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Podtalk: Director Lulu Wang on ‘The Farewell,’ 2020 Independent Spirit Best Picture

Lulu Wang of THE FAREWELL

CHICAGO – One of the hottest films from the first half 2019 festival season was an emotional story about family, and scored the Best Picture at the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 8th. “The Farewell” is a breakout for both the lead actor Awkwafina (“Crazy Rich Asians”), Zhao Shuzhen (who won the Indie Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress) and their director Lulu Wang. Wang’s story of her grandmother became a universal spirit about our relative connections.

Film Feature: The 10 Best Films of 2019, By Patrick McDonald

CHICAGO – An entire decade is biting the dust in the switch from 2019 to 2020, with an America that can experience the anarchy of our current times reflected in the movies. What better time to unleash the 10 BEST FILMS of 2019, as selected by Über Critic Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com.

Podtalk: Director Trey Edward Shults and Cast on Making ‘Waves’

CHICAGO – One of the best and more emotional films of 2019 is “Waves,” the third film of director Trey Edward Shults (“It Comes at Night”). The eclectic filmmaker explores the viability of family when a crisis occurs, especially through the young actors portraying brother and sister, Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Taylor Russell.

Film Review: ‘The Farewell’ Greets with Cultural, Emotional Exploration

CHICAGO – We all have those family stories that seem just so uniquely ours that it is hard to believe anyone could actually relate to them. Stories that, at the time, don’t seem like anyone else would even understand. Lulu Wang proves in “The Farewell” that all it takes is a little empathy, a skilled storyteller, and a group of talented people to bring any story to life.

Podtalk: Director Lulu Wang on Her New Film ‘The Farewell’

CHICAGO – One of the hottest films from the first half 2019 festival season was an emotional story about family. “The Farewell” is a breakout for both the lead actor Awkwafina (“Crazy Rich Asians”) and her director Lulu Wang. Wang’s story of her grandmother became a universal spirit about our relative connections.

Film Review: Mind-Blowing ‘Midsommar’ is Disturbing and Beautiful

Midsommar

CHICAGO – “Midsommar” is beautifully composed, disturbing in nature and very very Swedish. Writer/Director Art Aster creates a stunning sophomore effort (after his brilliant debut “Hereditary”) that is pure cinema, and weaves a fantastical tale of humanity stripped to its bare bones. It moves a bit slow, but it also builds to something completely original and unexpected.

Podtalk: Reflecting on ‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’

CHICAGO – San Francisco is dying. Not from blight or fault lines, but by the excess of new tech money that has been buying the city block by block. The diversity that made the town is also going away, and this circumstance is poignantly rendered in the new film “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.”

Film Review: Julianne Moore is a Ringing Sensation in ‘Gloria Bell’

CHICAGO – The sheer ordinariness of life is not fodder for most dramatic films … the popcorn munchers generally turn out for something more high concept. But in Exhibit A, there is “Gloria Bell,” in which Julianne Moore portrays the title character in a series of ordinary extraordinary events.

Film Review: Growing Up Fast in the Skateboard Life of ‘Mid90s’

Mid90s

CHICAGO – Character actor Jonah Hill has just scored behind the camera. As writer/director of a authentic look back at the “Mid90s” he went back to his inner source of growing up in that 1990s time, skateboarding with his buds and experiencing the teenage life. The story never blinks, as the teens are authentic and the situations they get in even more so.

Film Review: Awkward & Difficult is Played Out in ‘Eighth Grade’

Eighth Grade

CHICAGO – We’ve all been there. Depending on what school structure you lived through, everyone had issues in “Eighth Grade.” Writer/director Bo Burnham puts those universal issues in a modern context (social media, online video), and portrays them through a girl struggling to belong while navigating the choppy waters of adolescence. It’s difficult, awkward and representative.

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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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