February 2016

Film News: Character Actor, Oscar Winner George Kennedy Dies at 91

MIDDLETON, IDAHO – On the day of the 88th Academy Awards, Hollywood lost a venerable character actor and Oscar winner, George Kennedy. Kennedy won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar at the 40th Academy Awards for his role in “Cool Hand Luke.” He passed away at a care facility in Idaho, age 91.

Slideshow: Hugh Jackman Wows Chicago at ‘Eddie the Eagle’ Red Carpet

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Hugh Jackman is Bronson Peary in the new film, ‘Eddie the Eagle.’

CHICAGO – The film “Eddie the Eagle” soared at the box office this weekend, and one of the huge stars in it is Hugh Jackman, the Australian-born movie and theater icon. He was in Chicago on February 16th, 2016, to walk the Red Carpet for the film, and HollywoodChicago.com was there to both do video interviews and photograph the event.

TV News: Smithsonian Channel Premieres ‘The Hammer of Hank Aaron’

Hammer of Hank Aaron, The

CHICAGO – One of the greatest records in baseball, the total home run record held by Babe Ruth, was challenged by an unassuming ballplayer named Henry “Hank” Aaron in the early part of the 1970s. The quest to break that record was complicated because Aaron was a black man, and race in America again became an issue. The Smithsonian Channel chronicles that journey, as part of their new “Major League Legends” series, with “The Hammer of Hank Aaron,” premiering on February 29th, 2016.

Film News: ‘Spotlight’ Wins Best Picture at 2016 Academy Awards

CHICAGO – “Spotlight” held off all challengers at the 88th Academy Awards, as the film won Best Picture, after Alejandro González Iñárrittu had won Best Director for the second year in a row for “The Revenant.” Chris Rock held steady as the host, acknowledging Oscar’s diversity problems with a series of comedy bits.

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com’s 2016 Oscar Predictions

CHICAGO – Okay kids, time to jump into the 2016 Oscar Pool. There are “predictors,” and then there is HollywoodChicago.com! That’s right, critic contributors Spike Walters and Patrick McDonald have the inside scoop to who will win on Oscar night, because they have a DeLorean time machine – in their dreams!

Film Review: ‘Eddie the Eagle’ is Predictable But Pleasant Tale

CHICAGO – “Eddie The Eagle” is thoroughly predictable underdog story, but this picture won me over with a plucky persistence fitting for its peculiar protagonist. It’s an admittedly minor but mostly true tale of an oddball outsider overcoming overwhelming odds.

‘Eddie the Eagle’ is Predictable But Pleasant Tale

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

CHICAGO – “Eddie The Eagle” is thoroughly predictable underdog story, but this picture won me over with a plucky persistence fitting for its peculiar protagonist. It’s an admittedly minor but mostly true tale of an oddball outsider overcoming overwhelming odds.

Film Review: Truth is a Guest at ‘Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party’

Henry Ganble's Birthday Party

CHICAGO – There always seems to be a moment or event in our lives where everything happens. Writer/director Stephen Cone places that context into a celebration, that reveals necessary truths to its participants. It’s going to be a enlightening time at “Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party.”

Truth is a Guest at ‘Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party’

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

CHICAGO – There always seems to be a moment or event in our lives where everything happens. Writer/director Stephen Cone places that context into a celebration, that reveals necessary truths to its participants. It’s going to be a enlightening time at “Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party.”

Oscar Week Feature: Top 20 Interviews of 2015, by Patrick McDonald

CHICAGO –The movers, the shakers, the prominent filmmakers – they’ve all gone through the interview filter by Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com. What better way to celebrate Oscar week than to review the TOP 20 talks of the 2015, with many 2016 Oscar favorites among the celebrated.

Film Review: The Fog of Battle is a Heavy Burden in ‘A War’

War, A

CHICAGO – Humanity and war simply do no mix. You could have the biggest guns, the most powerful bombs and the greatest army, but you’re also going to eliminate innocent lives, and affect those soldiers who do the killing. This topic is pungently realized in the Danish film “A War.”

The Fog of Battle is a Heavy Burden in ‘A War’

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

CHICAGO – Humanity and war simply do no mix. You could have the biggest guns, the most powerful bombs and the greatest army, but you’re also going to eliminate innocent lives, and affect those soldiers who do the killing. This topic is pungently realized in the Danish film “A War.”

Film Review: ‘Touched With Fire’ Contains a Different Perspective

CHICAGO – How do you explain air? That is what our thoughts are, after all – carbon-based cells interacting with circumstantial environment, sending the “message.” What if those cells send the thought receiver something outside “normal”? This is the exploration in the new film ‘Touched With Fire.’

‘Touched With Fire’ Contains a Different Perspective

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

CHICAGO – How do you explain air? That is what our thoughts are, after all – carbon-based cells interacting with circumstantial environment, sending the “message.” What if those cells send the thought receiver something outside “normal”? This is the exploration in the new film ‘Touched With Fire.’

Interview: Director Paul Dalio, Luke Kirby of ‘Touched With Fire’

Touched With Fire

CHICAGO – The status of individual mental acuity and control is like the fingerprint of the brain. There are disorders that have been diagnosed, which alters that fingerprint into different types of behavior. A new film, “Touched with Fire” – directed by Paul Dalio and featuring lead actor Luke Kirby – seeks to bridge an understanding of Bipolar Condition, the particular mental journey of highest (and ultra-creative) highs and mind numbing lows.

Film Review: Reverent, Joyful & Inspirational Jesus in ‘Risen’

CHICAGO – I am a recovering Catholic, which I’ll tell you a million times – or maybe shortly after I meet you – and I have to say I had a well of nostalgia while experiencing “Risen,” the story of Jesus’s Resurrection and aftermath. It is enjoyable, in a strange way, for Christians and film fans alike.

