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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: Dacre Montgomery & Cary Elwes on ‘Stranger Things 3’

CHICAGO – Season Three of “Stranger Things,” one of the hottest TV series in the last couple of years, is launching on Netflix on July 4th, 2019. The series is going back to the world of Indiana and the “Upside Down,” and joining the cast – which includes Dacre Montgomery as Billy Hargrove – is veteran actor Cary Elwes.

Podtalk: Director Gigi Saul Guerrero Debuts ‘Culture Shock,’ Streaming on Hulu, July 4, 2019

Culture Shock

CHICAGO – She calls her style of grindhouse and gore films “Tex Mex,” and you won’t find a better femme fatale producing a better debut film in that genre. Director Gigi Saul Guerrero makes her feature film debut with “Culture Shock,” which will premiere for the Hulu streaming service on July 4th, 2019, part of their “Into the Dark” series of horror films through Blumhouse Television.

Film Review: Fireworks for the 4th in ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’

CHICAGO – “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is remarkably light on its feet considering it takes place in the wake of the events of “Avengers: Endgame.” After the five year period between finger snaps which is now referred to as “the blip,” Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and some of his classmates have returned the same age, while everyone else has gotten five years older.

Film Review: ‘Yesterday’ is a Can’t-Miss Premise That Still Misses

CHICAGO – As a Beatles fanatic who has a band because of their existence, the premise of “Yesterday” was can’t miss. A man wakes up after an accident to discover he’s the only person to know that The Beatles existed? Sign me up and buy me popcorn. It’s unfortunate that the story went in a direction that did miss.

Film Review: Horror is Worth a Visit in 'Annabelle Comes Home'

CHICAGO – There is such an unnerving quality to older dolls, which is why they lend themselves so perfectly to horror stories. There’s just an unsettling feeling when looking at their static expression, usually plastered with a permanent smile that gives me terrible flashbacks to when I worked retail.

Podtalk: Director Miranda Bailey Feature Film Debut is ‘Being Frank’

Miranda Bailey of 'Being Frank'

CHICAGO – Miranda Bailey has a proven track record as a film producer of big title independent films, and has worked as a writer and actor. She has now conquered the creative side, as she makes her debut as a feature film director with “Being Frank.” The film features comedian Jim Gaffigan in the title role, and also features Anna Gunn, Samantha Mathis and Alex Karpovsky.

Film Review: Less Black Magic, More Black Mirror Succeeds in 'Child's Play'

CHICAGO – There are some fears in this world that seem irrational to us. Like a fear of clowns or the fear of using an elevator. Horror films are at the core of some of these fears, with the truly great ones creating new things to fear. The “Child’s Play” franchise may have had its roots in psychopathic soul transfers, but the update focuses on the ghost in the machine.

Podtalk: Comedian Jim Gaffigan on His New Film ‘Being Frank’

CHICAGO – Comedian Jim Gaffigan is one of the funniest persons on earth, basically by being himself (Score!). In the last five years, he has been immersing himself into the waters of character acting in the movies, doing some serious supporting roles in films like “Chuck” and “Chappaquiddick.”

Film News: Jakob Dylan to Appear in Chicago for ‘Echo in the Canyon’ on June 21, 2019

Echo in the Canyon 2

CHICAGO – Rock royalty is coming to town, both in the presence of Jakob Dylan (The Wallflowers) and in a new documentary where Dylan explores the roots of the California rock sound of the 1960s, entitled “Echo in the Canyon” (many of the rockers back then lived in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Laurel Canyon). Director Andrew Slater will join Dylan for the film perspective, and Dylan will perform after the screening, taking place on June 21st, 2019, at the historic Music Box Theatre. For more information and tickets, click here.

Podtalk: Director Gigi Saul Guerrero Previews ‘Culture Shock’ at Cinepocalypse Film Fest

Culture Shock

CHICAGO – She calls her style of grindhouse and gore films “Tex Mex,” and you won’t find a better femme fatale producing a better debut film in that genre. Director Gigi Saul Guerrero gave Chicago audiences a sneak preview – at the Cinepocalypse Film Festival at the Music Box Theatre – of her debut “Culture Shock,” which will premiere for Hulu on July 4th, 2019, part of their “Into the Dark” series of horror films through Blumhouse Television.

Film News: Closing Night of 2019 Cinepocalypse in Chicago is ‘Airheads’ on June 20, 2019

Airheads

CHICAGO – Has it been a week already? Has it been 25 years already? The 2019 Cinepocalypse Film Festival is drawing to a close with the film “Airheads” (1994), celebrating its 25th Anniversary. The All-Star cast, in their younger days, includes Brendan Frasier, Steve Buscemi, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Joe Mantegna and Judd Nelson. Director Michael Lehmann (“Heathers”) will appear on behalf of the film at the historic Music Box Theatre in Chicago, with a Closing Night after party to follow. For more information and tickets, click here.

Film Review: Another Winner from the Creative Team of ‘Toy Story 4’

CHICAGO – When you’ve brought to life one of the greatest animation series ever produced, there is not much to prove. The “Toy Story” series has relied on the strong and emotional stories since 1995, and after a nine year break comes back for one more intriguing spin for their characters, finding a new path in “Toy Story 4.”

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