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Film Review: As Comedy, ‘Table 19’ Only Serves Hor d’Oeuvres

CHICAGO – “Table 19” is an example of a movie that doesn’t try to do too much. It simply takes its little idea and lets it play out, without the forced subplots and desperate stabs of fake urgency so many studio comedies resort to – it’s one part aimless hang out comedy, one part rom-com.

Film News: 20th Chicago European Union Film Festival Opens at Gene Siskel Center on Mar. 3, 2017

20th Chicago European Union Film Festival

CHICAGO – From March 3rd to the 30th, the 20th Chicago European Union Film Festival (CEUFF) of 2017 will unfurl at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago. The Opening Night Film is from Malta – and their emerging film industry – and it’s entitled “20,000 Reasons,” directed by Jameson Cucciardi. For more information, including a complete schedule of films, click here.

Interview: Layne Marie Williams on Chicago ‘Women of the Now’ Event, Mar. 4, 2017

Women of the Now

CHICAGO – When we last talked to filmmaker and activist Layne Marie Williams, she was premiering her short work, “Dollface,” to universal acclaim. Besides her many upcoming film projects, Ms. Williams is also striking a blow for countering the negative aspects of the Donald Trump fear-mongering, with an event called “Women of the Now Presents: The Rise of the Femme Pyre.” This activist party and fundraiser will be at Camera Ambassador (Embassy Studios) within the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago on March 4th, 2017. For details and ticket information, click here.

Film Review: ‘The Shack’ is About Spirituality, Not Filmmaking

CHICAGO – To create spirituality from tragedy is like shooting the proverbial fish – a prominent symbol for Christianity – in a barrel. “The Shack” is based on a popular novel, and doesn’t try to do anything different or cinematic with a man encountering the Holy Trinity after a horrific incident.

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Remembers Bill Paxton

Bill Paxton, "Titanic"

LOS ANGELES – A shock occurred on Oscar Sunday when it was announced that popular actor Bill Paxton had died after complications during surgery. He had appeared in classic films like “The Terminator,” “Weird Science” “Aliens” “One False Move,” “True Lies,” “Apollo 13” and “Titanic,” and the HBO series “Big Love.” He was 61.

Film Review: ‘Logan’ Bares Its Sharp Claws & Eviscerates Us Emotionally

CHICAGO – There is a war raging in the comic book cinematic universe where filmmakers think that these kinds of films should embrace their over the top (verging on campy) nature while others think they should be darker and made deathly serious. “Logan” proves that they are both wrong as it strikes a balance between all of those elements while remaining true to the character.

Interview: Karen Thomson of ‘Literature For All of Us’ on Woman’s Club of Evanston Revue

Literature for All of Us

CHICAGO – The Woman’s Club of Evanston (WCE) generates a charitable vibe when putting together their annual stage show revues. Every year, the show is a benefit for a local organization, and this year the recipient is “Literature for All of Us,” a Chicago institution guided by Founder and Executive Director Karen Thomson. This 66th Revue of the WCE is suitably entitled “Reading Between the Lines,” and Opening Night is Friday, March 3rd, 2017, with additional shows on March 4th, 9th, 10th and 11th (all shows begin at 8pm). For ticket information and revue location, click here.

Interview: Shinobu Yaguchi of ‘Survival Family,’ Season 4 Opener at Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema

Shinobu Yaguchi, Asian Pop-Up Cinema

CHICAGO – The filmmaking community of Japan has given us many films dealing with the fallout of man’s modern interventions – usually in the form of giant creatures like Godzilla that reign terror on earth. But writer/director Shinobu Yaguchi is putting a different spin on this age-old theme. When an unusual event knocks out all electricity and electronic-powered devices, one group of kin must learn to keep going in “Survival Family.”

Film News: Freaky Oscar Ending Eclipses ‘Moonlight’ Win

CHICAGO – And the winner was… a wild and bizarre ending to the 89th Academy Awards, as Best Picture presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given a wrong envelope, resulting in a call of “La La Land” as top movie, but after an on-stage melee, it was further revealed that the Best Picture was actually “Moonlight.”

Film Feature: Top 20 Interviews of 2016, by Patrick McDonald

CHICAGO –To quote the sublime Bruce Springsteen, it’s just “talk, talk, talk ‘til you lose your patience.” Well, that ain’t HollywoodChicago.com’s Patrick McDonald, who throws down the über-interview on a series of movers, shakers and magical filmmakers. Oscar Day is perfect for the Top 20 talks of 2016.

Film News: Comcast & ABC-TV Announce ‘The Oscars’ Immersive Experience on Xfinity X1

X1 Oscar

CHICAGO – For the second year in a row, Comcast, ABC-TV and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences are partnering up for an “immersive” TV experience on The Oscars telecast. This year’s The Oscars experience will include more than 1500 hours of extra content, as well as live streams of backstage activity and the red carpet, interactive voice commands and enhanced extras – all on TV with Xfinity X1.

Interview: Filmmaker Lonnie Edwards to be Honored at ‘Hollywood on State’ in Chicago

Lonnie Edwards

CHICAGO – Tonight is the 89th Academy Awards, and Hollywood will honor their own in the annual lavish ceremony. In Chicago, there will be a similar celebration, as the Gene Siskel Film Center is throwing a “Hollywood on State” party, and honoring four local filmmakers at the event. Joining honorees Lori Felker, Jennifer Reeder and Michael Smith is filmmaker Lonnie Edwards, whose voice has made an impact ever since his awarding-winning debut in 2014, the short film “Parietal Guidance.”

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com’s 2017 Oscar Predictions

CHICAGO – When is comes to Academy Award predictions, HollywoodChicago.com is second to none. That’s right, nobody does it better, even the approximately 100 million other outlets predicting the Big Night awards. HC film critics Patrick McDonald, Michael “Spike” Walters and Jon Lennon Espino “correctly” predict the major categories.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Wiz, The

    CHICAGO – When stage theater can cause outbreaks of elation, celebration and joy, then it must be due to Kokandy Productions’ revival of “The Wiz.” The urban reinterpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” story – told through tuneful euphoria and jubilant dance – is ecstatically produced, in every morsel of its stagecraft.

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