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Angela Bassett

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.

Slideshow: Spike Lee’s ‘Chi-raq’ Premiere in Chicago on Nov. 22, 2015

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Director Spike Lee of ‘Chi-raq.’

CHICAGO – The Red Carpet in Chicago was rolled out in maximum fashion for the November 22nd, 2015, premiere of director Spike Lee’s new film, “Chi-raq.” Despite its controversial title, the city has embraced the film’s metaphoric plea for sanity, and the premiere took place at the historic Chicago Theatre on State Street. Stars of the film, including Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, John Cusack, Jennifer Hudson, Wesley Snipes and director Spike Lee were all in attendance, and HollywoodChicago.com photographer Joe Arce got Exclusive Portraits of them all.

Film Review: Inventive ‘Chi-raq’ is an Authentic Plea for Sanity

CHICAGO – A spotlight on Chicago, in the context of guns and violence, is never a good thing for the overall community. But using Chicago as a metaphor for all violent insanity, and making a plea for peace, is the purpose of director Spike Lee’s new film, “Chi-raq.”

TV Review: ‘American Horror Story: Coven’ Casts a Spell

CHICAGO – Take this with a giant grain of salt but FX’s “American Horror Story: Coven” shows incredible promise in its premiere episode tonight, setting a number of creative plates spinning in directions that could be fascinating. Why the salt? Well, “American Horror Story: Asylum” started with similar promise and quickly became cluttered and unfocused.

Film Review: Gerard Butler Stars in Violent, Stupid ‘Olympus Has Fallen’

CHICAGO – Antoine Fuqua’s “Olympus Has Fallen” (or “Die Hard in the White House”) is a stupid, exploitative movie that wants to be “Call of Duty: Black Ops” in film form but ends up more like one of its countless, ineffective rip-offs. There are moments of goofy, B-movie fun (certainly more of them than in the much-worse “A Good Day to Die Hard”) but not enough to get over the brutal nonsense that makes up most of this action flick.

Interview: Director Antoine Fuqua Lifts Up ‘Olympus Has Fallen’

CHICAGO – The upcoming political action thriller “Olympus Has Fallen” has a familiar director behind it, the inventive Antoine Fuqua. Known best for “Training Day,” which won the Best Actor Oscar for Denzel Washington, he also directed ‘The Replacement Killers” (1998), “Shooter” (2007) and “Brooklyn’s Finest” (2009).

Film Review: ‘This Means War’ With Reese Witherspoon is an Attack on Movie Decency

CHICAGO – McG’s “This Means War” with Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, and Reese Witherspoon is an aggressively annoying movie. It isn’t just bad. It grates. It frustrates. It baffles with its incompetence.

Blu-ray Review: Denzel Washington in Spike Lee’s Timeless ‘Malcolm X’

Malcolm X

CHICAGO – Spike Lee has been getting national buzz again after the Sundance premiere of his controversial “Red Hook Summer” and the ageless Denzel Washington is back in the spotlight as his latest action vehicle, “Safe House,” premieres in theaters on Friday. It seems a perfect time for a Blu-ray release to bring audiences back to one of their career highlights. Over twenty years ago, the two collaborated on their most artistically rewarding venture, the epic “Malcolm X,” a fantastic film that has held up remarkably well, in no small part due to the excellent HD transfer from Warner Bros.

Blu-Ray Review: Ryan Reynolds Can’t Save Goofy ‘Green Lantern’

Green Lantern

CHICAGO – After the abysmal theatrical reviews, I thought it would be easier to completely dismiss “Green Lantern,” the least-acclaimed and least-profitable of the Summer 2011 Superhero Quartet (which also included “X-Men: First Class,” “Thor,” and “Captain America: The First Avenger” — and I would rank them in that order in terms of quality with “GL” bringing up the rear). The fact is that this is not an “Elektra” or “Ghost Rider”-level mess. There are things about Martin Campbell’s film that work, especially in the first half, but a goofy story and aesthetic ultimately sink the film to cartoonish levels.

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  • Speech & Debate (stage play)

    CHICAGO – “Speech & Debate,” the latest production from the mighty Brown Paper Box Company, continues their tradition of thinking outside that “box” in presenting storefront theater that makes a statement and a difference. “Speech” goes inside America by showcasing the outsiders… those who create art because they can’t get it right in real life. This non-equity Chicago stage play premiere is finely tuned and wonderfully acted, and runs through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • We're Gonna Be Okay

    CHICAGO – The 1960s were a time of historical social transition. The movements – civil rights, feminist, gay rights – all had roots in that tumultuous decade. The Chicago premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s “We’re Gonna Be Okay” echoes all of those movements in its characters, and collides them against the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the American Theater Company through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.


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