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Patrick McDonald

Film Review: Keep Your Eye on Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Red Sparrow’

CHICAGO – It is movie star time for JLaw (Jennifer Lawrence) in ‘Red Sparrow,’ because her performance transcends the muddy plot, and her charisma – even with the lowest of low key characters – creates an interest in her thought process, even as she muddles through the story.

Interview: Voice Artist Rob Paulsen on ‘Pinky and the Brain,’ Mel Blanc and Podcasting

Rob Paulsen, PART Two

CHICAGO – If the words, “We’re Animaniacs…” immediately makes you think, “We have pay for play contracts…” then you’ll want to experience voiceover artist Rob Paulsen, the iconic character of Yakko on that series, as well as Pinky (“Pinky and The Brain”) and Donatello/Raphael (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”), among many other cartoon legends. Rob, with Animaniacs composer Randy Rogel, will be appearing in “Animaniacs Live!” at the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts in Grayslake, Ill., on Saturday, March 3rd, 2018 (click link below for details).

Oscar Week: ‘a Night with Oscar’ Benefit for Center on Halsted in Chicago on March 4, 2018

aNightfront.jpg

CHICAGO – Glamour, glitz, fun and the Academy Awards will be an event at the Park West in Chicago, as Comcast/NBCUniversal Presents “a Night with Oscar” on Sunday, March 4th, 2018, a benefit for Center on Halsted. The Academy Awards Viewing Party will feature a Live Red Carpet Arrival with Special Guests, Silent Auction/Raffle, Best Dressed Competition, and a full Open Bar/Buffet. For more information and link to tickets, click here.

Oscar Week: Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon of ‘The Big Sick’

Kumail & Emily V. of the 'The Big Sick'

CHICAGO – One of the surprise hits of 2017 was a film based on a true life courtship incident, that the now husband and wife – Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon – fashioned into a comedy. “The Big Sick” is nominated for Best Original Screenplay, and the duo behind it talked to HollywoodChicago.com last summer.

Film Review: Vigilante Overkill Defines Ultra-Violent ‘Death Wish’

CHICAGO – Man, talk about bad timing. With the Stoneman Douglas shootings still making news, America will now entertain itself with a vigilante doctor shooting anything he sees? Yeesh. Bruce Willis is game in the watchable-but-ultra-violent “Death Wish.”

Oscar Week: Gary Oldman is Winston Churchill in ‘Darkest Hour’

CHICAGO – He has been cleaning up in the preliminary awards so far in 2018, and he’s an odds-on favorite to take the Oscar for Best Actor on Sunday, March 4th. Veteran actor Gary Oldman donned make-up and found the right accent to portray Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour” (also nominated for the Best Picture).

Interview: Voice Artist Rob Paulsen on ‘Animaniacs Live!’ in Grayslake, Ill. on March 3, 2018

Rob Paulsen, "Animaniacs"

CHICAGO – If the words, “We’re Animaniacs…” immediately makes you think, “There’s baloney in our slacks…” then you’ll want to experience voiceover artist Rob Paulsen, the iconic character of Yakko on that series, as well as the voice of Pinky (“Pinky and The Brain”) and Donatello/Raphael (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”), among many other cartoon legends. Rob, with Animaniacs composer Randy Rogel, will be appearing in “Animaniacs Live!” at the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts in Grayslake, Ill., on Saturday, March 3rd, 2018 (click link below for details).

Oscar Week: Steve James on ‘Abacus: Small Enough to Jail’

CHICAGO – Oscar Week is upon us, and Chicago is represented with a nomination in the Best Documentary (Feature) category at the 90th Academy Awards on March 4th, 2018. “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail” is directed by Steve James of Chicago’s Kartemquin Films, and is one of five nominees for the prestigious award.

Film Review: Consider the Meaning of Life Force in ‘Annihilation’

CHICAGO – Alex Garland, the standout creator/director of “Ex Machina,” is back with “Annihilation,” another science fiction story. And like the previous film, it explores implications of a sci-fi event, in this case an outer space incident that restructures a cellular code, that ends up destructive.

Theater Review: Brown Paper Box Company Hosts a Monumental ‘Speech & Debate’

Speech & Debate (stage play)

CHICAGO – “Speech & Debate,” the latest production from the mighty Brown Paper Box Company, continues their tradition of thinking outside that “box” in presenting storefront theater that makes a statement and a difference. “Speech” goes inside America by showcasing the outsiders… those who create art because they can’t get it right in real life. This non-equity Chicago stage play premiere is finely tuned and wonderfully acted, and runs through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Jesus Christ Superstar, Lyric Opera

    CHICAGO – As a wee lad, I would often go into my parent’s record collection. One day, out of the blue, that brown double album with the gold embossed angels appeared, like a gift from the divine. “Jesus Christ Superstar” began as a record album “rock opera” in 1970, evolved to a Broadway show and film, and then was interpreted through a myriad of stage revivals over the years. The latest is an exciting piece of stagecraft at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The show has a various evening/matinee run through May 20th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Cornerstone, Nothing Without a Company

    CHICAGO – We all need some help. The stage play group Nothing Without a Company realizes that, and has collaborated with the organization “Cornerstone” to provide that assistance. Cornerstone is a seminar and a happening in downtown Chicago, facilitated by “experts” to generate your potential. The presentation has a Thursday-Sunday run at Michigan Avenue’s Artspace 8 through May 6th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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