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Theater Review: Passionate ‘Hit the Wall’ Feels Like Revolution

Hit the Wall

CHICAGO – There are few civil rights events shrouded in mystery like the Stonewall Inn Riots – a June night in 1969 in New York City, when gay liberation was born. Witnesses and participants in the riots have grown exponentially over the years (“I was there.”) and the who, what and how the riots began have also been in dispute as time goes by. All of that perspective is realized in Ike Holter’s incendiary stage play “Hit the Wall,” presented by the Chicago Commercial Collective at the Greenhouse Theater in Chicago.

Film Review: High-Level Reboot for ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’

CHICAGO – Actor Chris Pine should use the term “Rebooter” as his middle name. After taking on the Captain Kirk role in the “Star Trek” series, he now is the latest to portray CIA super spy as “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” a literate and pulse racing adventure directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Interview: Actor Oscar Isaac Goes Deep ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

CHICAGO – One of more memorable performances of 2013 is from an actor who has been a bit under the radar – Oscar Isaac. After character parts in several familiar films, like “The Nativity Story,” “Sucker Punch” and “The Bourne Legacy,” Isaac steps out as the lead in the new Coen Brothers film, “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

Interview: Directors David Siegel, Scott McGehee of ‘What Maisie Knew’

What Maisie Knew, David Siegel & Scott McGehee

CHICAGO – The story of “What Maisie Knew” may be unusual, but the reflection of the subject matter fits perfectly within the patterns of contemporary family culture. Directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel create a scenerio in which a custody battle for a little girl named Maisie becomes more about the parent’s egos than her care.

Film Review: Greta Gerwig Lights Up the Life of ‘Frances Ha’

CHICAGO – Greta Gerwig is a gift to the type of film acting that dominates the screen. This beautiful, versatile actor gives poignant energy to her latest title character, “Frances Ha,” a collaboration with indie director Noah Baumbach (“Greenberg”).

Film Review: Sins of Modern Parenting Are ‘What Maisie Knew’

CHICAGO – When mixing parenting responsibility, the separation of those parents and a legal system that cannot address the farce of human retaliation, the results become “What Maisie Knew.” Julianne Moore portrays a rock star, and the mother to the title character.

Film Review: Profiling Transforms ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’

CHICAGO – Given the recent media coverage of the Boston bombings, the issue of profiling – judging a individual as suspect based on religion or appearances – is an ongoing problem. Director Mira Nair explores profiling in the context of September 11th in “The Reluctant Fundamentalist.”

Film Review: Fresh Performances Drive ‘Gimme the Loot’

Gimme the Loot

CHICAGO – The world of the movies is also a world of discovery. Like new, hot authors, the breakthrough directors emerge with an original first work that generates deserved attention. Writer/director Adam Leon has created that freshness in the his debut feature, “Gimme the Loot.”

Interview: Co-Directors Sarah Burns, David McMahon of ‘The Central Park Five’

Centrai Park Five photo by Patrick McDonald

CHICAGO – It was Sarah Burns, the daughter of legendary documentarian Ken Burns, that brought the passion for her first project with her famous father, along with husband and co-director David McMahon. “The Central Park Five” also features Raymond Santana, one of “five” who were wrongly accused in the famous New York City trial. They were all here in October at the Chicago International Film Festival.

Film Review: Miscarriage of Justice Befalls ‘The Central Park Five’

CHICAGO – It takes a provocative subject to capture the attention of famous documentarian Ken Burns. There are few things more provocative than the story of “The Central Park Five.” Burns, his daughter Sarah Burns and son-in-law David McMahon were co-directors for this exploration of justice denied.

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  • 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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