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Patrick McDonald

Director M. Night Shyamalan Too Talky, Murky in ‘The Last Airbender’

CHICAGO – The choices that M. Night Shyamalan makes in the progress of his filmography have become as perplexing as his early mysteries. “The Last Airbender,” featuring Dev Patel from “Slumdog Millionaire,” is an adaptation of a previous animated series, and although aimed at kids in the end seems tentative and…aimless.

Slideshow: 21-Image Action Gallery of ‘The Last Airbender’

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Aang (Noah Ringer) Makes his Escape in The Last Airbender

CHICAGO – The ancient martial arts get a workout with M. Night Shyamalan’s live action version of the anime “The Last Airbender.” Featuring Dev Patel – the contestant in the Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire” – and Aasif Mandvi of “The Daily Show,” Airbender uses special effects and action to tell its story.

Slideshow: Joan Cusack Introduces ‘Toy Story’ Jessie Doll in Chicago

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Joan Cusack at the Disney Store, Chicago, June 16th, 2010

CHICAGO – “Toy Story 3” has held onto the top spot at the box office for two straight weekends, and Joan Cusack – the voice of Jessie in the film – lent her star power to the debut of the doll based on her character. She appeared at the Disney Store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and was photographed by HollywoodChicago.com’s Joe Arce.

Interview: BooBoo Stewart, Tinsel Korey Talk ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’

CHICAGO – The latest movie chapter of the The Twilight series juggernaut opens tomorrow, June 30th, with the release of “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.” The film stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, and includes cast members BooBoo Stewart (Seth Clearwater) and Tinsel Korey (Emily Young).

17th-Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival, Day Three: ‘American Jihadist’

"American Jihadist" at the Chicago Underground Film Festival

CHICAGO – What makes a person willing to kill and die for their religion? Day Three of the Chicago Underground Film Festival kicks off with a compelling documentary called “American Jihadist,” the story of Isa Abdullah Ali, a citizen of the USA who became an enemy of the state.

Theater Review: Our Sins, Joys Are Exposed in Rodez’s ‘The Big Funk’

"Big Funk, The" Rodez Productions

CHICAGO – There are moments of true clarity in John Patrick Shanley’s “The Big Funk,” presented by Rodez Productions at the Red Tape Theater in Chicago. Characters who find themselves trapped in a metaphoric morass work through the issues that bind them, and expose themselves to a bigger sense of life’s intention.

17th-Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival, Day Two: ‘Modus Operandi’

"Modus Operandi" at CUFF

CHICAGO – Day Two of the Chicago Underground Film Festival saves one of its most underground features for the appropriately late 10:30pm time slot. “Modus Operandi” is an indescribable James Bondage spoof (pun intended) that puts the “Be-Be-Be” in the bonnet of an underground B-Movie blast.

Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz Meet Cute in High-Octane ‘Knight and Day’

CHICAGO – Whenever there is a audacious and entertaining action thriller like “Knight and Day,” how do the characters stay so calm? Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise are shot at, nearly blown up, asked to drive and leap around like lunatics, yet remain perfectly white-toothed calm. A normal human reaction would be ‘Oh my gaaaaaaaaaawd!”

TV Review: Jason Lee Delivers Dead Elvis in ‘Memphis Beat’

CHICAGO – There have been TV cops in New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles and even Hawaii, 5-0, so it stands to reason that Memphis, Tennessee, would get its turn. Jason Lee (“My Name is Earl”) and Alfre Woodard are on the “Memphis Beat,” premiering June 22nd on the TNT Network.

Just for Laughs Chicago: Bob Odenkirk, Robert Smigel Are ‘Not Inappropriate’

Robert Smigel and Bob Odenkirk in "Just for Laughs Chicago"

CHICAGO – The just-opened Mayne Stage on Chicago’s north side was the setting for “The Not Inappropriate Show,” featuring comedians Bob Odenkirk and Robert Smigel. Both are in town as part of the TBS network’s “Just for Laughs Chicago,” playing through Saturday, June 19th.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 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.

  • Remember Me, Rita Moreno

    CHICAGO – Academy Award winner (in 1962!) Rita Moreno is in the midst of a big media comeback. The 86 year-old actress, who famously portrayed Anita in that Oscar-winning role in “West Side Story,” is in her second season of the “One Day at a Time” reboot on Netflix, and is featured in the indie film “Remember Me,” available now for download and Video On Demand.

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