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Forest Whitaker

Film Review: Science of the Human Condition Makes an ‘Arrival’

CHICAGO – The film genre of aliens from other planets is as old as the movies. But it hasn’t been told as boldly and humanely as the new film “Arrival.” Its theme is communication, and how this interaction relates to the concept of the life cycle. Yes, it’s lofty, but it is also edge-of-the-seat engaging.

Film Review: Alternate American Dream Played Out in ‘Dope’

CHICAGO – If you’re lucky enough, you’ll never know what it’s like to grow up in a poor American neighborhood. But what if the notions of such societies are flipped on its ear, and what if the message draws attention to our current perceptions of race? This is what the new film “Dope” conveys.

Film Review: Ramshackle, Rickety ‘Taken 3’ is Far Too Predictable

CHICAGO – “Taken 3” is more a brand extension than a movie. Seven years after “Taken” turned Liam Neeson into an unlikely action star, “Taken 3” shows this series has completely run out of gas. The novelty of the hulking Oscar-nominee beating bad guys to a pulp wore off a long time ago.

Film Review: Great Cast Can’t Find Truth in False Plotting of ‘Out of the Furnace’

One overriding thought dominated my time with Scott Cooper’s stunningly disappointing “Out of the Furnace” – I just don’t care. When I wasn’t picking apart the gigantic plot holes in the narrative, I was marveling at the overheated characters who have been crafted from cliché instead of the real world.

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.

Interview: Forest Whitaker Serves Up ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’

CHICAGO – In person, Oscar winner Forest Whitaker is a man at peace. His talent has created a demeanor of a guru – soft spoken with transcendent thoughts. His latest film is “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” in which he portrays the title character. As a black man caught between two eras in American history, Forest Whitaker does relate.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • ThroatPunch

    CHICAGO – The provocative title of Nothing Without a Company’s new world premiere stage play, “ThroatPunch,” does not contain that particular fight technique. But it does have standout performances by the three person cast, as they make their way in Chicago, circa 1983, amid their emerging twentysomething punk rock attitude. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through June 3rd, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Jesus Christ Superstar, Lyric Opera

    CHICAGO – As a wee lad, I would often go into my parent’s record collection. One day, out of the blue, that brown double album with the gold embossed angels appeared, like a gift from the divine. “Jesus Christ Superstar” began as a record album “rock opera” in 1970, evolved to a Broadway show and film, and then was interpreted through a myriad of stage revivals over the years. The latest is an exciting piece of stagecraft at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The show has a various evening/matinee run through May 20th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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