November 2015

Exclusive Portrait: Former ‘Nightline’ Anchor Ted Koppel in Chicagoland For New Book

Ted Koppel, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – For 25 years, Edward James Martin “Ted” Koppel anchored the popular ABC-TV news show, “Nightline.” Since leaving the show in 2005, he has held a variety of journalistic and on-air roles, and most recently has written a new book, “Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath,” indicating that America’s electric grid infrastructure is vulnerable. He appeared at the Old Orchard Barnes & Noble in Skokie, Ill., to promote the book.

Film News: Midwest Independent Film Festival’s ‘Best of the Midwest’ on Dec. 1, 2015

Best of the Midwest 2015

CHICAGO – On Tuesday, December 1st, the Midwest Independent Film Festival will award their 2015 “Best of the Midwest” with a ceremony at Rockit Bar & Grill, 22 W. Hubbard, in Chicago. The evening will be hosted by Festival Director Mike McNamara, and nominees include the short film “Baby Mary” (directed by Kris Swanberg), plus feature films “Full Frame” (directed by Christopher Kelley), and “Anguish” 
(directed by Sonny Mallhi).

Theatre Review: David Arquette’s ‘Sherlock Holmes’ Cheapens Drama With Campy, Unfunny Comedy

CHICAGO – Different isn’t bad and might be great, but you’d better have an irrefutable reason to change what was never broken. Campy being the only word to accurately convey this alternate-reality version of Sherlock Holmes with an original script, writer Greg Kramer and director Andrew Shaver try too hard to be different without ever figuring out why.

Film Review: ‘The Good Dinosaur’ is Pixar Studio’s Most Ordinary Film

Good Dinosaur, The

CHICAGO – The animation in Pixar Studio’s latest feature ,“The Good Dinosaur,” is nothing short of extraordinary. At times throughout the film, the images looked like they came right out of National Geographic, and I truly couldn’t believe i was watching animation. However, this delightful animation is in service to an undistinguished prehistoric buddy comedy that wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of “The Flintstones.”

‘The Good Dinosaur’ is Pixar Studio’s Most Ordinary Film

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – The animation in Pixar Studio’s latest feature ,“The Good Dinosaur,” is nothing short of extraordinary. At times throughout the film, the images looked like they came right out of National Geographic, and I truly couldn’t believe i was watching animation. However, this delightful animation is in service to an undistinguished prehistoric buddy comedy that wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of “The Flintstones.”

Slideshow: ‘Creed’ Movie Premiere in Chicago on Nov. 12, 2015

| Image 1 of 6 |
Michael B. Jordan portrays Adonis in ‘Creed.’

CHICAGO – “Creed” is poised to become a contender at the box office over the Thanksgiving weekend, and the new boxing film starring Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa and Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed (son of ex-heavyweight champion and Rocky opponent Apollo Creed) is also in the buzz of the 2015 Oscar race. The film premiered in Chicago on Nov. 12th, 2015, with a Red Carpet event at Jones College Prep High School, where a mural was unveiled as part of the ceremony.

Film Review: ‘Creed’ is a Champion in the Rocky Balboa Legacy

CHICAGO – This is what happens when passionate filmmakers come into a known movie project – with an obvious love for the previous stories and characters – and create a new chapter that both evolves and honors its source. “Creed” does all of that, and gives the beloved Rocky Balboa one more time in the spotlight.

‘Creed’ is a Champion in the Rocky Balboa Legacy

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – This is what happens when passionate filmmakers come into a known movie project – with an obvious love for the previous stories and characters – and create a new chapter that both evolves and honors its source. “Creed” does all of that, and gives the beloved Rocky Balboa one more time in the spotlight.

Slideshow: Rainn Wilson Releases New Book ‘The Bassoon King’

| Image 1 of 4 |
Rainn Wilson, author of ‘The Bassoon King,’ November 13th, 2015.

CHICAGO – He may be Dwight Schrute of “The Office” forever in reruns, but he is also – according to his new memoir – “The Bassoon King.” Rainn Dietrich Wilson created the offbeat Schrute, and has had a diverse and high profile career. He was at the Yellow Box Theater in Naperville, Ill., recently, being interview by Chicago artist Tony Fitzpatrick, in an event sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to ‘Legend’ With Tom Hardy in a Double Performance

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new gangster film “Legend” starring Tom Hardy in a double performance as London’s notorious Kray brothers!

Film Review: Grim Conclusion for ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2’

CHICAGO – This has to be what the filmmakers intended when they split the final book of the “Hunger Games” series into two films. While “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1” was all set up, Part 2 doesn’t just lead up to a huge climax.

Grim Conclusion for ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – This has to be what the filmmakers intended when they split the final book of the “Hunger Games” series into two films. While “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1” was all set up, Part 2 doesn’t just lead up to a huge climax.

Film Review: Spirit Starts Early in Fun, Raunchy ‘The Night Before’

CHICAGO – The tradition of the holiday party gets a workout in “The Night Before,” as three friends take a Christmas Eve walk through the environs of New York City, and make their merry journey an unforgettable night of libation enhancement, magic moments and yes, the Holiday Spirit.

Spirit Starts Early in Fun, Raunchy ‘The Night Before’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – The tradition of the holiday party gets a workout in “The Night Before,” as three friends take a Christmas Eve walk through the environs of New York City, and make their merry journey an unforgettable night of libation enhancement, magic moments and yes, the Holiday Spirit.

