Patrick McDonald

Film Review: World War I Comes to Life in ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’

CHICAGO – The First World War took place (1914-18) in conjunction with the early days of film, with enough cameras available to actually capture it. For years, that dusty and silent celluloid was used in documentaries, but never has it come to life the way that director Peter Jackson presents it in “They Shall Not Grow Old.”

Film News: DePaul University’s Big Shoulders International Student Film Fest Honors Awardees

Big Shoulders International Film Festival

CHICAGO – For the second year, Chicago’s DePaul University, and their film school within the College of Computing and Digital Media, hosted the Big Shoulders International Film Festival. The event was a two day celebration, and honored student short films from all over the world. After a showcase with Director Qiu Yang and Cinematographer Constanze Schmitt (the 2017 Winner of the Cannes Film Film Festival Short Film Palme d’Or, “A Gentle Night”). on Friday, February 1st, 2019, the festival wrapped up on February 2nd with split screenings of their 21 finalist films at the historic Davis Theatre in Chicago. The top film awards were given after the screenings.

Film Review: A Boy’s Adventure in ‘The Kid Who Would Be King’

CHICAGO – The marketing of this film keeps mentioning the 1980s cult film ‘The Goonies,’ but this British based “school mates” adventure is rooted more in King Arthur and “The Sword in the Stone.” A boy’s grand adventure plays out with themes of what is at stake in a delightful “The Kid Who Would Be King.”

Theater News: Last Days of Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, thru Jan. 27, 2019

Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival 2019

CHICAGO – They’ve got the world on a string – and other forms of bringing inanimate objects to life – at the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, which is currently presenting shows all around the city through January 27th, 2019. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Film News: 2019 Oscar Nominations includes ‘Minding the Gap,’ by Chicago’s Kartemquin Films

CHICAGO – Chicago’s Kartemquin Films continues their winning streak, as director Bing Liu’s “Minding the Gap” scores an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary. The 91st Academy Awards will take place on February 24th, 2019.

Film Review: Too Much Wasted Time in M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Glass’

CHICAGO – Maybe inside filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan’s head, his latest film “Glass” works… all the elements of what we need to know about this sequel to MNS’s previous films “Split” and “Unbreakable” are within. However, what works inside the director’s head may not work for the audience, especially in the first half of the film.

Theater Review: Brown Paper Box Co’s Magnificent, Must-See ‘Little Women: The Musical’

Little Women: The Musical

CHICAGO – The story of “Little Women,” by Louisa May Alcott, has been an American institution since its publication in 1869. The story of four girls-to-little-women during the American Civil War, with their indomitable mother holding down the household while their father is away in the war, was a perfect candidate to become a Broadway musical. The Brown Paper Box Co. (BPBCo) is currently presenting a brilliant adaptation of that musical for the storefront stage, and its emotion, music craft and energy is nothing sort of a triumph… this small theater company that could does it again. The show has various evening/matinee performances at the The Strawdog Theatre in Chicago through February 9th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

Film News: Midwest Independent Film Fest ‘Best of the Midwest’ Best Feature is 'Cold War'

CHICAGO – On a cold day in January, it was a “Cold War” night. The Midwest Independent Film Festival “Best of the Midwest” (BMA) Awards for 2018 were given out on January 17th, 2019, and “Cold War” took home three major honors, including Best Feature.

Exclusive Photo: In Memoriam for Broadway Legend Carol Channing, Dead at 97

Carol Channing, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – Carol Channing was always, seemingly, full of sunshine. With her unique voice and “back row” Broadway singing chops, the eternal ingenue sparkled through a remarkable seven decade show business career. Ms. Channing died on January 15th, 2019, at the age of 97, at her home in Rancho Mirage, California.

Podtalk: Director Richard Yeagley Observes ‘The Sunday Sessions’

Sunday Sessions, The

CHICAGO – The film ”Boy Erased” was released in November, a star-studded “based on real events” memoir film about the topic of “gay conversion therapy” (the rejected-by-the-medical-world notion of using techniques to convert a gay individual to straight). Director Richard Yeagley has produced a documentary on the same subject, “The Sunday Sessions,” which has more authenticity because it’s completely real. One more screening of the film will take place on January 16th, 2019, part of Gene Siskel Film Center’s “Stranger Than Fiction” series. Click here for tickets and details.

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