Will Smith

Film Review: ‘Bad Boys: Ride or Die’ on the Road to Nowhere

CHICAGO –“Bad Boys: Ride Or Die,” the fourth in this series, is a big budget clunker that’s clearing coasting on fumes. A wheezy Martin Lawrence, and a post-slap Will Smith, are trying to recapture some of their former box office glory by trying to milk their still considerable chemistry for all its worth. The best that can be said is that it’s less of an interminable slog than I thought it would be.

On-Air Film Review: Will-ing Redemption in ‘Emancipation'

CHICAGO – Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com appears on “The Morning Mess” with Jason Makos on WBGR-FM (Monroe, Wisconsin) on December 1st, 2022, reviewing “Emancipation,” featuring Will Smith and set in the Civil War period within the eradication of slavery. In theaters on December 2nd, streaming December 9th on Apple TV+.

Flashback Interview: Jada Pinkett Smith on Her Life and Times

Jada Pinkett Smith, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – The person in the middle of The Slap seen around the world – upon Chris Rock by Will Smith at the 94th Academy Awards – was Will’s wife of 24 years, the actor and musician Jada Pinkett Smith. She had shaved her head due to a diagnosis of alopecia, and Chris Rock raised Will Smith’s ire by making a joke about Pinkett Smith appearing in “G.I. Jane 2,” a reference to her military grade style. Jada Pinkett Smith was photographed in 2008 by Joe Arce and interviewed in 2015 by Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com.

Film News: Will Smith Slap on Chris Rock Mars CODA Best Picture Oscar

CHICAGO – Usually these Oscar wrap ups are ordinary. But in a shocking event at the 94th Academy Awards, eventual Best Actor winner Will Smith slapped presenter Chris Rock after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Oh and by the way, CODA wins the Best Picture in a historic honor.

FINALE: ‘King Richard’ at 57th Chicago International Film Festival CLOSING NIGHT, Oct. 24, 2021

King Richard

CHICAGO – It’s CLOSING NIGHT of the 57th Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF), and the fest will wrap with “King Richard, the based-on-truth journey of Richard Williams (Will Smith), the father of Serena and Venus (click KING RICHARD for details).

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 Review: ‘Bad Boys for Life’ Are Just Too Old For This

CHICAGO – “Bad Boys For Life” shows that maybe Will Smith isn’t too old for this kind of sh*t, but Martin Lawrence certainly is. This third installment comes 17 years after “Bad Boys II,” and 25 years after the original film unleashed director Michael Bay on an unsuspecting public.

Film Review: Boot This Reboot of ‘Men In Black International’

CHICAGO – “Men in Black International” is less a reboot than a frantic attempt at CPR for the once viable franchise … which never should have made it to a fourth installment. That’s not to say this is totally unwatchable. But it’s a kind of okay not-that-great-not-that-awful iteration which neither reminds us why we liked the series in the first place nor has much of a reason to exist.

Film Review: ‘Aladdin’ Remake Doesn’t Live Up to Animated Source

CHICAGO – The Walt Disney Studio (cash) obsession with turning their animated film hits to live action movies continues this Memorial Day weekend with “Aladdin,” which adapts the 1992 classic. What worked in 2018 with “Beauty and the Beast” falls flat with this title, because the animated version plays better.

Interview: Daphne Maxwell Reid from MLK Jr. to the Fresh Prince

CHICAGO – This week marks the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and funeral, but locally it was one month later – May 3rd, 1968 – that a “sit-in” took place at Northwestern University near Chicago, as protesting African American students sought change. Future actor Daphne Maxwell Reid was a participant.

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  • Prodigal Daughter, The

    CHICAGO – One of the open secrets of Chicago is its horrible racist past, which remains like an echo. Playwright Joshua Allen has been exploring this theme in his Grand Boulevard Trilogy – the last chapter talking place during the infamous 1919 race riots – in Raven Theatre’s “The Prodigal Daughter.” For tickets and info, click TPD.

  • Michael Shannon and Travis A. Knight, Red Orchid's TURRET

    CHICAGO – When in the presence of a powerful acting force like Michael Shannon, the depth of performance is emotional and passionately essential. He co-leads with Travis A. Knight in Red Orchid Theatre’s World Premiere of Levi Holloway’s “Turret,” just extended to June 22nd at the Chopin Theatre.

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