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 – Local filmmaking has always gotten a boost through director Jack C. Newell. His 2015 film “Open Tables,” shot in Chicago and Paris, will get it’s digital release on Tuesday, December 6th, 2016, on iTunes and Video-On-Demand. This coincides with his art project “The Wabash Lights,” and his continued production work.
CHICAGO – She is the oldest daughter of movie legend Charlie Chaplin, from his fourth marriage to Oona O’Neill, but she also was a spectacular actress in her own right. She is Geraldine Chaplin, and she was honored at the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival, and was president on a film jury for the fest.
CHICAGO – Jack C. Newell will ride his bike when he meets you for an interview in Chicago, naturally. The locally based director is a welcome original, with credits in both documentary and narrative films. His latest feature, “Open Tables,” will screen at the 51st Chicago International Film Festival on October 20th, 2015.
CHICAGO – Charlie Chaplin’s “City Lights” used to be more widely considered to be one of the best films ever made. In early editions of the Sight & Sound poll (the every-decade poll of film historians and critics), it appeared in the top ten regularly. Its esteem seems to have slipped a bit over the decades as some now prefer other Chaplin to “Lights” (me, I adore “Great Dictator” and “Gold Rush,” both available in Criterion Blu-ray editions as well) but the new Criterion edition reminds one why so many people consider this one of the best. It’s still a glorious gem.
CHICAGO – You know you’re on a Jack C. Newell film set when his producer, Steve Tobiasz, offers you the best empanada you’ve ever eaten, from the Gourmet Food Truck that is crucial to the upcoming scene. “Open Tables” is director Jack C. Newell’s second feature film, coming in right after 2012’s “Close Quarters.”
CHICAGO – Every time I’ve seen “The Great Dictator,” I’m amazed that it even exists. It is not only one of the great Charlie Chaplin’s most consistently funny films but it is a satirical masterpiece that is SO daring that it’s amazing it even got made. It is a piece of slapstick comedy about World War II and Adolf Hitler. Think about that for one minute. Now, it was made in 1940 (a year before our entry into the war), but it was still a risky move to make a piece this politically and socially conscious and try and sell it to an audience who had grown accustomed to watching Charlie Chaplin fall down.
CHICAGO – There’s a scene early in “Modern Times” in which Charlie Chaplin’s timeless Little Tramp character has been so mentally and physically damaged by the routine he’s been forced to do over and over again on an assembly line that he can’t stop moving his arms in the same repetitive motion. As he tries to turn everything that looks like it can be turned with a wrench, the routine perfectly captures the genius of Chaplin in its duality. Not only is it a commentary on how men are being destroyed by the machine of industry but it’s damn funny at the same time.
CHICAGO – On this Christmas Eve, we will bask in the light of sparkling film stars, and honor their legacy. Mickey Rooney, Ernest Borgnine, Tippi Hedren and Larry Hagman met admirers at the Hollywood Celebrities Show.
CHICAGO – Jeremy Kruse is a major part of Chicago’s vibrant film scene. The actor and writer has made a big splash with his short films, and now directs Emily Skyle’s “Fluffenhaus: The Comeback of a Pop Icon,” with an screening here September 17th.
CHICAGO – The wonder of a filmmaker’s art and perspective is the ability to challenge and reflect the absurdity of our own nature back to us. Few filmmakers have done more to add provocation to that sensibility than Harmony Korine.