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Film Review: Tom Cruise in ‘American Made’ Never Gets Off the Ground

CHICAGO – Tom Cruise was once a Top Gun, but his newest film “American Made” never really takes off. It wants to be a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction kind of satire where commercial airline pilot Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) winds up getting involved in the Iran Contra Affair and the Medellín drug cartel, but it never creates an enthralling place or story.

Podtalk: Actor Fawzia Mirza on Premiere of ‘Signature Move’

CHICAGO – Made-in-Chicago filmmaking gets the big spotlight at the Music Box Theatre on Friday, September 29th, 2017, as “Signature Move” premieres with a Red Carpet event. Walking that carpet will be the female lead, Fawzia Mirza, who portrays a closeted gay Pakistani woman negotiating love and wrestling moves.

Entertainment News: Playboy Founder Hugh Hefner Dies at 91

LOS ANGELES – Hugh Hefner was the man who turned the key to the sexual revolution when he founded Playboy Magazine in 1953. What started in an apartment in Chicago became a worldwide empire as the Playboy brand and image was embedded into American consciousness. Hefner died on Sept. 27, 2017. He was 91.

Film News: REELING, Chicago’s LGBTQ+ Film Fest, Closes With ‘Saturday Church’ on Sep. 28, 2017

Reeling17 Logo

CHICAGOREELING (Reeling17), Chicago’s LGBTQ+ International Film Festival in America, closes its 35th edition in Chicago at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema on Thursday, September 28th (details below). Closing Night will feature an unique film called “Sunday Church,” featuring Luka Kain, Margot Bingham and Regina Taylor and written/directed by Damon Cardasis – his debut film.

Blu-ray Review: Goofy ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ is Worth a Look

Transformers 5 front

CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

Film Review: Ben Stiller in Character For Thoughtful ‘Brad’s Status’

CHICAGO – Everyone comes to the point when they question their choices, their life and their truth. This concept is filtered through Ben Stiller in Brad’s Status, portraying a Dad taking his son for college visits, analyzing his life through the boy, his friends, plus his own angst and fears.

Film Review: Jake Gyllenhaal Turns Up His Power in ‘Stronger’

CHICAGO – The second major film about the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing (after last year’s “Patriots Day”) is “Stronger,” and it wisely focuses on one individual rather than the bigger event. Jake Gyllenhaal portrays Jeff Bauman, a spectator near the explosion that lost both his legs.

Film Review: ‘Battle of the Sexes’ Parallels a Fight That’s Going on Today

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CHICAGO – Since the time of early hominids, there has been a battle raging with your side being chosen before you’re even born. It all began when men claimed they were superior to women, forcing women to fight for the right at equality. Unfortunately, it remains as alive in the 70’s, when “Battle of the Sexes” takes place, as it is now.

Film Review: ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ is High-Flying Spy Fun

CHICAGO – “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is a hard “R”-rated sequel with a thoroughly juvenile soul. It pairs silly wordplay, dirty jokes and a startling amount of bloody and gratuitous violence while its tongue remains thoroughly in cheek. This is a James Bond movie as made by an unusually sadistic 16-year-old under the influence of some not entirely legal substances.

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Remembers Harry Dean Stanton

CHICAGO – Harry Dean Stanton didn’t just act. He created a screen personality all of his own. The actor died last week at the age of 91, but with a 60-year career, there are a slew of highlights and shades of the man. Spike Walters, Patrick McDonald and Jon Espino of HollywoodChicago.com spotlight three films in his career.

Film News: REELING, Chicago’s LGBTQ+ Film Fest, Opens With ‘Hello Again’ on Sep. 21, 2017

Reeling17 Logo

CHICAGO – The second-oldest LGBTQ+ international film festival in America, REELING (Reeling17), launches its 35th edition in Chicago at the historic Music Box Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017. The opening-night film will be the musical “Hello Again” with appearances by featured cast members Tyler Blackburn (“Pretty Little Liars”) and Jenna Ushkowitz (“Glee”) along with director Tom Gustafson and screenwriter Cory Krueckeberg.

Interview, Audio: Director Mei-Juin Chen of ‘The Gangster’s Daughter’

Mei-Juin Chen

CHICAGO – Opening Night of the fifth season of the Asian Pop-Up Cinema is Wednesday, September 20th, 2017, and the first film is a doozy. “The Gangster’s Daughter” is a different take on the popular Taiwanese mobster movie, a relationship film as much as the pure crime. At the helm is director Mei-Juin Chen, with her first narrative film.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 3rd, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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