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Patrick McDonald

Film Review: Sofia Coppola Creates a Masterwork with ‘The Beguiled’

CHICAGO – The human-ness of being human never changes, fundamentally. The mating season arrives, and the effect makes for both great connections and bad decisions. Director Sofia Coppola emphasizes this in a reverent film production of the story called “The Beguiled.”

Slideshow: Laura Harrier of ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ at Film Preview in Chicago

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Laura Harrier portrays Liz in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming.’

CHICAGO – Chicago welcomed one of its own back home when Laura Harrier, who portrays the key role of Liz in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” appeared at a Chicago preview for the film on June 21st, 2017. Harrier lived in nearby Evanston, Illinois, and graduated from Evanston Township High School in 2008. The actress/model first gained notoriety in 2013, when she portrayed Destiny Evans in the reboot of the soap opera “One Life to Live.” Her appearance in “Spider-Man: Homecoming marks her major film debut.

Film Review: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Spins a Web of Fun

CHICAGO – Summer movies should be fun, and the superhero craze has Marvel Studios combining their adventures with a little joy. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” mostly contains that big high spirit, with Tom Holland portraying the title character with youthful zeal and energy.

Interview, Audio: Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon of ‘The Big Sick’

CHICAGO – One the hottest films to come out of the Sundance Film Festival in January was “The Big Sick,” which was written by Kumail Nanjiani (Dinesh in “Silicon Valley”) and his wife Emily V. Gordon. It is the based-on-truth story of the couple’s initial meeting, and the circumstances surrounding their early dating life.

Podcast Talk: Director James Choi on the Chicago Premiere of ‘Empty Space’ on July 1, 2017

Empty Spaces

CHICAGO – The combination of two different souls with two different problems – isolated in rural Illinois – was the story that director James Choi knew he wanted to produce as his next film project. So armed with a micro budget, a four man production crew and a cast of passionate actors, Choi created “Empty Space.” The film is making its Chicago premiere at the Windy City Film Festival on Saturday, July 1st, 2017.

Interview, Audio: Matthew Strauss, Video Services EVP at Comcast

Matt Strauss, Exec VP at Comcast

CHICAGO – It’s difficult to keep up with the choices for television these days, and what if it was your job? Matthew “Matt” Strauss of Comcast is Executive Vice President and General Manager of their Video Services, and oversees a division where innovation and technology has reinvented TV watching, and how it is delivered.

Film Review: ‘Baby Driver’ Runs on the Fast Track of Movieland

CHICAGO – While it may seem that we’ve seen this type of tough-guy robbery gang film before, “Baby Driver” lives in its own universe, that of the movieland of movies. It is rich in squealing tires, bang-bang guns synched to the soundtrack, and a mystery cool boy creating his own star-crossed romance.

Slideshow: Chicago Premiere for the Fourth Season of Starz Network’s ‘Power’

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J.R. Ramirez is Julio in ‘Power.’

CHICAGO – On Sunday (June 25th, 2017), the fourth season began for the popular Starz Network crime drama “Power,” which was created by Courtney A. Kemp and produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. The Sunday night broadcast was right on the heels of a special appearance of the cast at the Chicago premiere showcase on June 13th, which was co-presented by Starz and Xfinity. Cast members J.R. Ramirez, Rotimi Akinosho and Chicago’s own Joseph Siroka were at the event.

Slideshow: Chicago Red-Carpet Premiere of ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’

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Mark Wahlberg is Cade in ‘Transformers: The Last Knight.’

CHICAGO – The Windy City became the “transforming” city on June 20th, 2017, as the major cast members and director Michael Bay walked the Red Carpet for the premiere of their new film “Transformers: The Last Knight.” The special Red Carpet event was on a barge on the Chicago River, behind the legendary Civic Opera House. Mark Wahlberg, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel and Laura Haddock were among the cast members that were there.

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

  • Haroula Rose

    CHICAGO – The 2017 Tribeca Film Festival was not all about film. Besides showcasing Immersive and Virtual Reality programming, this edition of the festival opened up submissions from independent television pilot creators for the first time. One of the four finalists that were accepted to the “Tribeca: TV” portion of the festival was “Lost & Found,” created and directed by Haroula Rose, who is from the nearby Chicago suburb of Lincolnwood, Ill.

  • Adam West, LIFE Magazine

    CHICAGO – As they say about Adam West’s interpretation of Batman, “he hit so hard, that words describing the impact appeared out of thin air.” But there was more to him than just the superhero tights, as Patrick McDonald, Spike Walters and Jon Espino of HollywoodChicago.com remember the three main characters in the career of Adam West, who passed away last week.

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