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Film Review: Glaring Lack of Originality Handicaps ‘The Bad Batch’

Bad Batch, The

CHICAGO – Dystopia has been dissed out. Mining the negative vibe future world can’t seem to touch the rich creative vein any more and the reserves seem dry. Writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour may have an element within her interpretation that is hard core, but it’s not enough to understand the overall vision of her tomorrow world, except that we’re all part of “The Bad Batch.”

Interview, Audio: Director Ana Lily Amirpour Stirs up ‘The Bad Batch’

CHICAGO – The dystopia – or negative future world – is a genre staple, from “Soylent Green” to “Max Max.” The latest film to ponder the possibilities is “The Bad Batch,” from writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour. This is her sophomore feature, after “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” and features Suki Waterhouse in the lead role.

Interview: John Michael is the One-Man Show in ‘Dementia Me’

CHICAGO – No one would call talented one-man-show artist John Michael conventional, at least if they are in their right mind. So ironically, after tackling sexually transmitted disease in his last solo performance, he takes on the vagrancies of old age and caring for elderly patients in his truly heartfelt “Dementia Me.”

Interview: John Michael Performs the One-Man ‘Order of the Penix’

John Michael & the Order of the Penix

CHICAGO – Occasionally we can be surprised through true wonder and serendipity. In August of 2015, John Michael – a Texas native and one-man-show artist – crushed out the funny at the Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins theater festival, by making his Chicago debut with “John Michael & the Order of the Penix.” For two consecutive upcoming Saturdays – Dec. 5th and 12th – he returns to the scene of his debut, the Mary-Arrchie Theater at Angel Island in Chicago, to perform the show once again.

Interview: Hitting the Links with the Collaborators of ‘The Squeeze’

CHICAGO – Golf and gambling go together like the 19th hole and tall tales. The green grass of the course isn’t the same without a little wagering, and the new film ‘The Squeeze’ – written and directed by Terry Jastrow – follows the game from small town America to the big stage of Las Vegas.

Film Review: Circumstances of Life, Truth Exist in ‘Boyhood’

CHICAGO – Life is made up of moments, as the philosophy of the new Richard Linklater film wants to convey. What formulates a person’s ideals and soul, born in a certain place and time? Over 12 years, the writer and director created a fictional family using the same actors in “Boyhood.”

Film Review: Tour de Force for Jack Black in Fact-Based ‘Bernie’

CHICAGO – Jack Black is a smart and interesting actor. Not content to ride on the modern day John Belushi-type roles that might have pigeonholed him, Black portrays “Bernie,” a convincing conniver in Texas, based on a true story. Veterans Matthew McConaughhey and Shirley MacLaine add spice to the brew.

TV Review: ‘Friday Night Lights’ Continues Stellar Storytelling

Friday Night Lights

CHICAGO – Why has a seemingly ordinary tale of an oil patch town in Texas and their high school football obsession conquered books, film and television? Because the folks telling the story continue a tradition of beautiful, significant truth.

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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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