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Film Review: Discover the 2017 Oscar Short Film Nominees

CHICAGO – One of the more overlooked set of nominees at Academy Awards time is two categories for Best Short Film – Live Action and Animated. The 2017 nominees are packaged as two presentations that are currently screening in Chicago at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema.

Film Review: Shining Restoration of Jean Cocteau’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Beauty and the Beast (Cocteau)

CHICAGO – One of the legendary films in cinema history is Jean Cocteau’s “La Belle et La Bete,” also known to generations as “Beauty and the Beast.” The restored re-release is touring the country, and in Chicago it’s currently at the Gene Siskel Film Center, and Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com will lead a discussion of the film there on Monday, April 11, 2016.

Film Review: Passion of Young French Love Fuels ‘My Golden Days’

CHICAGO – Feel like a French film? Well, “My Golden Days” is just the ticket. Full of existential romance, too many cigarettes, casual carnality and pathological regret, the story should come with its own beret and baguette.

Theater Review: Chicago Lyric Opera’s Energetic ‘Romeo and Juliet’

CHICAGO – The familiar story of the “star crossed lovers” by William Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet,” has been given as many interpretations over the years as there are stars in the sky. The Lyric Opera of Chicago presents the operatic French version, with a bright and venerate staging.

Film News: 51st Chicago International Film Festival Kicks Off with ‘Mia Madre’

Mia Madre

CHICAGO – The 2015 edition, the 51st Chicago International Film Festival, kicks off tonight on October 15th with a Red Carpet at 5:30pm, and film at 7pm. The premiere will be “Mia Madre” a Italian/French collaboration and a “movie about the movies” directed by Nanni Moretti. The festival will continue through October 29th, with a variety of cinematic treats and international offerings.

Interview: Félix de Givry, Sven Hansen-Løve Take the Journey to ‘Eden’

Eden

CHICAGO – When it comes to how dance music evolved in the last thirty years, there was a ground zero that was launched right here in Chicago. House music, or Garage House, were inspired beats that were mixed from a DJ source in front of the dancers, creating a brand new club scene. The late DJ Frankie Knuckles was one of the pioneers, and his legacy eventually reached Paris, where it was discovered and re-invented in fresh and different forms. A new film called “Eden” explores that phenomenon, and it features Félix de Givry as a Paris DJ in the 1990s and 2000s, based on the life of the co-writer of the film, Sven Hansen-Løve.

Film Review: ‘Million Dollar Arm’ Misses the Strike Zone

CHICAGO – “Million Dollar Arm” harkens back to a period of shameless family friendly schmaltz that used to play to families in theaters and then run in perpetuity on “The Wonderful World Of Disney” on television. But this treacly baseball drama throws nothing but balls.

Film Review: Life’s a Transition for Fanny Ardant in ‘Bright Days Ahead’

Bright Days Ahead

CHICAGO – We are victims of our own circumstances, says the old adage. We are also prone to transitions, some caused by decisions we make, others thrust upon us through life itself. In a fascinating new French film, Fanny Ardant embraces a character transforming through such circumstance, and trying to understand what aging means to her in “Bright Days Ahead.”

Film Review: ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ Expands a True Coupling

CHICAGO – Deliberate and passionate relationships – with all the initial upbeat highs and subsequent heart-breaking lows – may never get as deep a treatment as the winner of the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or, the challenging and expressive “Blue is the Warmest Color.”

Film Review: French Film Has a Bigger Chill in ‘Little White Lies’

Little White Lies

CHICAGO – The landmark ensemble film “The Big Chill” (1983) featured seven former college friends reuniting for the funeral of one of their own. The French film “Little White Lies” takes that concept a step further, as friends go on a yearly retreat without one of their own, because he is in the hospital. Francois Cluzet, Marion Cotillard and Jean Dujardin co-star.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    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.

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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