Religion

On-Air Film Review: Creating Empathy! Review of ‘Pray Away’

CHICAGO – Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com appears on “The Morning Mess” with Scott Thompson on WBGR-FM (Monroe, Wisconsin) on August 5th, 2021, reviewing the new Kristine Stolakis documentary “Pray Away,” now streaming on Netflix..



Via Zoom: Kristine Stolakis on Her New Film ‘Pray Away’

CHICAGO – One of the crueler uses of psychology or religion is as a “cure” for gay or transgender or even fluid orientations to “become” heterosexual. Although this conversion therapy should never exist, the new doc “Pray Away” has filmmaker Kristine Stolakis providing the background and continued use of the therapies. The film premieres August 3rd, 2021, on Netflix.

Pride Podtalk: Illinois Legislators of Anti-Conversion Therapy Laws

CHICAGO – At the recent Doc 10 screening of “Pray Away,” a new documentary by Kristine Stolakis, Illinois State Representative Kelly Cassidy and Evanston (Illinois) Mayor Daniel Biss made introductory remarks regarding their role in establishing laws against “Conversion Therapy” … the industry that promises to “cure” gay or trans orientation.

Podtalk: Doc Director Penny Lane on Her New Film ‘Hail Satan?’

Hail Satan?

CHICAGO – Religion, and the separation of those institutions from the “state,” is an ongoing controversy in the United States. One such religious group may have found the ultimate solution to keep that separation in place. The Satanic Temple is an anarchist religion whose goal is to get a place at the table with the other holy influencers. They are profiled in director Penny Lane’s new film, “Hail Satan?”

Interview: Director Huaug Hsin-yao on ‘The Great Buddha +’ at Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema

Great Buddha +, The

CHICAGO – Season Six is one of the most successful for Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema (APUC), as they present gems from the Asian film world that provide mind and cultural expansion. Recently, as part of their Taiwan Cinema Days, APUC brought in director Huang Hsin-yao of “The Great Buddha +,” a meditation on class, religion and the ever present eye-in-the-sky video of the current era.

Film Review: M is for the Many Things ‘mother!’ Gave Me

CHICAGO – In a film that is unsettlingly and regally composed with deep purpose and symbolism, “mother!” fulfills the nature of what it proposes to communicate within layers of essentially rendered storytelling and cinematic perspective. It can potentially change your overall point of view.

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.”

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.

Theater Review: Dark Souls Congregate in UrbanTheater Company’s ‘Devil Land’

UrbanTheaterChicago logo

CHICAGO – Insanity is often a shared phenomenon. One family member can drive another family member over the brink, an incident can break collective spirits and indulgence in religion can alter perspectives. All the bleak darkness of these mental incapacities are on display in the Midwest Premiere of the UrbanTheater Company stage production of “Devil Land.”

Film Review: Gothic Originality in ‘We Are What We Are’

CHICAGO – Finding something truly original in the horror genre is rare. The most effective scare tactics are ones that touch the heart of our familiarity and psychosis. Re-imagining a Mexican film from 2010, director Jim Mickle gets right to the gothic heart of it all in “We Are What We Are.”

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  • Midnight Mass

    CHICAGO – Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com appears on “The Morning Mess” with Scott Thompson on WBGR-FM (Monroe, Wisconsin) on October 21st, 2021, reviewing the new miniseries “Midnight Mass,” currently streaming on Netflix.

  • Chicago Party Aunt

    CHICAGO – The funny meter of Netflix went off the scale last week, as the animated series “Chicago Party Aunt” made its debut on September 17th. What began as a Twitter account by comic actor Chris Witaske (who also provides his voice talent) has morphed into the cartoon adventures of Aunt Diane Dumbowski, her nephew Daniel, and an array of familiar Chicago-isms and characters.

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