HollywoodChicago.com Arts & Entertainment News

Podtalk: Reflecting on ‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’

CHICAGO – San Francisco is dying. Not from blight or fault lines, but by the excess of new tech money that has been buying the city block by block. The diversity that made the town is also going away, and this circumstance is poignantly rendered in the new film “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.”

Film Review: ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ Feels More Like a Cat Nap Than Catnip

pets 2-1

CHICAGO – As a pet owner, I know firsthand that I want an exciting life for my guinea pigs. When I’m off at work, I’d like to think that they throw parties or have some sort of hangouts with other guinea pigs or pets in the area. The alternative being the sad realization that they are stuck in their cage while I’m away, probably bored out of their little minds. “The Secret Life of Pets” franchise continues to brings the fantasy to life, even if the sequel feels too tame.

Film Review: Boot This Reboot of ‘Men In Black International’

CHICAGO – “Men in Black International” is less a reboot than a frantic attempt at CPR for the once viable franchise … which never should have made it to a fourth installment. That’s not to say this is totally unwatchable. But it’s a kind of okay not-that-great-not-that-awful iteration which neither reminds us why we liked the series in the first place nor has much of a reason to exist.

Film News: Elevated Films Chicago Presents ‘Saint Frances’ on June 13th, 2019

Saint Frances

CHICAGO – After making its sensational opening night local debut at the Chicago Critics Film Festival in May, the film “Saint Frances” – directed by Alex Thompson and written by (also lead actor) Kelly O’Sullivan – will kick off the the fifth season of the Elevated Films Chicago series on Thursday, June 13th (7:30pm), at the Ace Hotel Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

Film News: Opening Night of 2019 Cinepocalypse in Chicago is ‘Verotika’ on June 13, 2019

2019 Cinepocalypse

CHICAGO – Genre films, those categories of movies that have specific themes – horror, thriller, comedy – but remain undefined in their unique qualities, is exactly what the Cinepocalypse Film Festival is all about. The week-long 2019 edition of the fest kicks off on Thursday, June 13th, at Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre with the World Premiere of “Verotika,” written and directed by Glenn Danzig, founder and vocalist of the legendary band Misfits. Danzig will appear on behalf of the film. For more information and tickets, click here.

Podtalk: Actor Elizabeth Laidlaw on ‘The Red Line’ and Beyond

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.

Podtalk: Nicole Brending’s ‘Dollhouse’ Closes the Chicago Underground Film Fest, June 9, 2019

2019 CUFF Dollhouse

CHICAGO – Closing Night is upon the 26th Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF), and a provocative film will bring down the curtain on the fest. “Dollhouse,” subtitled “The Eradication of Female Subjectivity from American Popular Culture,” will screen at 8:30pm on Sunday, June 9th, 2019, at the Logan Theatre in Chicago. Click here for details and tickets.

Theater Review: ‘Freeman’ at Chicago’s Physical Theater Festival is Must See Expressive Truth

Freeman

CHICAGO – We are a sick society, consumed with fear. But the greatest art comes out of that fear, and the Strictly Arts Company – visiting from Britain – assesses the sum of our phobias regarding race relations in “Freeman,” now at the Physical Theater Festival in Chicago. There are two more performances of this must-see expression, Friday, June 7th, and Saturday, June 8th, 2019, at Stage 773 in Chicago’s Belmont theater district. Click here for more details and tickets.

Podtalk: Filmmaker Frédéric Tceng on the Legacy of ‘Halston’

CHICAGO – Before there was Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, Tom Ford or even Miranda Priestly, there was “Halston.” Roy Halston Frowley was known only by that single name, and wore the celebrity fashion designer crown of the 1960s and ‘70s. Filmmaker Frédéric Tceng brings the icon back to life in “Halston.”

Film News: Opening Night of Chicago Underground Film Fest is ‘Empty Metal’ on June 5, 2019

2019 CUFF

CHICAGO – It’s alternative cinema in Chicago time, as the 26th Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF) kicks off on Wednesday, June 5th, 2019, and runs through Sunday, June 9th. The Opening Night film is “Empty Metal,” a “war movie without a war, a nightmare you’re ashamed to admit was actually a dream.” Screenings take place at The Logan Theatre in Chicago, and tickets – which include an after party – can be purchased by clicking here.

Film Review: ‘Dark Phoenix’ Rises Above Typical Comic Book Action

CHICAGO – Leave it to Marvel Entertainment to produce another “marvel-ous” take on their angst-ridden superhero characters. The latest X-Men film, called the last of this series, is “Dark Phoenix,” and it contains comic book action that is unprecedented for its originality and sheer power. It’s another winner.

Podtalk: ‘Dissidence’ at Midwest Independent Film Festival ‘Sci-Fi/Futurism,' June 4, 2019

Dissidence (2084)

CHICAGO – It’s Back to the Future for the Midwest Independent Film Festival on their First Tuesday in June. The Fest presents Sci-Fi and Futurism night on June 4th, highlighting four thematic short films. They will be “Dissidence (2084),” by filmmaker Matthew Brdlik; “Abi” by Timothy Troy; “Bodyman (Experience Required)” by Ryan R. Browne: and “Rubicon Road” by Ben Wolan. The festivities kick off at 6pm at Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Chicago, click here for details and tickets.

Film Review: Melodrama Mire in ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

CHICAGO – Everyone’s favorite city-flattening radioactive reptile, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” gets stuck in a mire of third-rate-TV-network domestic melodrama in this disappointing follow up to the thrilling 2014 reboot. But before I roar about the many ways this misbegotten miscreant messes up, let’s throw a few pebbles of praise.

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  • 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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