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Jon Espino

Film Review: ‘Love, Simon’ is a Palatable Queer Film Entry That Leaves Us Wanting

CHICAGO – Anyone who has ever held a big secret knows that the weight of it is usually worse than the secret itself. The only thing worse than that is when the secret you’re holding back is your true self. “Love, Simon” explores the all-too-familiar, high school coming of age story, but with the added complication of coming to terms with your sexuality and identity.

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Remembers John Mahoney

CHICAGO – The actor John Mahoney, the son of Chicago that came here from England, died on February 4th, 2018 at his home in nearby Oak Park. He was 77. He had a varied career of stage and screen roles, but he is best remembered as Dad Martin Crane to sons Niles and “Frasier,” on that long running series.

Feature: HollywoodChicago.com’s Overrated & Worst Films of 2017

CHICAGO – Opinions are like certain orifices, everybody has one. The contributors to HollywoodChicago.com – Patrick McDonald, Jon Lennon Espino and Spike Walters – are no strangers to opinions on the film scene, so why not offer judgement on the most overrated and worst films of the year 2017.

Film Review: ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ Examines Our Violence

CHICAGO - Film is often an expression of our society, either as a depiction of how it really is or how it should be. Few films are as daring as Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” which isn’t afraid to show us the state of our society and offer a realistic solution through a grim drama that is as humorous as it is devastating.

Film Review: ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Shatters the Hammer, But Maintains the Mold

CHICAGO – Any blacksmith will tell you that their job is much more than the brute action of slamming a hammer onto steel. There is some finessing and an attention to detail that needs to take place in order to make something truly notable. With Taika Waititi manning the hammer, he takes the “Thor” franchise out from the Dark Ages and into the technicolor light.

Film Review: ‘Suburbicon’ is the Cinematic Equivalent of a Soccer Mom

CHICAGO – Having lived in both the suburbs and in major cities throughout my lifetime, I can say without hesitation that the suburbs tend to be dull, boring and bereft of creativity. To be fair, it’s not their fault since they’re built for efficiency and with placidity in mind. “Surburbicon” is made in much the same way, becoming the one thing a film shouldn’t be: boring.

Preview: Week Two Films at 53rd Chicago International Film Festival

CIFF 2017 Week Two

CHICAGO – The 53rd Chicago International Film Festival is winding down, with the closing night film set for Thursday, October 26th, 2017 (“The Shape of Water”). But there are still many films to go until the end, and Jon Lennon Espino and Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com preview some choices for week two.

Preview: Week-One Films at 53rd Chicago International Film Festival

CIFF 2017 Week One

CHICAGO – The 53rd Chicago International Film Festival has kicked off, and the first weekend has already unspooled. But what is coming up for the WEEK ONE as the Festival kicks into gear? HollywoodChicago.com’s Patrick McDonald and Jon Lennon Espino preview the films and events to put on your list.

Film Review: ‘Battle of the Sexes’ Parallels a Fight That’s Going on Today

battle main

CHICAGO – Since the time of early hominids, there has been a battle raging with your side being chosen before you’re even born. It all began when men claimed they were superior to women, forcing women to fight for the right at equality. Unfortunately, it remains as alive in the 70’s, when “Battle of the Sexes” takes place, as it is now.

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Remembers Harry Dean Stanton

CHICAGO – Harry Dean Stanton didn’t just act. He created a screen personality all of his own. The actor died last week at the age of 91, but with a 60-year career, there are a slew of highlights and shades of the man. Spike Walters, Patrick McDonald and Jon Espino of HollywoodChicago.com spotlight three films in his career.

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  • Speech & Debate (stage play)

    CHICAGO – “Speech & Debate,” the latest production from the mighty Brown Paper Box Company, continues their tradition of thinking outside that “box” in presenting storefront theater that makes a statement and a difference. “Speech” goes inside America by showcasing the outsiders… those who create art because they can’t get it right in real life. This non-equity Chicago stage play premiere is finely tuned and wonderfully acted, and runs through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • We're Gonna Be Okay

    CHICAGO – The 1960s were a time of historical social transition. The movements – civil rights, feminist, gay rights – all had roots in that tumultuous decade. The Chicago premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s “We’re Gonna Be Okay” echoes all of those movements in its characters, and collides them against the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the American Theater Company through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.


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