African American

Podtalk: Kevin Shaw on HIs Documentary ‘Let the Little Light Shine’ at Gene Siskel Film Center

Let the Little Light Shine

CHICAGO – The City of Chicago, like a number of American cities, has gone through incredible transformations in the last 25 years. Whole neighborhoods left for dead during the white flight of the 1950s-70s have been gentrified and re-settled with luxury housing … often to the detriment of those who remained there throughout many difficult years.

In Memoriam: Merri Dee, Chicago Broadcasting Legend, Dies at 85

Merri Dee, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – She was a pioneer in a broadcasting business at a time when it was mostly white and male. The incomparable Merri Dee was a fixture in Chicago media beginning in the 1960s, breaking barriers as a black woman TV personality and newscaster. She passed away in Chicago on March 16th, 2022, at age 85.

Flashback: Daphne Maxwell Reid, Aunt Vivian of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion’

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

CHICAGO – On November 18th, 2020, the streaming service HBO Max premiered “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion.” 30 years after the popular sitcom debuted, the primary cast got together to talk about the joys and foibles of developing family ties while creating and performing their characters in the show.

Film Reviews: HollywoodChicago.com On-Air Reviews of ‘7500’ & ‘Da 5 Bloods’

Da 5 Bloods

CHICAGO – Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com appears on “The Morning Mess” with Scott Thompson on WBGR-FM (Monroe, Wisconsin) on June 11th, 2020, discussing new VOD releases “The King of Staten Island” and “Working Man.”

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.

Podtalk: Writer/Producer Alice Austen on ‘Give Me Liberty,’ in Chicago through Sept. 26, 2019

Give Me Liberty, Alice Austen

CHICAGO – Moving from writing plays for the stage to writing for film may seem like a natural transition. But at the roots in each of these separate storytelling forms there are different ways of formulating the connection between dialogue and visuals. Alice Austen made this transition when she wrote – with director Kirill Mikhanovsky – the story and screenplay for “Give Me Liberty.”

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: Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Gets Bogged Down in Conventionality

CHICAGO – Like his first film, “Get Out,” writer/director Jordan Peele creates a horror/thriller filled with symbolism and laughs. Unlike “Get Out,” “Us” is awash in overly concentrated plot points, a reliance on lesser references and an ending that can be seen from outer space. It’s not sophomore “jinx,” but more like the sophomore “over think.”

Film News: Chicago’s 2018 Black Harvest Film Festival Closes with ‘Fear of a Black Hat’

2018 Black Harvest Film Festival

CHICAGO – The month long celebration that is the 2018 Black Harvest Film Festival is coming to a close on August 30th with a special revival screening of 1993’s “Fear of a Black Hat.” The ahead-of-its-time hip hop “mockumentary” chronicles the misadventures of the group NWH. Director Rusty Cundieff will make an appearance of behalf of the film’s 25th Anniversary. Over its run, the Black Harvest Film Festival featured a cornucopia of African American themed features and shorts celebrating stories, dreams, history and legacy.

Film News: Chicago’s 2018 Black Harvest Film Festival Opening Night is August 4th

2018 Black Harvest Film Festival

CHICAGO – One of the Windy City’s greatest annual cultural events will open its 2018 edition at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The 24th Black Harvest Film Festival runs from August 4th through 30th, 2018, and features a cornucopia of African American themed features and shorts celebrating stories, dreams, history and legacy. Many of the screenings will include filmmaker appearances, including the Opening Night short film overview, “A Black Harvest Feast,” featuring “Training Wheels” (directed by Sanicole), “Shotgun Wedding” (Derek Dow), “Stuck” (Praheme) and “Riverment” (Shaya Racquel).

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture

    CHICAGO – Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com audio review of the new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version of 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” the first film of one of the most successful film franchises in movie history, spun off from the original breakthrough sci-fi TV series of the 1960s. Beam me up.

  • A League of Their Own 2022

    CHICAGO – Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com appears on The Eddie Volkman Show with Hannah B on WSSR-FM (Star 96.7 Joliet, Illinois) on September 2nd, reviewing the new TV series “A League of Their Own,” a parallel universe adaptation of the popular 1992 film, now streaming on Prime Video.

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