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Patrick McDonald

Podtalk: Director Brett Haley on Rhythms in ‘Hearts Beat Loud’

CHICAGO – There is no better Father’s Day present at the movies than director Brett Haley’s new film, “Hearts Beat Loud.” It’s the story of a single Dad, portrayed by Nick Offerman, dealing with his about-to-go-to-college daughter. The riff in the film is that they are also songwriters together, and that becomes a major conflict.

Video Interview: John Travolta on His New Role as ‘Gotti’

CHICAGO – John Travolta has fulfilled his career legacy of icon status, and he continues to work on projects that highlight his performance abilities. Fresh off his role as real-life Robert Shapiro in “The People Vs. O.J. Simpson,” Travolta takes on another historical figure in his portrayal of mobster John Gotti in the new film “Gotti.”

Theater News: ‘The Cher Show’ in Chicago, June 12, 2018

CHICAGO – Cherilyn Sarkisian… yes, that is her birth name… is the redoubtable Cher, and it’s perfect timing for her to have a jukebox musical tribute. “The Cher Show,” covering three eras/songs of the six-decade career of Cher, opens for a Chicago preview before its Broadway run, from June 12th through July 25th, 2018.

Podtalk: ‘Working in protest’ on Final Day of Chicago Underground Film Festival, June 10, 2018

Working in protest

CHICAGO – In the age of Donald Trump, the number of citizen protests have increased in size and scope. But what are the results of these gatherings and what does it really mean? A new documentary film by co-directors Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley entitled “Working in protest” uncovers a bit of unvarnished truth in these demonstrations, as it covers the protest years of 1987 through 2017. This is part of the final day of the 25th Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF), which includes the Closing Night film “FUTURE LANGUAGE: The Dimensions of VON LMO,” directed by Lori Felker.

Film Review: Toni Collette Discovers that Horror is ‘Hereditary’

CHICAGO – The classic horror/psychological films continue to chill our souls long after the experience of them. “Hereditary” uses a masterful performance by Toni Collette, and layers it with symbolic commentary and freaky scares to accomplish that lingering discomfort. After viewing it, the cluck of the tongue will never be the same.

Podtalk: Actor Blake Jenner Nurtures ‘American Animals’

Blake Jenner of AMERICAN ANIMALS

CHICAGO – One of the coolest-cat young actors is Blake Jenner. The versatile performer began his career on TV’s “Glee,” portraying Ryder Lynn. Since that time, three short years ago, he has broken out in a big way, landing in the ensemble cast of “Everybody Wants Some!!” and “The Edge of Seventeen.” His latest is a combination documentary/narrative film, the unusual and absorbing “American Animals.”

Feature: TCM Host Ben Mankiewicz on His Father & 50 Years After Robert F. Kennedy’s Death

Robert F. Kennedy

CHICAGO – It was 50 years ago today – June 6th, 1968 – that Robert F. Kennedy died, struck down by an assassin’s bullet while in California on the presidential campaign trail. His press secretary, Frank Mankiewicz, delivered the news to the media, emphasizing that RFK was only “42 years old.” Frank Mankiewicz was the father of Ben Mankiewicz, the current host of Turner Classic Movies (TCM).

Podtalk: Bryan Wendorf of the 25th Chicago Underground Film Festival, June 6-10, 2018

CHICAGO – Even though the definition of “underground” changes at lightning speed in the digital age, the perennial Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF) is presenting it’s 25th edition, and it grows in influence every year.

Podtalk: Noga Ashkenazi of ‘Saints Rest,’ at Midwest Independent Film Fest on June 5, 2018

Saints Rest

CHICAGO – Another new voice has emerged on the film scene, and she is ready for her close-up. The director and co-writer (with Tyson Stock) of “Saints Rest” is Noga Ashkenazi, a filmmaker who grew up in Tel Aviv (Israel), but studied at Grinnell College in Iowa. Her new film is set in Grinnell, and will make its Midwest Premiere at the Midwest Independent Film Festival in Chicago on Tuesday, June 5th, 2018. For more information, including ticket purchasing, click here.

Film Review: A Fashionable Life in ‘The Gospel According to André’

Gospel According to Andre, The

CHICAGO – He’s not a household name, but his influence has affected the closets of those households. André Leon Talley (“ALT”) is a New York City fashionista of the highest order, despite a background that would never predict that fate. But a person in the right place at the right time with the right work ethic can product magical results, and “The Gospel According to André” conjures that journey for Talley.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Not One Batu

    CHICAGO – The State of Hawaii may be one of the most misunderstood in America. Because of its reputation as a tourist mecca, the fact that native peoples live and work there like any other place is hard to imagine. Also unimaginable is the drug use of island residents, but playwright and Hawaiian native Hannah li-Epstein wrote about it in her stage play “Not One Batu,” now in its Premiere Chicago run at the Berger Park Coach House through July 28th, 2018. For more information, including tickets, click here.

  • Cher Show, The

    CHICAGO – Has anybody in show business had more “comebacks” than Cher… or if you added her many last names Cher Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman? All of the triumphs and downturns are shoehorned into “The Cher Show,” now in Chicago in a pre-Broadway run through July 15, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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