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Patrick McDonald

Israeli Directorial Debut ‘The Band’s Visit’ Built on Series of Bittersweet, Exquisite Moments

CHICAGO – When we speak of conflicts between people or ideologies, there’s a tendency for broad categorization. Who are the liberals or the conservatives? What type of people make up the Israelis or Palestinians? Who are the people of color and who are white?

Skater Boy Culture Takes Center Stage in Cult Director Van Sant’s ‘Paranoid Park’

Paranoid Park (1)

CHICAGO – For “Paranoid Park,” cult director Gus Van Sant returns to high school, which is the setting of his previous chilling look into the Columbine incident in 2003’s “Elephant”. Though not as successful as “Elephant,” “Paranoid Park” evokes a dream-like meditation on the trials and extreme tribulations of a skateboarding teenage boy trying to find his way.

With Surreal Madness, Strange Boys Play ‘Funny Games’

CHICAGO – Imagine a film with no redeeming or uplifting emotional qualities with evil that tortures the soul, squirm-inducing narrative elements and a relentless anxiety that practically has us – like the characters in the film – screaming for mercy. Imagine also that this film is excellent.

Interview: Chris Cooper, Director Ira Sachs Marry Blissfully in ‘Married Life’

CHICAGO – Sitting down with Oscar-winning actor Chris Cooper and Ira Sachs – the director of Cooper’s latest film, “Married Life,” which opened on March 14, 2008 in Chicago – is to marvel at the passion and commitment these two high-level professionals bring to this entertaining, poignant and hilarious new film.

‘Sleepwalking’ Has Exactly That Potential Effect on Moviegoers

CHICAGO – When done improperly, there’s nothing more embarrassing than actors playing against their type or social class. There is a subtlety to channeling the lower middle or the working class beyond dressing down or developing a bad hairstyle. “Sleepwalking” is the type of film that gets it wrong and just gets worse as it tries harder.

Filled With Political Blackmail, ‘The Bank Job’ Pays Dividends

CHICAGO – Done properly, the classic heist or caper film is a welcomed genre of suspense-filled locations, stereotyped experts and the big cash payoff. Based in speculative part on the true story of a robbery in a vital London safety deposit vault, “The Bank Job” adds the spice of political intrigue as an underlying factor to the actual crime.

‘Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day’ as Rare as Boobs Without Silicone in Hollywood

CHICAGO – Character comedies that actually have some depth and fun are as rare as boobs without silicone in Hollywood. “Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day” reaches these heights with a sensibility of an old studio picture with stylized glamour, lovable rogues and at the center the great Frances McDormand as the title character taking a chance in 24 sparkling and event-filled hours.

‘The Signal’ Sports Plenty of Style, Little Substance in Sci-Fi Twist on Torture Porn

CHICAGO – In the last several years, the horror genre has become hot because of its return on investment. The strategy is to market the hell out of the scare factor, get a good opening weekend (which usually takes care of the filming costs several times over) and make sure the blood spatters well. There is no need for pricey star power because the “star” is always the quality kills.

Horror Master George A. Romero Reveals Veteran Zombie Lock in ‘Diary of the Dead’

CHICAGO – Master horror filmmaker George A. Romero is back for the fifth installment of his “Dead” series as what began with 1968’s “Night of the Living Dead” has fast-forwarded to “Diary of the Dead”. This time, Romero takes on the modern soul deadening of staring at screens and includes the constant navel gazing of videotaping, computers and the instant playback that has become our lives.

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  • Cornerstone, Nothing Without a Company

    CHICAGO – We all need some help. The stage play group Nothing Without a Company realizes that, and has collaborated with the organization “Cornerstone” to provide that assistance. Cornerstone is a seminar and a happening in downtown Chicago, facilitated by “experts” to generate your potential. The presentation has a Thursday-Sunday run at Michigan Avenue’s Artspace 8 through April 29th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Cold War

    CHICAGO – Local filmmaking is thriving, thanks to the many creators who choose to make independent movies in Chicago. Co-directors Stirling McLaughlin and J. Wilder Konschak (also writer) brought their cast and crew to the Windy City to make their comedy, “Cold War.” The film made its digital debut on April 6th, 2018, and will be available on iTunes, Google Play, FandangoNow, Amazon, Vudu and more.

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