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Film Review: The Tumbling Delicacy of Life in ‘Blindspotting’

Blindspotting

CHICAGO – How can we understand the day-to-day factors of men and women who continued to be judged by their skin color, economic circumstances, difficult jobs or gender fluidity, if we are not any of those categories? Our art can help us, as given a great example in the new film “Blindspotting.”

Podtalk: Co-Stars Daveed Diggs & Rafael Casal of ‘Blindspotting’

CHICAGO – If there are themes emerging in the 2018 film year, a couple of them are incorporated in Oakland, California, and African American identity. Like the recent “Black Panther” and “Sorry to Bother You,” the new film “Blindspotting” – written by and featuring Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal – involve those themes.

Interview, Audio: Sabaah Folayan & Damon Davis of ‘Whose Streets?’

CHICAGO – The historic 2014 street killing by law enforcement of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. – and the subsequent deflection by the police – continues to resonate. “Whose Streets?” is a new documentary about the incident and aftermath, and it marks the debut of co-directors Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis.

Film Review: ‘Detroit’ is Stark, Blunt & Honest U.S. History

CHICAGO – It has become clear to anyone who is making an observation about authority and “order” in America, that for certain people it comes with a severe price. “Detroit” explores an incident within the 1967 riots there, when white police officers raided a hotel and perpetuated crimes of their own.

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.

Film Review: ‘Let’s Be Cops’ Unoriginally Repeats Old Formulas

Let's Be Cops 3

CHICAGO – The premise is sound, but the new film “Let’s Be Cops” refuses to do something original with the premise of a couple of regular Joes pretending to be Johnny Law. The same stale jokes and inevitable need for heroic action climax overwhelms the mild amusement of it all.

Film Review: ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ Goes Straight for the Jugular

CHICAGO – “Deliver Us from Evil” is director Scott Derrickson’s second foray into possession horror. His first, the excellent “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” was taut, thoughtful and offered some truly unsettling demon scares.

Film Review: Uninspired ‘R.I.P.D.’ is a Reminder of Better Movies

R.I.P.D.

CHICAGO – Did everyone see “Men in Black”? Or the film’s two sequels? They you saw “R.I.P.D.,” which unfortunately for the production team has “rip” in the title, because the film is a lazy rewrite and rip-off of “MiB.” Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds are the protectors assigned in this one.

Film Review: Street Fight of ‘End of Watch’ Adds in Deep Emotion

CHICAGO – In the genre known as the cop movie, there are expectations. There will be street evil, informants, ride-alongs and camaraderie. What is surprising and welcome in “End of Watch” is how it takes all those elements and expands them with an emotional link between the cop partners, portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña .

Interview: Michael Peña, Director David Ayer of ‘End of Watch’

CHICAGO – The cop movie, an ongoing and speculative genre in both film and television, gets a welcome makeover in Director David Ayer’s “End of Watch.” This human story involves the lives of two Los Angeles police partners, and the street war that threaten to take those lives. Michael Peña turns in a soulful performance as one of those partners.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Everybody, Brown Paper Box Co

    CHICAGO – When is the last time a stage play, based in an intimate setting, made you think about your life, death, and the destiny inherent in both? “Everybody,” staged by Brown Paper Box Co. (BPBCo), is such a play, and the energetic aura and sense of surprise that the show contains is soul soothing wonder. The show has various evening/matinee performances at the Pride Arts Center in Chicago run through August 12, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Not One Batu

    CHICAGO – The State of Hawaii may be one of the most misunderstood in America. Because of its reputation as a tourist mecca, the fact that native peoples live and work there like any other place is hard to imagine. Also unimaginable is the drug use of island residents, but playwright and Hawaiian native Hannah li-Epstein wrote about it in her stage play “Not One Batu,” now in its Premiere Chicago run at the Berger Park Coach House through July 28th, 2018. For more information, including tickets, click here.

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