Jon Lennon Espino

Oscar Week: HollywoodChicago.com Predictions for 2019 Academy Awards

CHICAGO – Time to fill out the Oscar prediction ballots! The 91st Academy Awards are on Sunday, February 24th, 2019, and HC film critics Patrick McDonald, Michael “Spike” Walters and Jon Lennon Espino are ready to add their prognosticating powers to eight major categories, plus three wild cards. Let the predicting begin.

Oscar Week: Interview with Nominees Yalitza Aparicio & Marina de Tavira of ‘Roma’

ROMA Actors, Photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – One of the more pleasant surprises of the 2018 film year was the rise of the connectively expressive film “Roma,” written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Not only is it nominated for Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director at the 91st Academy Awards, but the two lead actresses – Yalitza Aparicio and Maria de Tavira – are nominated for Best Actress and Supporting Actress. Jon Lennon Espino, contributor at HollywoodChicago.com, interviewed both actresses last October at the 54th Chicago International Film Festival.

Podtalk: Director Jason Reitman Votes for ‘The Front Runner’

CHICAGO – The year 1988 marked a border crossing in the way that the media covered national candidates. Senator Gary Hart seemed destined for president, until a extramarital relationship with Donna Rice became the focus of media attention. Director Jason Reitman tells the story in a new film, “The Front Runner.”

Photo, Audio: ‘A Tribute to Carey Mulligan’ at the 54th Chicago International Film Festival

Carey Mulligan, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – She’s a memorable talent in a different age of movie stars. British-born Carey Mulligan has shown her talent for character roles, making her film debut with “Pride & Prejudice” in 2005, breaking out a year later with “An Education,” and taking on a number of parts as an American in “Drive,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Mudbound.” Her latest film is “Wildlife,” directed by Paul Dano.

Photo, Interviews: Red Carpet for ‘Roma’ at the 54th Chicago International Film Festival

ROMA Actors, Photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – One of the buzz films at the 54th Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF) is “Roma,” the latest from Academy Award winning director Alfonso Cuarón (“Gravity”). This personal and autobiographical film is winning kudos for its beauty and authenticity, as well as its setting in 1970s Mexico City. The film features Mexican actors Marina de Tavira and Yalitza Aparicio.

Film Feature: Best & Worst of 2018 So Far by HollywoodChicago.com

CHICAGO – The holiday hangover is fading with the heat and humility, so what better time to remind ourselves of the Best and Worst films of 2018 SO FAR! HollywoodChicago.com contributors – Patrick McDonald, Jon Espino and Spike Walters – offer the following reactions to those so-far cinema treats and threats.

Oscar Week: HollywoodChicago.com 2018 Oscar Predictions

CHICAGO – Time to fill out the Oscar prediction ballots! The 90th Academy Awards are on Sunday, March 4th, 2018, and HC film critics Patrick McDonald, Michael “Spike” Walters and Jon Lennon Espino are ready to add their prognosticating powers to all the major categories, plus three wild cards. Let the predicting begin.

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Remembers George A. Romero

CHICAGO – The man that practically invented the modern Zombie film genre had met his own demise. Director George A. Romero passed away on July 16th, 2017, in Los Angeles. He was 77. Romero launched a whole new wave of horror with “Night of the Living Dead” in 1968, and put Pittsburgh (PA) on the film location map.

Film Feature: Best & Worst of 2017 So Far by HollywoodChicago.com

CHICAGO – The 4th of July holiday is over and the second half of the year looms before us, so what better time than to assess 2017 so far, with the best and worst films of the first half of the year. The film critic contributors of HollywoodChicago.com – Patrick McDonald, Jon Espino and Spike Walters – offer up their choices for BEST and WORST.

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Remembers the Films of Director John G. Avildsen

John G. Avildsen

CHICAGO – His films were more popular than his name, but director John G. Avildsen did put his mark on the last 30 years of 20th Century movies. Avildsen died last week at the age of 81. He is known best for the Oscar Best Picture-winning “Rocky” (1976), but also did the controversial “Joe” (1970), “Save the Tiger” (1973, Best Actor Oscar for Jack Lemmon), John Belushi’s last film “Neighbors” (1981), “The Karate Kid” (1984), “Lean on Me” (1989) and “8 Seconds” (1994). Patrick McDonald, Spike Walters and Jon Espino of HollywoodChicago.com offer three essays on their Avildsen favorites.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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