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Interview, Audio: Kyle Mooney & Dave McCary Create ‘Brigsby Bear’

CHICAGO – “Live from New York, it’s a new generation of ‘Saturday Night Live’ movies!” Four guys from SNL… performers Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett, segment director Dave McCary, and producer/performer Andy Samberg all pitch in to create “Brigsby Bear,” the odd story of a man-boy who loves a TV show.

Interview: Tom Hiddleston, Director Marc Abraham on ‘I Saw the Light’

CHICAGO – The legacy of country music singer Hank Williams is embraced in every lonesome twang you hear in any song. The actor Tom Hiddleston (“Thor”) transcends his Loki roots to embody the 1950s songster in a way that is otherworldly, working from the script and direction of Marc Abraham.

Film Review: ‘Truth’ Exposes the Obstacles in Modern Journalism

CHICAGO – One of the indications of how the story depicted in “Truth” still resonates was that the CBS Network refused to show advertising for it. The film is a lesson in messing with true power – CBS News went after the ruthless Bush administration during an election year, and they went down.

Film Review: Mary Elizabeth Winstead is Emotionally Wrecked in ‘Smashed’

Smashed

CHICAGO – “Young Drunks in Love” could be the subtitle of the new film “Smashed,’ or maybe “Recovery Can’t Recover All.” Regardless, Mary Elizabeth Winstead gives a career-defining performance as a young adult facing up to that adulthood, and leaving behind everything she has known for a life that’s healthier, but less familiar.

Film Review: The Dog Days of Diane Keaton in ‘Darling Companion’

Darling Companion

CHICAGO – “If you want a friend in Washington,” Harry S. Truman once said, “get a dog.” The same can be said for the film industry, as they keep producing canine quandaries. Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Sam Shepard and Elisabeth Moss cozy up to their own ‘Darling Companion.’

Film Review: ‘Footnote’ Deserves Prominence With Great Storytelling

Footnote

CHICAGO – Answering the question, “Where are all the great film thrillers about Talumdic Studies?,” the awesome film “Footnote” considers that very subject, pitting the always complicated relationship between a father and son against an treasured academic prize. Even though it sounds starchy, it actually had more verve than most spy movies.

Film Review: ‘In Darkness’ Illuminates Another Horror of the Holocaust

In Darkness

CHICAGO – The subject of the Holocaust has become an entire film genre onto it’s own, embracing many different styles. The latest Holocaust film, “In Darkness,” feels like a disaster movie, and iconic Polish director Agnieszka Holland has steered it to a Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

Blu-ray Review: Woody Allen’s Exquisite, Romantic ‘Midnight in Paris’

Midnight in Paris

CHICAGO – At times, Woody Allen’s new film releases stink like an old glove, and thankfully there are times when they fit like an old glove. His latest is “Midnight in Paris,” just released on Blu-ray and DVD. This is classic romantic Woody, set in the City of Lights, and featuring Owen Wilson taking on the Allen persona. It’s also featured in my Top 10 Films of 2011.

Film Review: Strength of ‘Life, Above All’ Found in Khomotso Manyaka

Life, Above All 2

CHICAGO – As long as one person is inflicted with HIV, or full-blown AIDS, the crisis will never be averted, despite less of a profile in America and Europe. Africa is still in the midst of dealing with the epidemic, and Khomotso Manyaka portrays a symbol of that struggle in the enlightening “Life, Above All.”

Interviews: Oliver Schmitz, Khomotso Manyaka of ‘Life, Above All’

CHICAGO – The spectre of AIDS seems to have diminished, but the continent of Africa still has a huge problem fighting the disease. Director Oliver Schmitz (”Paris, Je T’Aime”) focuses his lens on this physical and cultural crisis in “Life, Above All.”

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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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