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Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Remembers the Films of Director John G. Avildsen

John G. Avildsen

CHICAGO – His films were more popular than his name, but director John G. Avildsen did put his mark on the last 30 years of 20th Century movies. Avildsen died last week at the age of 81. He is known best for the Oscar Best Picture-winning “Rocky” (1976), but also did the controversial “Joe” (1970), “Save the Tiger” (1973, Best Actor Oscar for Jack Lemmon), John Belushi’s last film “Neighbors” (1981), “The Karate Kid” (1984), “Lean on Me” (1989) and “8 Seconds” (1994). Patrick McDonald, Spike Walters and Jon Espino of HollywoodChicago.com offer three essays on their Avildsen favorites.

Red-Carpet Video Interview: ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ Star Anthony Hopkins

CHICAGO – Adam Fendelman of HollywoodChicago.com interviews Hollywood legend Sir Anthony Hopkins at the red-carpet premiere of “Transformers: The Last Knight” in Chicago on June 20, 2017. Recently nicknamed T-Hop, we discuss his obsessive-compulsive disorder, feeding his brain, geeking out on history and astronomy and more!

Red-Carpet Video Clip: Optimus Prime Voice Artist Peter Cullen for ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’

Optimus Prime voice artist Peter Cullen for Transformers: The Last Knight

CHICAGO – “Transformers: The Last Knight” held its star-studded premiere in Chicago on June 20, 2017. On the red carpet, Adam Fendelman of HollywoodChicago.com asked Optimus Prime voice artist Peter Cullen to jump into character and say the line in the trailer: “For my world to live, yours must die.”

Red-Carpet Video Interview: ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ Writers Ken Nolan, Matt Holloway, Art Marcum

Transformers: The Last Knight writers Ken Nolan, Matt Holloway, Art Marcum

CHICAGO – “Transformers: The Last Knight” held its star-studded premiere in Chicago on June 20, 2017. On the red carpet, Adam Fendelman of HollywoodChicago.com interviewed writers Ken Nolan, Matt Holloway and Art Marcum about their writers’ room process.

Red-Carpet Video Clip: Megatron Voice Artist Frank Welker for ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’

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CHICAGO – “Transformers: The Last Knight” held its star-studded premiere in Chicago on June 20, 2017. On the red carpet, Adam Fendelman of HollywoodChicago.com asked voice artist Frank Welker to jump into character to voice Decepticons including Megatron and Soundwave.

Film News: Merle Hayden, Subject of ‘Manlife: The Last of the Lawsonians,’ Dies at 96

Merle Hayden

RACINE, WIS – The last of the Lawsonians has now passed on. Merle Hayden, six days after he made an appearance on Closing Night at the Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF), died on June 10th, 2017, of natural causes in Racine, Wisconsin. He was 96 years old. His life was the subject of a World Premiere documentary shown at CUFF, “Manlife: The Last of the Lawsonians” on June 4th. Mr. Hayden made an appearance at that screening, lucidly participated in a Q&A and got to celebrate the achievement of his life’s work brought to a cinematic form.

Film Review: ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ is Bizarrely Enjoyable

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.

Interview, Audio: Director Ana Lily Amirpour Stirs up ‘The Bad Batch’

CHICAGO – The dystopia – or negative future world – is a genre staple, from “Soylent Green” to “Max Max.” The latest film to ponder the possibilities is “The Bad Batch,” from writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour. This is her sophomore feature, after “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” and features Suki Waterhouse in the lead role.

Film Review: Emotionally Perfect Cowboy Elegy in ‘The Hero’

CHICAGO – The great character actor Sam Elliott – known mostly for his cowboy roles in film/TV and his unique bass sounding voiceovers – gets an opportunity to deliver a nuanced and emotional performance as a hyper-realized version of himself. There is virtue and truth in this character journey.

Music Review: Iron Maiden Conjures the Soul of Heavy Metal in Chicagoland Concert

Iron Maiden, photo by Jeff Doles

CHICAGO – On a hot and humid night – with dark ominous clouds enveloping the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Tinley Park, Ill. on June 15th, 2017 – the crowd gathered to see Iron Maiden, and spilled into their seats like a cold beer from the tap. The heavy metal-loving masses, with their torn jeans and ever-present mullets, got ready for the latest show in the band’s “The Book of Souls” World Tour by responding in Pavlovian fashion to UFO’s “Doctor Doctor” (Maiden’s intro song), as it boomed from the venue’s speakers.

Film Review: ‘The Book of Henry’ Generates a Different Story Vibe

Book of Henry, The

CHICAGO – There are some total exasperations in “The Book of Henry”… numerous ones that are almost deal breakers. But somehow, some way, the strange twists and ideas take over, and the film becomes fable-like, examining a different line of story elements that switch from one character to another. Director Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic Park” reboot) reveals a love in what he is doing in this film, and that also counts for something.

Film Review: ‘Rough Night’ is More Than Just a Diamond in the Rough

CHICAGO - The idiotic notion in Hollywood (and in the basements of fanboy mothers everywhere) that women can’t be funny is a joke in itself. Women have been forced to prove themselves on the male-dominated comedic circuit and have come out as successful as their male counterparts. “Rough Night”, despite all of its flaws, is just the most recent example of that.

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  • Wonder Woman

    CHICAGO – There are few films in 2017 that are as historically important as they are cinematically well-crafted. Of those, there is only one I saw three times in theaters. That honor comes in the form of the revolutionary “Wonder Woman,” which not only shows huge promise for the future of DC Comics films but for comic book-based films as a whole.

  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

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