Interview: Director Rick Alverson Knows That’s ‘Entertainment’

CHICAGO – It’s original, it’s off-kilter, it’s different – it’s the new film “Entertainment.” Rick Alverson has fashioned a road picture, with an offbeat stand up comic trying to get home. The director has some fiery talent behind that journey, including Gregg Turkington as The Comedian, John C. Reilly, Michael Cera and Tim Heidecker.

Interview: Screenwriter David Wilson Represents ‘Spirit Riders’ at Equus Film Festival

David Wilson of 'Spirit Riders'

CHICAGO – The first big breakthrough for any screenwriter is a momentous occasion, and David Wilson has done just that. The shot-on-a-shoestring indie family film “Spirit Riders” – written by Wilson – has had a great afterlife in limited release, Video-On-Demand, DVD, foreign distribution and online digital downloads. And this upcoming weekend, from November 20 to 22, 2015, Wilson will represent his story, about Equine Therapy, at the Equus Film Festival in New York City.

Theater Review: We’ll Always Have Paris in ‘The Merry Widow’

CHICAGO – Standing up at the Lyric Opera house in Chicago is unusual before a show. But in this case, it was the night after a tragedy, and the operetta “The Merry Widow” – set in Paris, France, in 1905 – was about to unfold. The orchestra struck up La Marseillaise, a reminder that we’ll always have Paris.

Film Review: ‘Spotlight’ Offers a Relevant First Draft to History

CHICAGO – “Spotlight” is a movie which aspires to greatness and oftentimes just about gets there. It’s a movie that is thoroughly confident that the process of journalism and a great story provides all the excitement it needs to grab an audience’s attention. And what a great story it is.

‘Spotlight’ Offers a Relevant First Draft to History

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “Spotlight” is a movie which aspires to greatness and oftentimes just about gets there. It’s a movie that is thoroughly confident that the process of journalism and a great story provides all the excitement it needs to grab an audience’s attention. And what a great story it is.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to ‘The Night Before’ With Seth Rogen

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated comedyThe Night Before” starring Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie!

Exclusive Portrait: Bill Nye ‘The Science Guy’ in Chicagoland to Promote New Book

Bill Nye, photo by Joe Arce.

CHICAGO – One of the most famous bow tie stylists in the world, and one of the greatest advocates for understanding our universe is Bill Nye, “The Science Guy.” He used that nickname in the 1990s, when he hosted a popular kids TV show with that title. He was at the Barnes & Noble book store at Old Orchard in Skokie, Ill., to promote his new book, “Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World.”

Film Review: ‘The 33’ Adds Depth to the Trapped Miners of Chile

CHICAGO – In the art of film, the best way to approach a based-on-truth story – where the outcome is well known – is to create a point-of-view vision for the narrative. The story of “The 33,” the trapped miners from Chile who were rescued with worldwide attention, is a prime example of that vision.

‘The 33’ Adds Depth to the Trapped Miners of Chile

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – In the art of film, the best way to approach a based-on-truth story – where the outcome is well known – is to create a point-of-view vision for the narrative. The story of “The 33,” the trapped miners from Chile who were rescued with worldwide attention, is a prime example of that vision.

Interview: Director Jay Roach Channels His Inner ‘Trumbo’

CHICAGO – Director Jay Roach loves his work, heading into another phase of his successful career. The man who directed the first two “Austin Powers” films is now taking on movie and American history with “Trumbo,” featuring Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) as the 1950s blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.

Interview: Producer Marla Gamze to Present ‘Artists of the First Sunrise’ in Chicago on Nov. 14, 2015

Artists of the First Sunrise

CHICAGO – The traditions and ceremony of our tribal past have eventually become homogenized in modern society. But there are some parts of the world where those traditions still exist, and much of it has a connection to art, dance, design, music and ritual. Executive Producer Marla Gamze is working on a new documentary – “Artists of the First Sunrise” – about the indigenous Aboriginal tribes of Australia, a native population that still bond to their tradition and expression.

Interview: Director Patricia Riggen is Counting on ‘The 33’

CHICAGO – When a disaster strikes, often the most unlikely people will become the primary responders. This is the premise for “The 33,” a new feature film about the Chilean mining collapse in 2010, which trapped 33 men for 69 days. The film goes deep inside the event, and is directed with due respect by Patricia Riggen.

Film Feature: Bond, James Bond – Ranking the Bond Movies Worst to First, Including ‘Spectre’

CHICAGO – James Bond is back in his latest adventure, “Spectre,” but what about his movie life before this film? Spike Walters of HollywoodChicago.com ranks the 24 official James Bond films from worst to first, an overview of 007’s movie and cultural presence from 1962 through today.

Interview: Director Gaspar Noé Interprets His New Film ‘Love’

Love, directed by Gaspar Noé

CHICAGO – The practice of addictive or obsessive love is often played out through a couple’s sexual energy, rather than their ability to get along in the day-to-day. This is explicitly portrayed in the new film “Love,” a France and Belgium film written and directed by Argentinian Gaspar Noé, and featuring American actor Karl Glusman and French actress Aomi Muyock as the couple.

Film Review: ‘The Peanuts Movie’ Honors Legacy of Charlie Brown

CHICAGO – They didn’t screw it up, and that is good. Eschewing modern conventions or typical animation pop culture jokes, “The Peanuts Movie” honors its source (Charlie Brown and the gang) and its creator, Charles M. Schultz, in a joyous and nostalgic celebration.

‘The Peanuts Movie’ Honors Legacy of Charlie Brown

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – They didn’t screw it up, and that is good. Eschewing modern conventions or typical animation pop culture jokes, “The Peanuts Movie” honors its source (Charlie Brown and the gang) and its creator, Charles M. Schultz, in a joyous and nostalgic celebration.

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