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Interview, Audio: Danielle Macdonald on Title Role in ‘Patti Cake$’

CHICAGO – How does a native Australian actress become a New Jersey hip hop artist? Practice, practice, practice… in formulating the character of “Patti Cake$.” Danielle Macdonald, who had never rapped before in her life, portrayed the title Jersey Girl with a stellar determination, poignancy and heart.

Interview, Audio: Bridget Everett Plays Mom in ‘Patti Cake$’

CHICAGO – Bridget Everett is a New York City entertainment maven, as a singer and “cabaret provocateur.” She is breaking out recently as a movie actor, with the just-released comedy “Fun Mom Dinner” and her latest role, as a mother to “Patti Cake$,” a white girl hip-hop artist from New Jersey with a determination of gold.

Interview: Actor David Oyelowo Presides Over ‘A United Kingdom’

CHICAGO – Actor David Oyelowo is very familiar with portraying a man of consequence put into a difficult leadership role. In 2014, he took on the role of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in “Selma.” Currently, he is in theaters with “A United Kingdom,” which tells the story of an African prince who led his country to a new mindset in the 1950s.

Film Review: Natalie Portman Embodies a Magnificent ‘Jackie’

CHICAGO – Capturing one of the most familiar woman of the last fifty years would seem impossible, except when focusing on one of the defining moments of her life. “Jackie” reveals Jacqueline Kennedy during the time of her husband John’s assassination, and when the nation lost a president.

Film Review: ‘The Birth of a Nation’ Depends on its Own Piety

CHICAGO – “The Birth of a Nation” has been making news since it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival early this year. Taking place before the American Civil War, this incendiary look at a real slave rebellion in the deep South does pack a punch, but its approach isn’t completely successful.

Film Review: ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ Too Thin to be Completely Winning

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

CHICAGO – As far as TV shows that fans wish could be movies, the cult hit “Absolutely Fabulous” was high on the list. The adventures of Patsy and Edina, two middle age Brits with an appetite for self medication, has had a dedicated following since it premiered in 1992. Even though there were six full TV seasons, and various reunions, “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” has emerged.

Film Review: ‘Demolition’ Describes the Way They Treated the Story

CHICAGO – The attempt to make a European-style “journey of emotional morality” between four characters in New York City kept getting flatter and flatter as the tale emerged. It’s amusing that they called it “Demolition,” because as cinema, it’s basically a teardown.

Film Review: Elegant, Delicate Emotions Are Forged in ‘Youth’

CHICAGO – When a film tries to be philosophical, it easily can devolve into heavy handedness. But the exception is the latest from writer/director Paolo Sorrentino, the richly presented “Youth.” It treads upon many definitions of the title, and lands upon all of them, because that’s life.

Film Review: ‘Mistress America’ Ultimately Wears Out Her Welcome

CHICAGO – “Mistress America” is a movie that works best in small doses. The film is chock-full of special moments, lines, and fragments of scenes, but it never really comes together as a cohesive film. I could see it easily taking on a second life once it hits streaming and YouTube.

Interview: Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke Discover ‘Mistress America’

CHICAGO – Greta Gerwig’s persona as a character actress has blossomed in the last three years, as she has taken on three women in their twenties at the crossroads of life, in that life decade of consequence. In addition to her title roles in “Lola Versus” and “Francis Ha,” her latest is “Mistress America,” which she also co-wrote.

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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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