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Film Review: No New Frights in Store for ‘Happy Death Day’

CHICAGO – “Happy Death Day” has a “Groundhog Day” gimmick, but that’s about it, offering essentially an ‘80’s style slasher flick with the hope that with a little cosmetic window dressing will help it appeal to an audience in 2017… Live, Die, Repeat. That’s all this film offers with precious few improvements to justify its existence.

Interview, Audio: Artistic Director Mimi Plauché on 53rd Chicago International Film Festival

CHICAGO – In May of this year, Cinema/Chicago – the parent organization of the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF) – announced that Mimi Plauché was the new Artistic Director of the Fest. She assumed the position that had formally been held by CIFF founder Michael Kutza, who continues as President and CEO.

Film Feature: 5 Ways to Love the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival

CHICAGO – They’re warming up the spotlights, and gathering up all the glam for the next two weeks. The 53rd Chicago International Film Festival opens on Thursday, October 12th, 2017, with the film “Marshall” (details below), and it’s time for movie lovers to come together in the Windy City.

Slideshow, Audio: Red-Carpet Portraits from The Second City Roast of George Wendt

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Honoree George Wendt gets ‘roasted.’ Norm!

CHICAGO – On September 9th, 2017, it seemed like the whole of The Second City theater on Wells Street in Chicago let out a collective cry of “NORM!” The favorite barfly of TV’s “Cheers,” George Wendt, came back to his old comedy stomping ground at The Second City to participate in “I Can’t Believe They Wendt There: The Roast of George Wendt.”

Film Review: Cautionary ‘Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House’

Mark Felt

CHICAGO – Everything old is new again, in the 1970s story of the infamous “Deep Throat” – the source in the FBI who tipped off the Washington Post about the issues surrounding Watergate scandal – who revealed himself in 2005. He is now the subject of a new film, and is portrayed by Liam Neeson, in “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House.”

Interview, Audio: John Carroll Lynch Directs an Elegy for Harry Dean Stanton in ‘Lucky’

Lucky

CHICAGO – He is a familiar character actor, having a long career with roles in TV and film as diverse as “Fargo,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “Gran Torino,” “The Americans.” and the recent “Jackie” and “The Founder.” He is actor John Carroll Lynch, and he has made his directorial debut in the wonderfully essential “Lucky,” whose title character is portrayed by Harry Dean Stanton. The film is a perfect elegy for the actor, who passed away last month at the age of 91.

Film Review: Thin Story a Contrast to Visuals of ‘Blade Runner 2049’

CHICAGO – It comes down to compelling an audience with a story riff that’s a hook. “Blade Runner 2049” doesn’t possess either the riff or the hook, but what it does do is create a dystopian world that is beautiful in its bleakness, and unsettlingly weird in its twists and turns.

Podtalk: Chicago’s Women of the Now Presents ‘Deities of the Divine’ on Oct. 7, 2017

Deities of the Divine

CHICAGO – The filmmaker/creative group known as Women of the Now are keen to present happenings in Chicago, decorating their events with installations and themed entertainment. Their next gathering, the last big bash of the year, will take place on Saturday, October 7th, 2017, at Camera Ambassador (details below) and is called “Deities of the Divine.”

Interviews: ‘Signature Move’ at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Oct. 3, 2017

Midwest Independent Film Festival Logo

CHICAGO – The Made-in-Chicago film “Signature Move” will have a Midwest festival premiere through a “first Tuesday” showcase at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on October 3rd, 2017, and it will take place at a different location, the Music Box Theatre in Chicago (usually the Festival is at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema). Lead Actor Fawzia Mizra, director Jennifer Reeder and other cast/crew members are all scheduled to attend.

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  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

  • Wonder Woman

    CHICAGO – There are few films in 2017 that are as historically important as they are cinematically well-crafted. Of those, there is only one I saw three times in theaters. That honor comes in the form of the revolutionary “Wonder Woman,” which not only shows huge promise for the future of DC Comics films but for comic book-based films as a whole.

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