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Patrick McDonald

Theater Review: Brown Paper Box Co. Dances ‘The Baltimore Waltz’

Baltimore Waltz, The

CHICAGO – During the scourge of the AIDS epidemic, at its height in the late 1980s, a playwright lost her brother to the condition. Inspired by him, Paula Vogel wrote “The Baltimore Waltz,” a story about her and her brother’s travels through Europe – and filtered through the prism of fantasy and the movies. The Brown Paper Box Company presents a re-staging of the play in Chicago through February 19th, 2017.

Film Review: Matthew McConaughey is All That Glitters in ‘Gold’

CHICAGO – The relish that Matthew McConaughey displays in creating his latest character in “Gold,” a Willy Loman-type mining exec who is looking for his biggest score, is most of the reason to experience the film. However, there isn’t exactly a motherlode when it comes to the story.

Interview: Oriana Oppice of Women in Film Chicago & Their Open House on Jan. 26, 2017

WIFC logo, 2016

CHICAGO – Women in Film Chicago (WIFC) continues its role as one of the best resource and advocacy groups for women filmmakers and their supporters. The organization has roots to the 1970s, when the first WIFC group was formed in Los Angeles, and the Chicago chapter has experienced strong growth, both in numbers and what it offers to its membership. The WIFC will be celebrating all of this with their Open House, January 26th, 2017, at Columbia College in Chicago (details below).

Entertainment News: TV Icon Mary Tyler Moore Dies at 80

GREENWICH, CONN. – She was the ideal woman for two generations of TV viewers, first in the 1960s as wife Laura to comedy writer Rob Petrie on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” and then in the 1970s as feminist breakthrough Mary Richards on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Ms. Moore died on January 25, 2016, near her home in Greenwich, Conn. She was 80.

Film News: ‘La La Land’ Gets Record 14 Oscar Nominations for 2017

CHICAGO – The film musical “La La Land” received 14 nominations (including Best Picture), tying a record, as all nominees were announced for the 89th Academy Awards on January 24th, 2017. The rest of the Best Pictures nominees were “Arrival,” “Fences,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hell or High Water,” “Hidden Figures,’ “Lion,” “Manchester by the Sea” and “Moonlight.”

Entertainment News: Travel & Adventure Show Returns to Chicagoland on Jan. 21 & 22, 2017

Travel and Adventure Show, 2017

CHICAGO – Travel buffs and soulful adventurers will get a taste of the upcoming year in wanderlust at the Travel & Adventure Show, returning to Chicago on January 21st and 22nd, 2017, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. The show features leading destinations, local experts, celebrity travel speakers and vendors that highlight everything you need to get to those special destinations.

Exclusive Portrait: Hail to the Chief, a Tribute to President Barack Obama

Barack Obama, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – The year was 2006, and the photographer was Joe Arce of HollywoodChicago.com. The portrait subject was the future president of the United States, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. For the first time, on his last day in office, we publish this portrait of the 44th executive representative of America.

Film Review: ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ is Action as Phantasm

CHICAGO – The true miracle of “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” – besides constantly breaking the law of physics – was making the sonorous line readings of Vin Diesel almost palatable. This over-the-top action fantastic turns up every implausibility dial to the red zone, but satisfactorily entertains.

Film Review: Gravity of Poetic Dreams Carry Weight in ‘Paterson’

Paterson

CHICAGO – What is more ordinary than a man alone with his thoughts, and then applying those thoughts to paper in the form of poetry? “Paterson” is a celebration of such ritual, and other dreams in the working class. It never panders, it never makes the “hero” that heroic, but it does challenge him in an ordinary sense, to work it out as meaningful poetics.

Film Review: ‘Monster Trucks’ May Be One of the Weirdest Films Ever

Monster Trucks

CHICAGO – A four year old walks into a room with a great idea for a movie, and unfortunately his father is president of a “motion picture group.” Millions of dollars and four years later, this child’s idea became “Monster Trucks,” one of the strangest movies ever conceived.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Wiz, The

    CHICAGO – When stage theater can cause outbreaks of elation, celebration and joy, then it must be due to Kokandy Productions’ revival of “The Wiz.” The urban reinterpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” story – told through tuneful euphoria and jubilant dance – is ecstatically produced, in every morsel of its stagecraft.

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