PBS

Film Review: ‘The Chaperone’ is Excellent Lesson in 1920s Identity

The Chaperone

CHICAGO – Although mostly set in the early 1920s, “The Chaperone” has some pungent lessons regarding identity, and living life authentically. The story of former silent film star Louise Brooks and her first trip to New York City expresses both how we can live today and how they lived back then.

Film News: Lake Forest Academy’s ‘Global Generation’ Doc to Premiere on Oct. 22, 2018

Global Generation

CHICAGO – Lake Forest Academy, in the Chicagoland suburb of Lake Forest, Illinois, has made it policy to expand their educational philosophy, developing a high school curriculum centered on global citizenry. Two documentary producers – Mike Leonard and Mary Kay Wall – has created a documentary about the Academy’s perspective entitled “Global Generation.” The film will make its premiere at the Academy on Monday, October 22nd, 2018, and will air on WTTW-TV, Chicago’s PBS outlet, on October 25th, 26th and 27th. For more details and tickets, click here.

Interview: TV Travel Host Colleen Kelly at the ‘Travel & Adventure Show’ This Weekend in Chicagoland

Colleen Kelly, Family Travel with Colleen Kelly

CHICAGO – Colleen Kelly is a travel expert, given her success with the PBS TV show “Family Travel with Colleen Kelly” and her company Travel Film Productions. She will be a keynote speaker at the “Travel & Adventure Show” at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., January 23rd and 24th, 2016.

Film Review: Important History in ‘The Black Panthers: Vanguard of a Revolution’

Black Panthers, The: Vanguard

CHICAGO – If you want to experience the old cliché of “everything old is new again,” look no further than the excellent documentary, “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of a Revolution.” The formation of the famous 1960s political group is rooted in the same issues that came out of Ferguson and Baltimore – the marginalization and harassment of African Americans by law enforcement authority. Yes, the group’s techniques were questionable, but so was the use of tax payer money – through the FBI – to destroy the organization.

What to Watch: Feb. 18-24, 2014

The Americans

What an amazing week for TV fans. As if you didn’t have enough stacking to do with the new, brilliant season of “House of Cards” on Netflix, there are four other full seasons in this week’s What to Watch that you really should watch front to back. And then there’s the still-amazing “Darkman,” a cult classic that perfectly captures Sam Raimi’s skill at controlled chaos. Finally, we have two ’80s horror flicks in one set in “Bad Dreams” and “Visiting Hours.” Check ‘em all out (OK, you can skip the genre stinkers).

TV Review: ‘Mel Brooks: Make a Noise’ Captures Comedy Genius

CHICAGO – I’m a huge Mel Brooks fan, one of those critics who bows at the altar of arguably the two best comedies of all time, “Blazing Saddles” & “Young Frankenstein.” I’ve seen them both a dozen times and can’t wait to watch them again.

TV Review: Riveting ‘The Central Park Five’ Debuts on PBS

CHICAGO – Almost exactly 24 years ago (on April 19, 1989), Trisha Meili was raped and brutally assaulted in Central Park in New York City. Known in the press as “The Central Park Jogger,” she lay near death as the city let out a wail for justice. Five young men who had been in the park that night were arrested and sent to jail for a crime that they clearly did not commit.

Blu-ray Review: Ken Burns’ ‘The Dust Bowl’ Resonates Today

The Dust Bowl

CHICAGO – One of the greatest gifts that Ken Burns has as arguably our best working documentarian is his ability to take historical subjects and make them resonate to our lives today. “The Civil War” transports us back in time, making the lives of those people relate to our own. His amazing “The Central Park Five,” which opened last week in Chicago and was given 4-stars by Patrick McDonald, is playing in theaters and his PBS documentary “The Dust Bowl” was recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. Once again, Burns takes history and makes it present.

Interview: John Leguizamo Reflects on ‘Tales from a Ghetto Klown’ in PBS Doc

CHICAGO – From Toulouse-Lautrec in “Moulin Rouge” and Luigi in “Super Mario Bros.” to Sid in “Ice Age” and Chi-Chi in “To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar,” John Leguizamo has made a career out of playing a wide array of colorful and challenging roles. In 2010, the actor made a celebrated return to the stage and tackled his trickiest role to date: himself.

TV Review: Great Performance From Kenneth Branagh Anchors ‘Wallander’

CHICAGO – The great Kenneth Branagh delivers yet again with a new series of “Wallander” films on PBS under the banner of “Masterpiece: Mystery!,” starting tomorrow night, September 9, 2012. These are accomplished, adult tales of loss, guilt, and mystery that should satisfy viewers hooked by the first two “Wallander” runs previously aired on PBS.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Grace, Or the Art of Climbing

    CHICAGO – What is life but a constant climb? The Brown Paper Box Co., one of the most vital storefront theater groups in Chicago, asks that question and more in the significant “Grace, Or the Art of Climbing.” Using a woman’s journey through some difficult situations, the parallels of “the climb” become a artfully performed story that is all inspiration and uplift. The play runs through July 7th, 2019, at Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District in Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Elizabeth Laidlaw

    CHICAGO – The recent limited series “The Red Line” on CBS-TV was notable for a couple elements – it was set in Chicago and it featured Chicago actors in major roles. Creators Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss (from here), cast their Chi-town colleague Elizabeth Laidlaw, who portrayed police officer “Vic” Renna.

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