HollywoodChicago.com Arts & Entertainment News

Film Feature: The 10 Best Films of 2018, By Patrick McDonald

CHICAGO – With 2018 in the rear view mirror (finally), it’s time in this first week of 2019 to reflect on what was, with the 10 BEST FILMS of 2018… as selected by Patrick McDonald, the Über-Critic of HollywoodChicago.com. The list includes docs, animated films and even superheroes, along with the snooty film critic fare that’s always ripe for the watching.

Film Review: ‘Vice’ Proves It’s Okay to Laugh at Dick Cheney

CHICAGO – “Vice” is an occasionally very funny attempt to demystify the life and legacy of former Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney. Using some of the same gimmicks and narrative trickery he employed to great effect in “The Big Short,” writer/director Adam McKay goes deep into the weeds to try to explain how Cheney made it to the second highest office in the land.

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Remembers Penny Marshall

Penny Marshall, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – Penny Marshall was somewhat of an enigma, and admittedly not comfortable in the spotlight. The 1970s sitcom legend who evolved into a top American film director never seemed quite sure of her legacy, but she left behind a superior body of work that defined her as a filmmaker. Ms. Marshall died from complications due to diabetes on December 17th, 2018, at the age of 75.

Film Review: A Heroic Ruth Bader Ginsburg in ‘On the Basis of Sex’

CHICAGO – Many heroes of America toiled long behind the scenes to break the chains of oppression. For every Susan Anthony or Martin Luther King Jr. there were the activists, legal experts and volunteers who sought the justice denied to them by the archaic patriarchal society. One such hero is Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the film “On the Basis of Sex.”

Film Review: ‘Aquaman’ is a Watery Sleep with the Fishes

CHICAGO – The dripping sound of water you will hear this upcoming weekend will be the tears of DC Comics fans, as they cry from frustration over the latest cinema hit job on one of the Super-Friends. The tepid and overlong “Aquaman” is another hero movie that tries to combine origin story and “first case” adventure, and fails at both.

Film Review: You’ll Be Wild About Magical ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

CHICAGO – They did it. Walt Disney Studios took one of their most beloved live action/animated films and rebooted it for a new millennium. “Mary Poppins Returns” is a song-filled, emotional and magical celebration of all things Mary P, combining the elements that made it great the first time with the modern movie strengths of today.

Podtalk: Jerry Vasilatos Presents ‘Solstice’ at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre on Dec. 18, 2018

Solstice

CHICAGO – In a bit of a Christmas miracle, a film that was shot in Chicago in the early 1990s will see the light of screen again in the same theater – the historic Music Box Theatre – where a key scene was filmed. Writer/Director Jerry Vasilatos presents the 25th Anniversary restoration of his holiday film “Solstice” on December 18th, 2018, with a post screening Q&A moderated by Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com. For details and ticket info, click here.

Film Review: Multi-Dimensional ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

CHICAGO – This animated take on Spider-Man gets a little stuck in a web entirely of its own making. Digging deeper into the weeds of the extended mythology of the comics, “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” presents not one but at least seven different versions of the character.

Film Review: ‘Vox Lux’ is a Visually Stark Metaphor for a Lost Cause

CHICAGO – In the frozen emotional landscape of America, where mass shootings have become as regular as the sunrise, what better symbol for this madness is there than a pop star? Natalie Portman is that singer in “Vox Lux,” a victim and a perpetrator in the sin of mass death, and the soundtrack of gunfire.

Film News: HollywoodChicago.com to Host Q&A for ‘Wild Honey’ on Dec. 12, 2018

Wild Honey

CHICAGO – “Wild Honey” is a film of transition and redemption, and features a stellar cast anchored by veteran character actress Rusty Schwimmer.

Podtalk: Producer Stephanie Buxbaum on Her Adventures in Reality & Doc Series Television

Stephanie Buxbaum 3

CHICAGO – In the history of “Reality TV” there has been periods of up-and-down popularity, shows that have been around seemingly forever (“Big Brother,” “Amazing Race”) and spinoffs to new styles like “documentary series” as networks like the National Geographic Channel emerged. In all those permutations, producer Stephanie Buxbaum has experienced it all, and has the career and stories to prove it.

Film News: Chicago Film Critics Best Film of 2018 is ‘Roma’

CHICAGO – The personal, emotional essence of Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” – a memory film set in the Mexico City neighborhood in the early 1970s – took home the Best Picture honor at the 2018 Chicago Film Critics Association annual dinner. “Roma” also was honored as Best Foreign Film, Director, Cinematography and Editing.

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  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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