gate for the holidays is the new film, “Almost Christmas.” This warm-hearted comedy involves a large African American family gathering at the Yuletide, and features Danny Glover, Gabrielle Union, Omar Epps, and introducing D.C. Young Fly.

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.

Interview: Harry Lennix Puts His Career & Life in Perspective

Harry Lennix, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – The stage play that Harry Lennix is in town to direct – “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red” – is in its last weekend, and is giving the actor/director the best notices of the theater part in his long and successful career. For more information about the play, and ticket availability, click here.

Interview: Harry Lennix Directs the New Play ‘A Small Oak Tree Runs Red’

Harry Lennix, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’

Interview: Stephan James Portrays Olympian Jesse Owens in ‘Race’

Stephan James as Jesse Owens in Race

CHICAGO – In the history of America, there are moments when champions rose above their societal status and circumstance. And so it came to pass that African American Jesse Owens – during one of most difficult times in America for blacks – won medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, representing America and striking a blow against Adolf Hitler, four years before WWII. Owen’s story is told in the new film, “Race,” and he is portrayed by actor Stephan James.

Interviews: Filmmakers Lonnie Edwards, Robert Carnilius at the 2015 Chicago Black Harvest Film Festival

Black Harvest Film Festival 2015

CHICAGO – The 21st edition of the Black Harvest Film Festival will open on August 8th, 2015, at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago. Through film and video, the festival explores the stories, images, heritage and history of the black experience in the United States and around the world. Two passionate short film examples of the festival mission are found in a couple of Chicago filmmakers, Lonnie Edwards (“A Ferguson Story”) and Robert Carnilius (“How to Catch a Criminal”).

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Downward Dog

    CHICAGO – From “Mr. Ed” to “Dog with a Blog,” talking animals have had their place on TV. The latest has origins as a web series, with the clever title “Downward Dog.” The show premieres on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 (9:30pEST/8:30pCST), on ABC TV, and features Ned the Dog as Martin, and human companions portrayed by Allison Tolman and Lucas Neff.

  • 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.

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