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.
CHICAGO – “Lion” is the kind of inspirational-triumph-over-insurmountable-odds and adversity stories that’s bound to appeal to grandmothers and Academy voters, and it does offer plenty of material to tug at the heartstrings. But it’s a movie that only gets the job half done, and unfortunately loses its way once Nicole Kidman comes into the picture.
CHICAGO – In the early 1970s, “Love Story” was all the rage, with its catchphrase “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Just as sudsy, and with its own catchphrase, is “The Light Between the Oceans.” The film, set in the early 20th Century, salvages a by-the-numbers tale with fine performances.
Interview: Producer Marla Gamze to Present ‘Artists of the First Sunrise’ in Chicago on Nov. 14, 2015Submitted by PatrickMcD on November 12, 2015 - 1:55pm
CHICAGO – The traditions and ceremony of our tribal past have eventually become homogenized in modern society. But there are some parts of the world where those traditions still exist, and much of it has a connection to art, dance, design, music and ritual. Executive Producer Marla Gamze is working on a new documentary – “Artists of the First Sunrise” – about the indigenous Aboriginal tribes of Australia, a native population that still bond to their tradition and expression.
CHICAGO – Actor and Oscar Winner Russell Crowe, known for films such as “L.A. Confidential,” “Gladiator,” “A Beautiful Mind,” “Cinderella Man,” “Les Miserables” and “Man of Steel,” breaks out in his directorial debut and also stars in “The Water Diviner,” a story of war and his native Australia.
CHICAGO – “The Sapphires” is inspired by a true story, about an Australian girl group who entertains the troops in 1968 Viet Nam. There is little feeling regarding the era the film is portraying, and it’s essentially used as a vehicle for period pop songs that have been heard before.
CHICAGO – In other countries and cultures, there are parallel moments going on that are interesting mirrors to U.S. history. In “The Sapphires,” a girl group from Australia entertains the troops in Viet Nam, with many of the same U.S. issues of war, peace and social discord. The film is directed by Wayne Blair and features Jessica Mauboy.
CHICAGO – The thin line between anarchy and social peace is shriveling into a microscopic blur as sentencing and incarceration become increasingly less effective as a deterrent. The human side of this perspective is explored with an artistic elegance, featuring Guy Pearce in writer/director David Michôd’s “Animal Kingdom.”
CHICAGO – The gangster movie gets a nice Freudian twist in director David Michôd’s new film, “Animal Kingdom.” This Australian import focuses on a family of bank robbers whose mother is the glue that holds their criminality together. Guy Pearce (”Memento,” “The Hurt Locker”) lends his talent as Leckie, a pursuing police officer.
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.5/5.0
CHICAGO – Visionary director Baz Luhrmann would probably like people to watch his grandiose, old-fashioned, epic “Australia” on the big screen, but HD Blu-Ray seems made for this vibrant, colorful director. At first. This Luhrmann fan, like a lot of people who loved “Strictly Ballroom,” “Romeo + Juliet,” and “Moulin Rouge!” was let down by Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman in theaters and the disappointment continues on Blu-Ray.
CHICAGO – Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and newcomer Brandon Walters star in Baz Luhrmann’s “Australia”: a sweeping, grand epic in the tradition of “Gone With the Wind” that gets away from its talented director, the writers he worked with and the team he hired to film his passion project.