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Patrick McDonald

Podcast Talk: ‘Drifting Towards the Crescent’ Opens Chicago Underground Film Fest

Drifting Towards the Crescent

CHICAGO – The oldest underground film festival in U.S. cinema history is CUFF – the Chicago Underground Film Festival, celebrating its 24th edition. From Wednesday, May 31st to Sunday, June 4th, 2017, the radical fringe of the film world will unspool at the five day fest. The Opening Night film on May 31st, at the historic Logan Theatre in Chicago, is “Drifting Towards the Crescent,” a documentary from local filmmaker Laura Stewart.

Film Review: ‘Wonder Woman’ Creates Power with Social Justice

CHICAGO – There is a truth in the latest superhero epic, “Wonder Woman,” that is undeniable. The suppression of the power of woman in society, and denying the acceptance of all people – who just desire love – is the evil that can destroy the world. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman saves the day.

Podcast Talk: Full Spectrum Features ‘Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 3’ on May 30, 2017

Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 3

CHICAGO – One the top filmmaker organizations of Chicago is Full Spectrum Features. The non-profit production and exhibition collective has made their “Chicagoland Shorts” series (Vol. 1 & 2) a representation of diverse Windy City creativity, applying their mission statement of supporting minority, female and LGBTQ filmmakers in that mix. “Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 3” will have its World Premiere on May 30th, 2017, at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in downtown Chicago, as announced by the Program Director of Full Spectrum Features, Dane Haiken. The screening begins at 6pm, and is free and open to the public.

Interview: Loren Hammonds, Programmer of Immersive Films at Tribeca Film Festival

Loren Hammonds

CHICAGO – The future of story experience was on display at the recent 16th Tribeca Film Festival, and its popularity bodes well for the evolution of audience interaction. The “Virtual Arcade,” which was at the festival hub in the Tribeca neighborhood, featured Virtual Reality (VR), interactive storytelling and immersive experiences, which takes the participant into the world they once only watched. Loren Hammonds is the Programmer for these experiential works.

Exclusive Portraits: Remembering Gregg Allman, Who Dies at 69

SAVANNAH, GA – He survived a life of excess, musical triumph and celebrity coupling. Rocker Gregg Allman, one of the founding members of The Allman Brothers Band, died at his home in Georgia on May 27th, 2016. The influential innovator of the Southern rock sound and for a brief period, the husband of Cher, was 69 years old.

Exclusive Portraits, Audio: Ed Asner, TV Icon & Character Actor

CHICAGO – When Mary Tyler Moore passed away in January, it was another reminder of her groundbreaking 1970s TV series “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” One of her co-stars – who portrayed bossman Lou Grant, and made his own mark in TV and movies thereafter – was Ed Asner. The actor appeared at “The Hollywood Show.”

Podcast Talk: Rebecca Fons on Reopening the Iowa Theater in Winterset on May 25, 2017

Rebecca and Marianne Fons of the Iowa Theater

CHICAGO – When Rebecca Fons, the former Education Manager of the Chicago International Film Festival, was getting married to Jack C. Newell – a prominent Chicago film director – her mother Marianne told her something that would change the course of their lives. Fons’ hometown movie theater, the “Iowa,” was about to offered for sale. In the equivalent of the recent Matt Damon family film favorite, Rebecca and Marianne Fons was about to star in their version of “We Bought a Movie Theater.”

Film News: Roger Moore, Who Portrayed James Bond, Dies at 89

SWITZERLAND – Of all the breathless hype that comes with each new James Bond movie, the man who played Bond the longest (and in the most films) is often forgotten. Sir Roger Moore – he was knighted for his charity work – portrayed Bond from 1972 to 1985, and died in Switzerland on May 22, 2017. He was 89.

Film Review: Diane Lane Hits the Blacktop in ‘Paris Can Wait’

Paris Can Wait

CHICAGO – The cache of “Paris Can Wait” is what immediately makes it attractive. It’s Diane Lane road tripping through France on the way to Paris, guided by the script and direction of Eleanor Coppola, in her narrative film debut (at age 80!). Along the way there is food, seduction, incredible sights and Alec Baldwin. That formula was destined to work.

Podcast Talk: Asian Pop-Up Cinema Honors Hong Kong Pop & Film Legend Teddy Robin Kwan

Asian Pop Up Cinema 2017 Closing Night

CHICAGO – When The Beatles changed pop music forever in the early 1960s, they also launched a worldwide revolution of bands and songwriters. One such star was Teddy Robin Kwan, who founded Teddy Robin & the Playboys in Hong Kong, and rightly took the crown as “The King of Asian Pop.” And for his second act, the small-but-mighty Kwan became one of Hong Kong’s top film composers, as well as a director and actor of note. He was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Asian Pop-Up Cinema series Closing Night Gala in Chicago on May 11th, 2017.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

  • They're Playing Our Song

    CHICAGO – During the late disco era of the 1970s, an unusual musical opened on Broadway. Essentially a two person stage play, “They’re Playing Our Song” involved a songwriter and a lyricist who develop a stronger connection than just writing partners. The always passionate Brown Paper Box Co. of Chicago has unearthed this chestnut with a bright and fun revival at the Rivendell Theatre through August 20th, 2017.

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