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Podtalk: Lina Ramona Vitkauskas Presents ‘The Master Plan’ in Chicago on Nov. 14, 2017

Master Plan, The

CHICAGO – Poet and Activist Lina Ramona Vitkauskas is also a first generation Lithuanian-American. In keeping an eye on the situation in her homeland – part of the Baltic States that broke independently from the old Soviet Union – she discovered a new documentary about the Russian infiltration in the country’s political structure. “The Master Plan” breaks down the several-year campaign by Vladimir Putin to divide opinions and politics, to disrupt the region and confuse the recent independence. Sound familiar? A FREE screening of “The Master Plan” will take place on Tuesday, November 14th, 2017 (7pm) at the historic Music Box Theatre in Chicago.

Exclusive Portrait: Author & Actress Felicia Day in the Spotlight

Felicia Day, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – Familiar to video gamers everywhere with her web series “The Guild,” actress and author Felicia Day had a very busy 2016 with the release of her book, “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost).” Photographer Joe Arce of HollywoodChicago.com shot this Exclusive Portrait of Ms. Day in April of 2016.

Interview: Director David Farrier Finds No Mirth in ‘Tickled’

CHICAGO – In the underbelly of American society, if you dig deep enough, there is also an underbelly to the underbelly. When a New Zealand journalist named David Farrier goes to such depths, on a story about competitive tickling (yes, tickling people to laughing fits), he gets much more that he bargained for.

Film Review: Life in 2016 is Famous in ‘Presenting Princess Shaw’

CHICAGO – Had you told a person 50 years ago that someday we would be able to personally record television and broadcast it to the whole world, they might have laughed and said maybe on the futuristic cartoon “The Jetsons.” But the future is now, and it lives in “Presenting Princess Shaw.”

Interview: Samantha Montgomery of ‘Presenting Princess Shaw’

CHICAGO – There are show business stories, and then there are show business miracles. In the tech age we’re living through, the needle-in-a-haystack hope that a song, video or rant will go “viral” online is part of the experience. Singer Samantha Montgomery was one such singer, and her story is in “Presenting Princess Shaw.”

Film Review: Contemporary Society is Caught Online in ‘Disconnect’

Disconnect

CHICAGO – “Disconnect” is a punch in the gut, the backlash of our current technology, and a film that could have happened yesterday. It is a trenchant cautionary tale, warning us about the excesses of every blinking screen and “smart” device that supposedly is making our lives easier, but can just as easily become instruments of destructive. It is about how we live now.

Interview: Director Alison Klayman of ‘Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry’

Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry

CHICAGO – The behemoth that is China, in both population and world dominance, has its underbelly exposed through the new documentary, “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.” Written and directed by American expatriate Alison Klayman, this documentary of a famous Chinese artist named Ai Weiwei – whose dissident artistic expression woke up his fellow citizens and invited scrutiny from a angry government – is a one-of-a-kind story.

Interview: Director Ralf Schmerberg Wants to Solve the ‘Problema’

Problema

CHICAGO – Back in 2006, an unprecedented film project took place in Berlin, Germany, in the infamous Bebelplatz, a plaza that once hosted Nazi book burnings. The idea was to get 112 diverse individuals together to answer 100 questions. Their answers were processed by Ralf Schmerberg, the director of the resultant film, “Problema.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 3rd, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • 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).

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