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Patrick McDonald

Tepid Con Job Spoils Sexual Intrigue in ‘Deception’ With Ewan McGregor

CHICAGO – Despite its timid title, “Deception” has all the right ingredients for a decent tale of mystery: a strong premise, sound acting and the famous femme fatale. It even starts with a promising conviction: How does a background player in life deal with initiation into a secret society?

‘Deal’ is No Big Deal as Career of Burt Reynolds Fades Away

Shannon Elizabeth, Deal (1)

CHICAGO – Poor Burt Reynolds. As the No. 1 box-office star from 1978 to 1982, he revived his film career in 1997 with “Boogie Nights”. Since then, he has had the long, slow decline of “B” movies and bad remakes. Reynolds even tainted his own legacy by participating in the horrible 2005 redo of “The Longest Yard”.

Considering Sore Subject Matter of ‘Chapter 27,’ ‘Why?’ is Only Plausible Reaction

CHICAGO – As a contemporary of the John Lennon assassination in 1980 and an ardent admirer of the late Beatle, I had a hard time figuring out the reasons for making the film “Chapter 27”.

‘The Visitor’ Works Out America’s Demons Following Sept. 11, 2001

CHICAGO – “The Visitor” is a subtle film. Created by the unique talent of writer and director Thomas McCarthy – who also generated the equally subtle world of “The Station Agent” – this new work explores the nature of who belongs where.

Full Audio Interview: ‘Young@Heart’ Director Stephen Walker on Documentary’s Essence

Stephen Walker, Young@Heart

CHICAGO – Following up on our “Young@Heart” interviews in text form, we now publish our full audio interview with “Young@Heart” director Stephen Walker.

Interview: John, Brad Hennegan Project Passion For Ponies in ‘The First Saturday in May’

The First Saturday in May (1)

CHICAGO – What are you doing the first Saturday in May? Whether the answer is you’re watching the Kentucky Derby on its traditional date or if it’s anything else, the new film “The First Saturday in May” will satisfy both responses.

‘Zombie Strippers’ an Intentionally Killer ‘B’ Movie That Loves the Skin It’s In

Jenna Jameson, Zombie Strippers (1)

CHICAGO – As the title implies, “Zombie Strippers” has everything and more. How many films about strippers who are zombies also quote the bible and Friedrich Nietzsche? This film is loads of fun because it has loads of everything.

Interview: If You Should Survive to a Hundred and Five, You Can End Up ‘Young@Heart’

Bob Cilman, Young@Heart (7)

CHICAGO – At the base of its premise as a documentary, “Young@Heart” seems like a can’t-miss proposition. Take a senior-citizen choral group and have them sing rock ‘n’ roll. But what really emerges is an essence and poignancy that goes beyond the black and white of just singing the rock songs. As the “Grateful Dead” once sang: “In every silver lining there is a touch of grey.”

Interview: Boisterous Morgan Spurlock on Latest Film ‘Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?’

CHICAGO – Morgan Spurlock wants to change the world. The creator and filmmaker who took on fast-food giant McDonald’s in his first film (“Super Size Me”) is now taking on the current global war on terror and the image of the most wanted terrorist in his new film “Where in World is Osama Bin Laden?”

Ignoring Old Show-Business Rules, Rolling Stones Brightly ‘Shine a Light’

Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, Shine a Light (1)

CHICAGO – In The Beatles versus The Rolling Stones debate (which no one under 40 would have), I’m decidedly in the corner of the Fab Four. I do acknowledge, however, the sheer stamina and staying power of The Rolling Stones.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    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.

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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