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Film Review: Awkward & Difficult is Played Out in ‘Eighth Grade’

Eighth Grade

CHICAGO – We’ve all been there. Depending on what school structure you lived through, everyone had issues in “Eighth Grade.” Writer/director Bo Burnham puts those universal issues in a modern context (social media, online video), and portrays them through a girl struggling to belong while navigating the choppy waters of adolescence. It’s difficult, awkward and representative.

Theater Review: Art’s Healing Power from Brown Paper Box Company’s ‘Everybody’

Everybody, Brown Paper Box Co

CHICAGO – When is the last time a stage play, based in an intimate setting, made you think about your life, death, and the destiny inherent in both? “Everybody,” staged by Brown Paper Box Co. (BPBCo), is such a play, and the energetic aura and sense of surprise that the show contains is soul soothing wonder. The show has various evening/matinee performances at the Pride Arts Center in Chicago run through August 12, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

Red-Carpet Voices: Patricia Clarkson for HBO’s ‘Sharp Objects’

CHICAGO – The HBO miniseries “Sharp Objects,” based on the novel by Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”), will broadcast its third episode on Sunday, July 22nd, 2018. It features Amy Adams in the lead role as Camille Preaker, and also features the incomparable and shining movie star Patricia Clarkson, as Camille’s disparaging mother Adora.

Film Review, Podtalk: Director Eugene Jarecki Crowns Elvis Presley ‘The King’

The King

CHICAGO – Elvis Presley, besides being one of the most famous entertainers of the 20th Century, does symbolize to an extent what can happen to icons when they turn towards certain directions in a career. Director Eugene Jarecki has created an amazing documentary about Elvis called “The King,” that uses his rise and decline as a symbol for the American Dream.

Film Review: The Tumbling Delicacy of Life in ‘Blindspotting’

Blindspotting

CHICAGO – How can we understand the day-to-day factors of men and women who continued to be judged by their skin color, economic circumstances, difficult jobs or gender fluidity, if we are not any of those categories? Our art can help us, as given a great example in the new film “Blindspotting.”

Film Review: ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ is a Bubbly Musical

CHICAGO – I give in. “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” the sequel to the much derided “Mamma Mia,” is a bubbly, frothy here-come-the-good-times musical that fits summer like a glove. The flashback format will also answer all the burning questions that were left unanswered from the first film, and the cast includes Cher!

Podtalk: Lonnie Edwards on ‘Now That We Have Your Attention,’ in Chicago on July 21, 2018

An Atramentous Mind

CHICAGO – Filmmaker and Artist Lonnie Edwards keeps evolving upward with his career, but also keeps honoring his Chicago roots and his fellow artists. Edwards, and director Layne Marie Williams of “Women of the Now,” have co-curated a special night of short films under the title umbrella “Now That We Have Your Attention.” The program will take place on July 21st, 2018 (7:30pm), at the new Chicago Filmmakers center. For details, the line-up of films and tickets, click here.

Podtalk: Co-Director Tommy Haines of ‘Saving Brinton,’ Opening in Chicago on July 20, 2018

Saving Brinton

CHICAGO – In the early years of film and filmmaking, from approximately 1890 through 1930, an astounding 75% of films produced are considered “lost,” with no surviving reels, never to be seen again. Recently, an Iowa man named Michael Zahs finally convinced the University of Iowa to research and archive the Frank Brinton Collection, a cache of early films that barnstormer Brinton would show all over Iowa in the 1890s, on through the early decades of the 20th Century. What was found in that Collection is the subject of “Saving Brinton,” co-directed by Tommy Haines and Andrew Sherburne.

Podtalk: Co-Stars Daveed Diggs & Rafael Casal of ‘Blindspotting’

CHICAGO – If there are themes emerging in the 2018 film year, a couple of them are incorporated in Oakland, California, and African American identity. Like the recent “Black Panther” and “Sorry to Bother You,” the new film “Blindspotting” – written by and featuring Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal – involve those themes.

Film Review: Excess & Dwayne Johnson is How ‘Skyscraper’ Works

CHICAGO – The Dwayne Johnson formula is what it is, as it seems for about three to five films a year. A disaster strikes, but the Johnson character has loved ones among the victims, and in his background (military, police, mercenary) there is enough expertise to rescue them. “Skyscraper” is the latest.

Podtalk: Josh Hope, Co-Director of the Windy City International Film Fest, July 12-15, 2018

2018 WCFF

CHICAGO – This is Year Two for the Windy City International Film Festival (WCFF) – from Thursday, July 12th to Sunday, July 15th, 2018 – and the festival that celebrates indie filmmaking both locally and internationally will have its screenings at Chicago’s historic Biograph Theater (2433 North Lincoln Avenue). Also for the second year, the festival is co-directed by Mindy Kay Parks and Josh Hope. For a complete weekend schedule, click here.

Film Feature: Best & Worst of 2018 So Far by HollywoodChicago.com

CHICAGO – The holiday hangover is fading with the heat and humility, so what better time to remind ourselves of the Best and Worst films of 2018 SO FAR! HollywoodChicago.com contributors – Patrick McDonald, Jon Espino and Spike Walters – offer the following reactions to those so-far cinema treats and threats.

Film Review: Pungent & Trippy Satire in ‘Sorry to Bother You’

CHICAGO – If the film “Get Out” was a shot across the bow in satirizing black and white skin relationships, then “Sorry to Bother You” is a freaking Tomahawk missile. It’s about the time, the space and the state of the human race, which comes to a crescendo of wild and untamed proportions.

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