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Film Review: ‘T2 Trainspotting’ is a Nostalgic Trip That Stays on the Rails

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CHICAGO – Sequels are the bane of film’s existence. They tend to end with unresolved plotlines in an attempt to promote the need for another film. Disappointing film franchises have been built this way, but Danny Boyle is the last person I would have expected this from. “T2 Trainspotting” is the sequel to “Trainspotting” that we never wanted but are surprisingly happy to have.

Film Review: ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ Won Some of the Battles But Lost the War

CHICAGO – War is an ugly part of our civilization, but it can be told beautifully. The complexities of battle are often dark and overwhelming, but inside of that there is also a light that reflects hope and love. “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” wants to show us both sides of the war, but despite the bright visuals it is still shrouded in problems.

Film Review: ‘When the Game Stands Tall’ a Sermonizing Snooze

CHICAGO – “When The Game Stands Tall” has more sermons than a month of Sundays. Its heart is in the right place, but it’s more likely to put its audience to sleep than bring it to its feet. By now the tropes of the inspirational sports drama have become as familiar as the West Coast Offense, but this film can’t effectively figure out how to execute them.

Film Review: Chaotic Comedy ‘Moms’ Night Out’ Has Wholesome Content, Toxic Attitude

Moms' Night Out

CHICAGO – Liberty is a concept expressed only in irony with “Moms’ Night Out,” a female-driven minivan comedy that instructs ultimately to listen to thy husband for it is Biblical, even if thy husband is a child himself. Like sad Mitt Romney and his chocolate milk, this PG-romp is a brief walk on the wild side from the rules that await at the end of the night.

Film Review: Spirituality Over Dogma Uplifts ‘Heaven Is for Real’

CHICAGO – It would be easy to dismiss “Heaven Is for Real,” given that it is based on the visions of the afterlife by a child, that just happens to coincide perfectly with Christian doctrine (Jesus, Angels, etc.). But there is more to this film in the sincerity of its spirituality, and it succeeds with that inspiration.

Interview: Greg Kinnear is Preaching in ‘Heaven Is for Real’

CHICAGO – The actor Greg Kinnear has been known for his neat and tidy image, but never has he portrayed a religious leader. His role as Todd Burpo – a pastor of a church and the father whose son believes “Heaven Is for Real” – brings the energy of spirituality to the movies just in time for the Easter holiday.

Film Review: Explosive Conclusion is the Fate for ‘Pompeii’

CHICAGO – For a film in which everyone knows the ending walking in, “Pompeii” creates a decent good-versus-evil precursor to the volcanic big bang, and enough sword and sandals style fight sequences to provide some action. It all comes down to an active volcano, in modern digital design and 3D.

Film Review: Tense Thriller Has Halle Berry Answering ‘The Call’

CHICAGO – “The Call” rises above the usual crime drama for a couple of reasons. First, it is a thriller that runs at a breakneck speed, using the driving culture of Los Angeles in a cat-and-mouse chase. Secondly, it symbolically emphasizes the plight of women, and honors their empowerment.

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  • 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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