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Alan Rickman

Exclusive Portraits: Helen Mirren & Taylor Hackford Honored at Cinema/Chicago Gala

CHICAGO – There ain’t nothing like Dame Helen Mirren, international star and Oscar winner for “The Queen.” She, along with her husband Taylor Hackford (director of “Ray” and “An Officer and a Gentleman”), were honored at the Cinema/Chicago Spring Gala on May 24, 2017.

Interview: Director Gavin Hood has His ‘Eye in the Sky’

CHICAGO – The new film “Eye in the Sky” is as contemporary a war film that currently could be made. The overview of drone warfare includes the distant “pilots” on the computer screen, the leaders in their paneled offices, and the target on the ground – which includes the enemy, but also several innocents.

Film News: Alan Rickman, Snape in Harry Potter, Dies at 69

LONDON – He lived in a show age when a classically trained British actor could also portray a German villain, an indecisive husband and one of the most memorable characters in the Harry Potter series. Alan Rickman was all of these, and he did it with a signature style. Rickman died in London at age 69 on January 14, 2016.

Film Review: Family Emotions Uplift ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’

CHICAGO – In one of the more intriguing ways to frame the 1960s civil rights movement, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” places the context of that African American struggle through the filter of family dynamics, focusing on the father as a butler in the White House, through six presidents.

Interview: Director Lee Daniels Entitles ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’

CHICAGO – Director Lee Daniels is on a mission of education. With now two generations removed from the height of the 1960s civil rights movement, Daniels hopes to revive and highlight that history in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” – the sensitive and emotional story of one family’s journey through the winds of change.

Blu-ray Review: Stellar Release For ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2’

Harry Potter 7b

CHICAGO – The Blu-ray release for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2” is one of those wonderful circumstances in which this critic finds the home release more remarkable than the theatrical. I had some issues with the final film, although would still certainly recommend it, especially if you’ve made it this far, but that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize that the Blu-ray is among the best of the year.

Interview, Portrait: Tom Felton on Draco Malfoy in ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’

CHICAGO – Playing Draco Malfoy, a less-than-savory counterpoint to the heroics of Harry Potter in the film series just completed with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” would presumably be difficult.

Film Review: It All Ends With Satisfying ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’

CHICAGO – So this is how it ends – not with a whimper but with a big, magical bang. After a decade of captivating movie audiences worldwide, will “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” appease the fans who have been eagerly anticipating the end of the saga of the boy who lived? It almost certainly will. It’s hard to imagine fans leaving the final “Potter” film with deep disappointment in this satisfying conclusion. But “satisfying” is not the same as captivating, magical, or spectacular. “Deathly Hallows” is none of those things. It’s a well-executed slice of fantasy entertainment that nonetheless fails to rise to the level of true classic.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

  • They're Playing Our Song

    CHICAGO – During the late disco era of the 1970s, an unusual musical opened on Broadway. Essentially a two person stage play, “They’re Playing Our Song” involved a songwriter and a lyricist who develop a stronger connection than just writing partners. The always passionate Brown Paper Box Co. of Chicago has unearthed this chestnut with a bright and fun revival at the Rivendell Theatre through August 20th, 2017.

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