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Interview, Audio: ‘An Atramentous Mind’ at Chicago’s Black Harvest Film Fest on Aug. 27, 2017

An Atramentous Mind

CHICAGO – What happens when one of the more prominent filmmakers in Chicago of the last five years meets a up-and-coming female director? They get together to make a statement in a short film. “An Atramentous Mind” will have its Midwest Premiere at the Black Harvest Film Festival on August 27th, 2017, as part of their “Chicago Shorts” series. The 23rd edition of this vital Chicago festival runs through August 31st at the downtown Gene Siskel Film Center.

Film Review: Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet in ‘Leap!’

CHICAGO – One of the rites of passage for most girls in the U.S.(and elsewhere, I presume) is ballet lessons. Usually it lasts for a very short time, but some girls-to-women keep pursuing it, and may even become prima ballerinas. A new animated film named “Leap!” is dedicated to that spirit.

Interview, Audio: Rebecca Fons & Jack C. Newell on ‘Destroy Your Art’ in Chicago on Aug. 25, 2017

Destroy Your Art

CHICAGO – In one of the more intriguing “happenings” in the Chicago scene, the husband and wife team of Rebecca Fons and Jack C. Newell are hosting “Destroy Your Art” in Chicago, on August 25th, 2017, at Lost Arts in the Goose Island neighborhood (details below). The evening promises a one-of-a-kind event.

Film Review: Aubrey Plaza Steers the Unsettling ‘Ingrid Goes West’

CHICAGO – Aubrey Plaza (“Parks and Recreation”) is an actor who always seems to do something memorable in her performances. In “Ingrid Goes West,” she carries an entire movie on her quirky and sometimes disturbing character… that of a bipolar stalker who can’t find balance.

Film News: Jerry Lewis, The King of Comedy, Dies at 91

LAS VEGAS – For Jerry Lewis, the “King of Comedy” wasn’t just a mere nickname, but an apt description for his long career and influence. He went from being the most popular entertainer of an era, to notable and studied filmmaker, to charity spokesperson and finally to comic legend. Jerry Lewis died in Las Vegas on August 20th, 2017. He was 91.

Podcast Talk: Frank Carr on Yippie Fest at Prop Thtr in Chicago Aug. 18-20, 2017

2017 Yippie Fest

CHICAGO – With the closing of the Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company in Chicago, came the end of their annual theater happening after 28 years, the Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins Festival. But that wasn’t the end of the SPIRIT of Abbie Fest. A group of Abbie veterans got together and founded Yippie Fest, and the first annual Yippie Fest will take place at the Prop Thtr on Chicago’s Northwest Side from August 18th through the 20th, 2017 (more details below).

Film Review: Magic & Creativity is Formula for ‘Dave Made a Maze’

Dave Made a Maze

CHICAGO – When the magnificently creative film “Dave Made a Maze” begins, it seems like another Millennial generation stab at micro budget filmmaking, with a claustrophobic set and extreme archetypes instead of characters. But then the “exploration” of the title maze starts, and suddenly “Dave” becomes a marvel of invention, tribute, hilarity and even truth.

Podcast Talk: Aimy Tien for Women of the Now on ‘Poerotica’ on Aug. 19, 2017

Poerotica

CHICAGO – Less than two years ago, Women of the Now (WOTN) Founder and filmmaker Layne Marie Williams brought her Philadelphia organization to Chicago, when she moved here to evolve her career. As Woman of the Now has grown in its new home, the group has sponsored many happenings and events, the latest of which is “Poerotica,” subtitled “Liquor, Lingerie and Love Languages.” The event will take place at Reunion Chicago on Saturday, August 19th, 2017 at 8pm (details below).

Film Review: Un-Buddy-Like Violence in ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’

CHICAGO – One day I would like to meet a professional assassin. Are they as quippy and biblical as Samuel L. Jackson? This tired movie occupation is trotted out again, this time pairing Jackson with Ryan Reynolds, in an overwrought and ultra-violent buddy comedy, “The Hitman’s Bodyguard.”

Interview, Audio: Danielle Macdonald on Title Role in ‘Patti Cake$’

CHICAGO – How does a native Australian actress become a New Jersey hip hop artist? Practice, practice, practice… in formulating the character of “Patti Cake$.” Danielle Macdonald, who had never rapped before in her life, portrayed the title Jersey Girl with a stellar determination, poignancy and heart.

Interview, Audio: Bridget Everett Plays Mom in ‘Patti Cake$’

CHICAGO – Bridget Everett is a New York City entertainment maven, as a singer and “cabaret provocateur.” She is breaking out recently as a movie actor, with the just-released comedy “Fun Mom Dinner” and her latest role, as a mother to “Patti Cake$,” a white girl hip-hop artist from New Jersey with a determination of gold.

Film Review: Individualism in ‘Menashe’ Challenges the Tribe

CHICAGO – We all belong to something, be it a family, workplace, congregation or (expansively) a tribe. But within all that belonging is a sometimes nagging feeling of being an outsider. There is not a human being in existence that hasn’t felt that way, and a new film expresses that feeling in “Menashe.”

Film Review: Story in ‘Wind River’ Gets Scattered in the Breeze

CHICAGO – Writer/Director Taylor Sheridan is a deep thinker regarding humanity in these United States. In the third film of his “American Frontier Trilogy” – after “Sicario” and “Hell or High Water” – he goes to the Wyoming Native American reservation, for a unwieldy story titled “Wind River.”

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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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