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Film Review: Final Chapter of ’Fifty Shades Freed’ for Masochists Only

CHICAGO – Only masochists and other gluttons for punishment will be heading to the theaters for “Fifty Shades Freed.” But be sure to grab a blindfold, because you can at least get 40 winks while the incompetent and unintentionally hilarious Fifty Shades Trilogy reaches its deadly dull climax.

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Remembers John Mahoney

CHICAGO – The actor John Mahoney, the son of Chicago that came here from England, died on February 4th, 2018 at his home in nearby Oak Park. He was 77. He had a varied career of stage and screen roles, but he is best remembered as Dad Martin Crane to sons Niles and “Frasier,” on that long running series.

Interview: Vito Forlenza on Comcast’s Innovative Winter Olympic XFINITY X1 Viewing Experience

Xfinity X1 2018 Winter Olympics

CHICAGO – The 2018 Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang, South Korea, begin this week, with opening ceremonies on Friday, February 9th. NBCUniversal TV will be the broadcast source for the Games, but their parent company Comcast is upping the ante for their XFINITY X1 TV system subscribers, offering a viewing experience that is a more flexible and user friendly way to see virtually all aspects of the 2018 Winter Games, and Team USA. Vito Forlenza, Executive Director of Business Product Management – who helped developed the strategy for the viewing experience – stopped by in Chicago to promote the multi-platform system.

Film News: 28th Festival of Films from Iran at Gene Siskel Film Center through Mar. 1, 2018

Ava

CHICAGO – In the last seven years, the work of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi has emerged internationally. His Oscar-winning film “A Separation” (2011) and “The Salesman” (2016) has launched his set-in-Iran films to a wider audience. The Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago has been highlighting the country’s cinema for years, and they present the 28th Festival of Films from Iran through March 1st, 2018.

Interview: Director Daniela Thomas on ‘Vazante,’ Presented by Music Box Films of Chicago

Daniela Thomas of 'Vazante'

CHICAGO – A vital and obscure piece of Brazilian history is exposed in the new film “Vazante,’ directed by Daniela Thomas, and is the latest film to be distributed by Music Box Films of Chicago. “Vazante” is now playing at the Music Box Theatre through February 8th, 2018. For more information, click here.

Film News: ‘Cold War’ Opens 14th Midwest Independent Film Festival on Feb. 6, 2018

Cold War

CHICAGO – First Tuesdays are back in Chicago. The Midwest Independent Film Festival will kick off their 2018 (and 14th) season at 6pm on Tuesday, February 6th, with the comedy “Cold War,” directed by J. Wilder Knoschak and Stirling McLaughlin. The film will be preceded by a Producer’s Panel, which will spotlight “The Post Production Process.” For more information, including tickets purchasing, click here.

Theater Review: American Theater Co.’s ‘We’re Gonna Be Okay’ Seeks Identity in Early 1960s

We're Gonna Be Okay

CHICAGO – The 1960s were a time of historical social transition. The movements – civil rights, feminist, gay rights – all had roots in that tumultuous decade. The Chicago premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s “We’re Gonna Be Okay” echoes all of those movements in its characters, and collides them against the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the American Theater Company through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

Film Review: Humankind Gets a Necessary Lesson in ‘The Insult’

CHICAGO – The clash of ideologies or religion that result in war is one of the most emotional of reasons to fight (and convenient for those who manipulate such emotions). “The Insult,” a contender for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, shows how feelings can escalate to bitter conflict.

Exclusive Photos: Neil Patrick Harris for ‘The Magic Misfits!’

CHICAGO – Neil Patrick Harris, just at the age of 44, is already a multi-generation entertainer. He began as a teenager on TV’s “Doogie Howser, M.D., generated laughs on “How I Met Your Mother,” and for awhile was a go-to awards show host. Now he’s an author, as he debuts his Middle Grade Series “The Magic Misfits!”

Film Review: ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ Has Run Out of Life

CHICAGO – The third part of the “Maze Runner” trilogy is called “The Death Cure,” and that cure best describes the faint pulse of this run-out-of-steam dystopia aimed at “young adults.” It is mostly warring and not much more, except for a stab (literally) at misplaced emotion.

Film Review: Inflammatory ‘In the Fade’ is the State of Our Now

CHICAGO – In one of the more truthful and contemporary films of 2017, “In the Fade” is a German/French production about the fallout due to a terrorist act. What it also emphasizes is the generated hatred, frustration and waste of such acts, and its textual story is stunning and distressing.

Podtalk: Michael Galinsky’s ‘All the Rage’ at Gene Siskel Film Center on Jan. 26 & 27, 2018

All the Rage

CHICAGO – Dealing with pain has become almost an obsession with Americans. Between over the counter sales of pain relievers, doctor visits and the prescription abuse of painkillers, a crisis has come about. Why are we hurting? Director Michael Galinsky, with co-directors Suki Hawley and David Beilinson, explore an alternative means of pain treatment in “All the Rage” The film returns to Chicago at the Gene Siskel Film Center on January 26th & 27th, 2018, and Galinsky will appear with Dr. John Strack, a local physician who practices the mind/body healing of the film’s subject.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Cornerstone, Nothing Without a Company

    CHICAGO – We all need some help. The stage play group Nothing Without a Company realizes that, and has collaborated with the organization “Cornerstone” to provide that assistance. Cornerstone is a seminar and a happening in downtown Chicago, facilitated by “experts” to generate your potential. The presentation has a Thursday-Sunday run at Michigan Avenue’s Artspace 8 through May 6th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Cold War

    CHICAGO – Local filmmaking is thriving, thanks to the many creators who choose to make independent movies in Chicago. Co-directors Stirling McLaughlin and J. Wilder Konschak (also writer) brought their cast and crew to the Windy City to make their comedy, “Cold War.” The film made its digital debut on April 6th, 2018, and will be available on iTunes, Google Play, FandangoNow, Amazon, Vudu and more.

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