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Interview: Director Ben Wheatley Ignites His New Film ‘Free Fire’

CHICAGO – One of the more lovely examples of pure cinema – if that description can be given to a film with nearly constant gunplay – is in the upcoming release of “Free Fire.” Director Ben Wheatley (“High-Rise”) constructs a dark and funny scenario within one room, and fills it with symbolism and homage to other movies.

Interview: Larry Ziegelman on Chicago Web Series ‘Geek Lounge,’ Screening on Apr. 19, 2017

Larry Ziegelman, Director

CHICAGO – The idea was to combine the TV series nerd culture of “Silicon Valley” with the back-and-forth bar banter of “Cheers,” and creator/director Larry Ziegelman came up with a natural composite entitled “Geek Lounge.” The web series will have a sneak preview screening and party at the Holiday Club in Chicago, 7pm on April 19th, 2017 (details below).

Slideshow: Maddie Ziegler’s New Book ‘The Maddie Diaries’ in Chicagoland

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Maddie Ziegler promotes ‘The Maddie Diaries’ for Anderson’s Book Shop.

CHICAGO – Maddie Ziegler is a shooting star right now, included in Time Magazine’s “30 Most Influential Teens” in both 2015 and 2016. The dancer, model and actress first gained attention as a child on “Dance Moms” in 2011, and has ascended since then to social media and online fame, including her featured roles in five music videos by the pop artist Sia. She was in Naperville (Ill.) – in an appearance sponsored by Anderson’s Book Shop – to promote her book “The Maddie Diaries: A Memoir,’ which has become a New York Times Bestseller. And if that wasn’t enough, she will make her film debut this summer opposite Naomi Watts in “The Book of Henry.”

Interview: Jack Lowden & Ophelia Lovibond of ‘Tommy’s Honour’

CHICAGO – Combining the history of golf with a heartbreaking romance seems like a contradiction, but the new film “Tommy’s Honour” does it fluidly, in part because of the two young actors portraying the romance. Jack Lowden and Ophelia Lovibond are the actors who anchor the film, and also are breaking out as performers.

Film Review: ‘Their Finest’ is British Filmmaking at Its Finest

Their Finest

CHICAGO – In a combined BBC Films, Welsh Government and Pinewood (London) Pictures production, the British-based “Their Finest” pairs England’s history with authentic and passionate romance, to create a sly and funny riff on propaganda films and the British movie industry during the early days of World War II.

Film News: Asian Pop-Up Cinema Presents U.S. Premiere of ‘Norjmaa’ on Apr. 12, 2017

Norjmaa

CHICAGO – The fourth season of Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema series continues with the U.S. premiere of “Norjmaa” on Wednesday, April 12th, 2017, at the AMC River East Theatre in downtown Chicago. “Norjmaa” won the “Golden Rooster” – the Chinese Oscars – for Best “lower budget” Film. Tsogtbayer Namsrai of Mongol Films will appear on behalf of the film. For complete details and to purchase tickets, click here.

Podcast Interview: Anna & Hannah Ii-Epstein of Nothing Without a Company’s ‘The Kid Thing’

Anna & Hannah Ii-Epstein

CHICAGO – Proving that creating vibrant theater is a methodical step-by-step process, Anna and Hannah Ii-Epstein – of Nothing Without a Company theater troupe – have taken a ten-plus year journey to their latest production, “The Kid Thing.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger Mansion in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood through April 15, 2017. Details are below. In the following podcast, they talk about the origins of the company, and how they balance couplehood with creativity, among other topics.

Interviews: Honorees of Awards Night at the Chicago International Television Festival

2017 CIFF TV Awards

CHICAGO – It was an evening to honor the past, current and future brands in TV media at the 53rd Chicago International Television Awards Night on Thursday, March 23rd, 2017. TV advertising creator Joe Sedelmaier, WGN-TV Entertainment Reporter Dean Richards and Amazon Studios – represented by Development Executive Jill Arthur – were the individual honorees at the ceremony.

Entertainment News: ‘Mr. Warmth’ Don Rickles Dies at 90

Don Rickles

LOS ANGELES – With the flourish of trumpets in “The Bullfighter’s Song,” a pugnacious man would strut on stage and launch a volley of hilarious insults on some unsuspecting targets. That act was Don Rickles, whose show business nicknames included “The King of Zing,” “The Merchant of Venom” and the magnificently ironic “Mr. Warmth.” Rickles died in Los Angeles on April 6th, 2017. He was 90.

Film Review: Misguided Remake of ‘Going in Style’ is Just a Product

CHICAGO – In 1979, there was a beautifully understated film called “Going in Style,” taking on the issues of aging, loneliness and the forgotten senior citizens in society. Those issues have not altered in our modern society, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that with the 2017 remake of “Going in Style.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Downward Dog

    CHICAGO – From “Mr. Ed” to “Dog with a Blog,” talking animals have had their place on TV. The latest has origins as a web series, with the clever title “Downward Dog.” The show premieres on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 (9:30pEST/8:30pCST), on ABC TV, and features Ned the Dog as Martin, and human companions portrayed by Allison Tolman and Lucas Neff.

  • 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.

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