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Film Review: Inflammatory ‘In the Fade’ is the State of Our Now

CHICAGO – In one of the more truthful and contemporary films of 2017, “In the Fade” is a German/French production about the fallout due to a terrorist act. What it also emphasizes is the generated hatred, frustration and waste of such acts, and its textual story is stunning and distressing.

Film Review: Heroics of ‘Dunkirk’ Portrayed Ardently & Humanely

CHICAGO – War is hell, even in “The Good War.” The early days of World War II were a desperate time for the British, and the events of “Dunkirk” were largely about loss, yet mostly about inspiration. Director Christopher Nolan gives his film a grand cinematic treatment, evoking an era that has mostly faded away.

Film Review: Joy of Life Expands When Meeting ‘Toni Erdmann’

Toni Erdmann

CHICAGO – If you need a little cinema therapy, it doesn’t get any better than “Toni Erdmann.” This subtle story builds to generate a joyful feeling, which defines the small-but-important survival guides for this thing called life. Writer/director Maren Ade has delivered the goods, and the film is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the upcoming Academy Awards.

Interview: Actor Craig Robinson, Director Chad Hartigan Reflect on ‘Morris From America’

CHICAGO – When a 13 year old African American teenager is suddenly put into the atmosphere of Germany – specifically Old Heidelberg – then a whole new adventure awaits for “Morris from America.” Craig Robinson (“The Office”) portrays the title character’s father, and the film is directed by Chad Hartigan.

Film News: 19th Chicago European Union Film Festival at Gene Siskel Center Through March 31, 2016

2016 Chicago Euro Film Fest

CHICAGO – Last week, one of the most diverse film festivals of the year in Chicago opened with the Swedish film “The Paradise Suite.” The 19th Annual Chicago European Union Film Fest will be at the Gene Siskel Film Center on State Street. With countries ranging from Austria to Slovakia, European cinema voices will be available to the Chicagoland area through March 31st, 2016.

Film Review: ‘Unfinished Business’ is an Unfunny Vocation

CHICAGO – Have you ever seen a film where they throw everything against a wall to see what sticks? The appropriately titled “Unfinished Business” is a throwing machine, taking the flimsy premise of a business trip and using it as an excuse for a splattering of jokes that mostly don’t work.

Interview: ‘Wolfskinder’ Director Rick Ostermann at 2013 Chicago International Film Festival

'Wolfskinder" Director Rick Ostermann

CHICAGO – “The world comes to Chicago” is the mantra of the 49th Chicago International Film Festival, and one of the notable international films was “Wolfskinder,” from Germany. The story of post World War II orphans, or ‘wolf’s children,” is an impressive feature debut by director Rick Ostermann.

Film Review: More is Preferred in ‘Love is All You Need’

Love Is All You Need

CHICAGO – Creating the lofty name for this film, “Love is All You Need” – from a translation of its original title, “Den skaldede friser” – is intently ambitious considering its source is a lyric from one of The Beatles most famous songs. The film has its moments, but cannot sustain itself in a stew of high drama and mixed emotions.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Holy Motors’ Realizes Sacred Cinema

Holy Motors

CHICAGO – One of the best movies of 2012 had monsters, action heroes, animation, heart-breaking drama, Christ imagery and a sense of redemption in all of what it conveyed. “Holy Motors” may have been ignored at Oscar time, but it’s destined to make an impact for cinema fans in generations to come, and was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 26th.

Interview: Iconic Director Wim Wenders Dances With ‘Pina’

CHICAGO – Wim Wenders has entertained audiences for over 40 years with his wide range of film subjects, both in narrative and documentary form. His latest film is the delicate and emotionally charged ‘Pina,’ an overview and exposition of his friend, the famous German choreographer Pina Bausch.

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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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