Reverent, Joyful & Inspirational Jesus in ‘Risen’

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

CHICAGO – I am a recovering Catholic, which I’ll tell you a million times – or maybe shortly after I meet you – and I have to say I had a well of nostalgia while experiencing “Risen,” the story of Jesus’s Resurrection and aftermath. It is enjoyable, in a strange way, for Christians and film fans alike.

Interview: Stephan James Portrays Olympian Jesse Owens in ‘Race’

Stephan James as Jesse Owens in Race

CHICAGO – In the history of America, there are moments when champions rose above their societal status and circumstance. And so it came to pass that African American Jesse Owens – during one of most difficult times in America for blacks – won medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, representing America and striking a blow against Adolf Hitler, four years before WWII. Owen’s story is told in the new film, “Race,” and he is portrayed by actor Stephan James.

Film Review: Something Wicked This Way Comes in ‘The Witch’

CHICAGO – We perpetuate our fears through many sources. All mythology, religion and politics are based on what is “unknown” in our lives, and the desire to placate what frightens us is how we invent and worship those entities. This is all explored in the new film, “The Witch.”

Something Wicked This Way Comes in ‘The Witch’

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

CHICAGO – We perpetuate our fears through many sources. All mythology, religion and politics are based on what is “unknown” in our lives, and the desire to placate what frightens us is how we invent and worship those entities. This is all explored in the new film, “The Witch.”

Interview: Director Robert Eggers on His Season of ‘The Witch’

CHICAGO – The myth and fear of witches has fascinated personhood since religion and anti-religion have clashed. “The Witch” is a new film that takes that battle and puts it right back into 17th century America, when religious separatists like the Puritans tamed the New World. Robert Eggers wrote and directed the film.

Red-Carpet Video Interviews: ‘Eddie the Eagle’ Stars Hugh Jackman, Taron Egerton

CHICAGO – HollywoodChicago.com brings you our red-carpet interviews with the stars of the new film “Eddie the Eagle”. We speak with Hugh Jackman, Taron Egerton and director Dexter Fletcher at the Chicago premiere on Feb. 16, 2016.

Interview: Richard Cotovsky on Abbie Hoffman Fest, Directing & Final Days of Mary-Arrchie

Richard Cotovsky Abbie Hoffman

CHICAGO – In founding and being an artistic director of a theater company for over 30 years, Richard Cotovsky of Mary-Arrchie Co. has a few stories to tell. In Part Two of an interview with the “Godfather of Chicago Storefront Theater” Cotovsky talks about the annual Abbie Hoffman Died for our Sins Festival, and the various acts of producing memorable stage productions.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to ‘Risen’ With Joseph Fiennes

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new film “Risen” starring Joseph Fiennes! “Risen” is an epic Biblical story of the Resurrection as told through the eyes of a non-believer.

Film Review: Anti-Heroism of ‘Deadpool’ Revels in Sass & Violence

CHICAGO – It was inevitable that we would get an “R-rated” superhero movie, and “Deadpool” fits the bill with its swears, violence and a little sex/nudity. It also has Ryan Reynolds as that hero, doing his “Van Wilder” smarmy act to the nth degree. How that all works will determine how you like the film.

Anti-Heroism of ‘Deadpool’ Revels in Sass & Violence

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

CHICAGO – It was inevitable that we would get an “R-rated” superhero movie, and “Deadpool” fits the bill with its swears, violence and a little sex/nudity. It also has Ryan Reynolds as that hero, doing his “Van Wilder” smarmy act to the nth degree. How that all works will determine how you like the film.

Film Review: Shapeless ‘How to Be Single’ is Dreadfully Unfunny

CHICAGO – Rebel Wilson’s raunchy and vulgar schtick is now way past its freshness date, but she’s the only one able to elicit any chuckles in this otherwise woebegone women-behaving-badly, anti-romantic comedy, “How to Be Single.”

Shapeless ‘How to Be Single’ is Dreadfully Unfunny

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Rebel Wilson’s raunchy and vulgar schtick is now way past its freshness date, but she’s the only one able to elicit any chuckles in this otherwise woebegone women-behaving-badly, anti-romantic comedy, “How to Be Single.”

Exclusive Portrait: ‘Race’ Star Stephan James as Jesse Owens

Stephan James as Jesse Owens in Race

CHICAGO – HollywoodChicago.com brings you our exclusive red-carpet portrait of Stephan James as the legendary Olympian Jesse Owens from the Chicago premiere of “Race” on Feb. 9, 2016. We also photographed Jesse Owens’ real-life daughters Gloria Owens Hemphill and Marlene Owens Rankin.

Film Review: ‘Zoolander 2’ Continues Silly, Surreal Hilarity

CHICAGO – Humor is subject to the receiver, of course, and what is funny is as distinct to each individual as a fingerprint. Having said that, I found “Zoolander 2” to be hilarious, as it delivered again what made the first film work – tweaking the self-importance of fashion and celebrity.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Space Force

    CHICAGO – Seemingly ripped from the headlines, by way of “Dr. Strangelove,” the new Netflix TV series “Space Force” debuted on May 29th, 2020. Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com reviewed the series during the Eddie Volkman Show (Star 96.7 FM in Joliet, Illinois) on June 5th, 2020.

  • Adriana Leonard & Carley Marcelle

    CHICAGO – When two passionate content creators got together, they sought not only to produce a work of entertainment, but a higher philosophy within it. Co-Writers/Directors and Executive Producers Adriana Leonard and Carley Marcelle have created “Beta” A Digital Series, and they are about to launch it.

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