CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.
LOS ANGELES – A shock occurred on Oscar Sunday when it was announced that popular actor Bill Paxton had died after complications during surgery. He had appeared in classic films like “The Terminator,” “Weird Science” “Aliens” “One False Move,” “True Lies,” “Apollo 13” and “Titanic,” and the HBO series “Big Love.” He was 61.
CHICAGO – When I screened “Inside Llewyn Davis” from the Coen Bros. before it was nominated for two Oscars and praised by critics everywhere, I beefed to myself: Who is this musician? Why does his story matter as compared to so many other real musicians who you never hear about but deserve that kind of spotlight?
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 25 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new music dramedy “Ricki and the Flash” starring Meryl Streep!
CHICAGO – Moviegoers allergic to copious amounts of talk will be hacking and wheezing minutes into “Swimming to Cambodia.” It’s a cinematically lensed 1987 recording of a show that consists entirely of actor/writer Spalding Gray sitting in a chair telling stories. He’s a vibrant presence and a brilliant wordsmith, but his mouth could literally talk one’s ear into a coma.
CHICAGO – CBS’s new Friday night drama “A Gifted Man” has the kind of cheesy plot designed to appeal to fans who miss “Highway to Heaven,” “Touched by an Angel,” or “The Ghost Whisperer”.
CHICAGO – I love Jonathan Demme’s “Something Wild” with such passion that I can recommend the new Criterion Collection edition of the underrated ’80s classic and yet still realize that it’s something of a disappointment. Criterion leads the way in Blu-ray and DVD in every way, but even they can release editions that seem a bit lackluster, and such is the case with “Something Wild.” Pick it up because the movie rules, but don’t get your hopes too high.
CHICAGO – The Talking Heads hold such an important place in the development of my musical taste (and director Jonathan Demme in my film taste), that I find it more difficult than usual to critically appraise the 25th Anniversary release of “Stop Making Sense” on Blu-Ray. Even with my personal love for everything related to the film aside, “Stop Making Sense” has held up remarkably well, still standing as one of the best concert films ever made.
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0
CHICAGO – When the HD revolution was announced, most hardcore movie fans had an instant wish list of titles that they dreamed about seeing in the next generation of video and audio.