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Podtalk: Filmmaker Frédéric Tceng on the Legacy of ‘Halston’

CHICAGO – Before there was Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, Tom Ford or even Miranda Priestly, there was “Halston.” Roy Halston Frowley was known only by that single name, and wore the celebrity fashion designer crown of the 1960s and ‘70s. Filmmaker Frédéric Tceng brings the icon back to life in “Halston.”

Film News: Opening Night of Chicago Underground Film Fest is ‘Empty Metal’ on June 5, 2019

2019 CUFF

CHICAGO – It’s alternative cinema in Chicago time, as the 26th Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF) kicks off on Wednesday, June 5th, 2019, and runs through Sunday, June 9th. The Opening Night film is “Empty Metal,” a “war movie without a war, a nightmare you’re ashamed to admit was actually a dream.” Screenings take place at The Logan Theatre in Chicago, and tickets – which include an after party – can be purchased by clicking here.

Film Review: ‘Dark Phoenix’ Rises Above Typical Comic Book Action

CHICAGO – Leave it to Marvel Entertainment to produce another “marvel-ous” take on their angst-ridden superhero characters. The latest X-Men film, called the last of this series, is “Dark Phoenix,” and it contains comic book action that is unprecedented for its originality and sheer power. It’s another winner.

Podtalk: ‘Dissidence’ at Midwest Independent Film Festival ‘Sci-Fi/Futurism,' June 4, 2019

Dissidence (2084)

CHICAGO – It’s Back to the Future for the Midwest Independent Film Festival on their First Tuesday in June. The Fest presents Sci-Fi and Futurism night on June 4th, highlighting four thematic short films. They will be “Dissidence (2084),” by filmmaker Matthew Brdlik; “Abi” by Timothy Troy; “Bodyman (Experience Required)” by Ryan R. Browne: and “Rubicon Road” by Ben Wolan. The festivities kick off at 6pm at Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Chicago, click here for details and tickets.

Film Review: Melodrama Mire in ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

CHICAGO – Everyone’s favorite city-flattening radioactive reptile, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” gets stuck in a mire of third-rate-TV-network domestic melodrama in this disappointing follow up to the thrilling 2014 reboot. But before I roar about the many ways this misbegotten miscreant messes up, let’s throw a few pebbles of praise.

Podtalk: Anna Ii-Epstein of ‘Nothing Without a Company’ Wonder Ball, June 1, 2019

2019 Wonder Ball, NWaC

CHICAGO – The theater initiative “Nothing Without a Company” (NWaC) has a reputation for breaking the barriers between audience and actor, creating mystery in the far-flung Chicago locales they use as performance space. On Saturday, June 1st, 2019, they will bring this alchemy to their “Wonder Ball: Celebrate Your Inner Superhero” event, at Chicago Theater Works, 1113 West Belmont, Chicago. For details and tickets, click here.

Film Review: Elton John Bio ‘Rocketman’ Doesn’t Deliver

CHICAGO – As a wee lad, one of the first records I bought was Elton John’s Greatest Hits. The album was magnficent, each song expressing the very emotion it sought to deliver. With that basis in mind, I approached John’s biopic “Rocketman” with a hope of deliverance. It felt flatter than a pancake under a steam roller.

Podtalk: Alice Da Cunha, Co-Founder of Chicago’s Physical Theater Festival, May 31-June 9, 2019

2019 Physical Theater Festival

CHICAGO – The visual artistry of the stage is often due to the picture that is created through the physicality and movement of the actors. This is brought to light in the 6th annual Physical Theater Festival in Chicago, a cornucopia of international imagination generating theater through the physical realm. Co-founders/Artistic Directors Alice Da Cunha and Marc Frost created the fest, which runs from May 31st through June 9th, 2019, Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District. All the Festival information – including tickets – can be found by clicking here.

Soundbite: Composer Stephen Schwartz on Bob Fosse, of TV Series ‘Fosse/Vernon’

Stephen Schwartz

CHICAGO – The final episode of the FX Network’s miniseries “Fosse/Vernon” airs on Tuesday, May 28th, 2019, concluding one of the more fascinating explorations of a historic show business couple. Bob Fosse and Gwen Vernon were titans of Broadway (and for Fosse, beyond), and one of BF’s collaborators was Stephen Schwartz, the composer of Pippin, which Fosse directed and choreographed.

Interview: Peyton Bighorse From Indie Pop/Punk Band, ‘Skating Polly’

Peyton Bighorse of Skating Polly, photo by Jeff Doles

CHICAGO – A fiery phoenix rising from grunge and punk rock ashes, Skating Polly brings youthful hope to anyone looking for in-your-face, high energy, furious live performances. The talented trio alternate instruments and create a new form of music they call “Ugly Pop.” They performed at Schuba’s in Chicago on May 2nd, 2019.

Film Review: Exploring an Inverse Superman Makes ‘Brightburn’ Shine

Brightburn

CHICAGO – The opening to the 1950s “Adventures of Superman” TV series includes the words “strange visitor from another planet.” But because Supes had used his subsequent powers for good, he eventually was found not so strange. What if, however, he had been evil, and used his powers destructively? The new film “Brightburn” speculates on such a phenomenon.

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.

Podtalk: Aisling Franciosi at 7th Chicago Critics Film Festival

CHICAGO – The discovery of rising stars is among the many things the Chicago Critics Film Festival (CCFF) does best, and that continued on May 19th, 2019, at the 7th annual fest. Aisling Franciosi is the lead actress of “The Nightingale,” a new film from Jennifer Kent (“The Babadook”), and she appeared on behalf of the film.

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