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Patrick McDonald

Interview: Mike McNamara of the Midwest Independent Film Festival Talks About 2009

CHICAGO – Every month, on the first Tuesday, one of the most unique ongoing film festivals in the country takes place right here in Chicago. The Midwest Independent Film Festival, now in its fifth year, showcases feature films and shorts with an angle exclusively celebrating the Midwestern filmmaker.

Interviews With 2009 Oscar Nominees: Melissa Leo, Richard Jenkins, Taraji P. Henson

Melissa Leo in Chicago, Frozen River (6)

CHICAGO – In 2008, HollywoodChicago.com was lucky enough to speak to several of of this year’s lucky Oscar nominees, including Melissa Leo of “Frozen River,” Richard Jenkins of “The Visitor,” Taraji P. Henson of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” and Darren Aronofsky of “The Wrestler,” who may have missed out Best Director but saw his two stars, Marisa Tomei and Mickey Rourke, land major nominations.

2008 in Review: The Top 5 Film Interviews of HollywoodChicago.com

CHICAGO – After participating in close to 25 interviews in 2008 for HollywoodChicago.com, the mechanics of each sit down are interestingly similar. The reporters gather at a pre-determined spot (usually a Chicago downtown hotel).

Interview: ‘The Wrestler’ Director Darren Aronofsky on Mickey Rourke’s Comeback

CHICAGO – In his excellent new film “The Wrestler,” director Darren Aronofsky brings back the heyday and underbelly of the 1980s professional wrestling world in the character of Randy “The Ram” Robinson.

Robert De Niro, Director Barry Levinson Wade Through Hollywood’s Mud in ‘What Just Happened?’

Bruce Willis in What Just Happened?

CHICAGO – In his long and distinguished career, Robert De Niro has probably seen it all when it comes to Hollywood excesses and quagmires. Given that experience, he seems the perfect choice to portray an aging film producer and power broker whose influence is on the decline.

Interview: British Cult Star Simon Pegg is Fish Out of Water in ‘How to Lose Friends & Alienate People’

CHICAGO – Simon Pegg (the British cult hero of “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz”) was welcomed to a Chicago hotel where his press event was taking place with personalized water bottles that sported his face.

Interview: Writer, Director Neil Burger Follows Iraq Soldiers on Leave in ‘The Lucky Ones’

CHICAGO – In his short career as a writer and director, Neil Burger has taken on the John F. Kennedy assassination in “Interview with the Assassin” and the mysteries of magic in “The Illusionist,” which starred Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti and Jessica Biel.

Paul Newman Dies at 83 as a Cool Hand Who’s Cooler Than You, Me

CHICAGO – He was cooler than you. He was cooler than me. He was Cool Hand Luke. Paul Newman – an activist, philanthropist, race car driver and one of the most legendary movie stars of the post studio system era – died on Friday of cancer at his farmhouse near Westport, Conn.

Interview: Sam Rockwell Masters Addiction, Redemption in ‘Choke’

CHICAGO – Interviewing actor Sam Rockwell is like experiencing him in one of his many excellent characters. He has been Chuck Barris in “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” “Wild Bill” Wharton in “The Green Mile” and even Guy Fleegman in “Galaxy Quest”. He’s a true performer with a passion that bleeds through in “Choke,” which is his latest film.

Interview: ‘Lakeview Terrace’ Director Neil LaBute Fans Flames of Human Relations in Incendiary Film

CHICAGO – Already an important and controversial American playwright, Neil LaBute is looking to make the same individual mark as a director in films. His most recent effort is “Lakeview Terrace” with Samuel L. Jackson. It’s an incisive and poignant meditation on race, class and gender relations in America.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

  • They're Playing Our Song

    CHICAGO – During the late disco era of the 1970s, an unusual musical opened on Broadway. Essentially a two person stage play, “They’re Playing Our Song” involved a songwriter and a lyricist who develop a stronger connection than just writing partners. The always passionate Brown Paper Box Co. of Chicago has unearthed this chestnut with a bright and fun revival at the Rivendell Theatre through August 20th, 2017.

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