Patrick McDonald

Entertainment News: Stan Lee, of Marvel Comic Fame, Dies at 95

LOS ANGELES – The last of the great comic book creators has flown to the beyond. Stan Lee, who led the resurgence of comic book culture – especially in the movies – created legendary superheroes for Marvel Comics, including Spider-Man, Hulk, Black Panther and X-Men. Lee passed away at age 95 in Los Angeles on November 12th, 2018.

Slideshow: Eric Idle & Bob Odenkirk for Idle’s New Book, ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’

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Eric Idle of ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.’

CHICAGO – When the “Say No More Squire” Guy meets “Better Call Saul,” you know a memorable night is ahead. Monty Python’s Flying Circus member Eric Idle has written a new memoir, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” and Bob Odenkirk (who portrays the title character in “Better Call Saul”) was the moderator for an event at North Central College in Naperville (Ill.), sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop.

Film Review: Story Spins Out of Reach for ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’

Girl in the Spider's Web, The

CHICAGO – There is nothing wrong with revisiting The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. That tattoo has made beaucoup bucks in book and film forms (both foreign language and Americanized versions), and Claire Foy taking over for Rooney Mara in the title role is seamless. So why the totally lackluster story? Is this a narrative source problem?

Film Review: He’s a Not-So-Mean-One in Remake of ‘The Grinch’

CHICAGO – They should have left well enough alone, didn’t anybody learn anything from the trainwreck of the Jim Carrey live-action-as-The-Grinch? Apparently not. A more kid friendly and modern animated version of “The Grinch” opens six weeks before Christmas, and already I want to return it.

Podtalk: Filmmaker Amy Scott Revitalizes Director Hal Ashby in Her New Documentary ‘Hal’

Hal

CHICAGO – The name Hal Ashby might not be as familiar to today’s film watchers, but the movies he made in the 1970s are considered classics… like “Harold and Maude,” “The Last Detail,” “Shampoo,” “Coming Home” and “Being There.” The short spark of his creative energy is profiled in a documentary by Amy Scott simply called “Hal.” The film opens at the Gene Siskel Film Center on November 9th, 2018. For details and ticket info, click here.

Podtalk: Joel Edgerton & Garrard Conley for ‘Boy Erased’

CHICAGO – In “Boy Erased,” the story is based on a memoir by Garrard Conley, about his experiences going through “gay conversion” therapy… that exists to change a gay person to a straight person. Director/actor Joel Edgerton adapted Conley’s book, and created a heart-breaking film of real American institutions that try to deny nature.

Podtalk: Exec Director Brent Kado of the 8th Chicago Comedy Film Festival, Nov. 9-11, 2018

2018 Chicago Comedy Film Festival

CHICAGO – It is time once again for Chicago to get its funny on, in the category of contemporary comedy films. The 8th Chicago Comedy Film Festival (CCFF) is from November 9th to 11th, 2018, and this year the Fest will be doing their primary screenings at Columbia College on South Wabash Avenue. For direct ticket information, click here.

Film News: Next Screening for Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema is ‘Dear Ex’ on Nov. 8th, 2018

Dear Ex

CHICAGO – Season Seven of Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema (APUC) continues on Thursday, November 8th, 2018, with “Dear Ex,” a story of duplicity and acceptance. The Taiwanese film will make its North American premiere at APUC, and includes an appearance by co-director Hsu Chih-yen.

Exclusive Photo: Tiffani Thiessen Invites Us to ‘Pull Up a Chair’

CHICAGO – Tiffani Thiessen’s career has been “cooking” lately, as she’s been hosting “Dinner at Tiffani’s” for the Cooking Channel and has a new recipe book out called “Pull Up a Chair.” The former “Saved by the Bell” and “Beverly Hills 90210” star recently appeared at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville (Illinois).

Film News: Advertising Community Shorts at Midwest Independent Film Festival, Nov. 6th, 2018

2018 Advertising Community Shorts

CHICAGO – The opportunity to showcase talent beyond day-to-day client work is one of the reasons the Advertising Community Shorts is one of the most popular “First Tuesdays” of the Midwest Independent Film Festival. On November 6th, 2018, ten short films will screen, selected by a jury of advertising professionals throughout Chicago. For more information about the jury, the event schedule and ticket info, click here.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Little Women: The Musical

    CHICAGO – The story of “Little Women,” by Louisa May Alcott, has been an American institution since its publication in 1869. The story of four girls-to-little-women during the American Civil War, with their indomitable mother holding down the household while their father is away in the war, was a perfect candidate to become a Broadway musical. The Brown Paper Box Co. (BPBCo) is currently presenting a brilliant adaptation of that musical for the storefront stage, and its emotion, music craft and energy is nothing sort of a triumph… this small theater company that could does it again. The show has various evening/matinee performances at the The Strawdog Theatre in Chicago through February 9th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Deadbeat2

    CHICAGO – Not many web series start out as music videos, but the new online (YouTube) drama “Deadbeat 2” was just that. Created, written and directed by Danny Froze, the made-in-Chicago story recently premiered episodes five and six in the series, which features actor Kiwaun Stoutmire in the lead role of Ronnie.

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