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July 2016

Theater Review: Brown Paper Box Co. Exuberantly Pursues ‘Now. Here. This.’

Now Here This

CHICAGO – The Brown Paper Box Co., which embodies the passion and simplistic beauty of the storefront theater tradition, presents another fantastic and insightful musical, “Now. Here. This.” Director M. William Panek guides a splendid cast of two women and two men in a reflective, modern day morality tale.

Film Review: Comedy is Humanity in Magnanimous ‘Don’t Think Twice’

Don't Think Twice Front

CHICAGO – Comedian/writer/director Mike Birbiglia is breaking out as a filmmaker, and he adds a deft and emotional touch to a story of an improvisation comedy troupe split apart by change they didn’t expect. That sounds a lot like life, and it’s best to “Don’t Think Twice.”

Comedy is Humanity in Magnanimous ‘Don’t Think Twice’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Comedian/writer/director Mike Birbiglia is breaking out as a filmmaker, and he adds a deft and emotional touch to a story of an improvisation comedy troupe split apart by change they didn’t expect. That sounds a lot like life, and it’s best to “Don’t Think Twice.”

Matt Damon is Fighting Mad in Tense ‘Jason Bourne’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – To come back to a character that everyone thought he had left behind, Matt Damon needed the right creative team. He got it again in co-writer (with Christopher Rouse) and director Paul Greengrass, and together they fashioned a paranoid spy tale in the rat-a-tat “Jason Bourne.”

Film Review: Matt Damon is Fighting Mad in Tense ‘Jason Bourne’

CHICAGO – To come back to a character that everyone thought he had left behind, Matt Damon needed the right creative team. He got it again in co-writer (with Christopher Rouse) and director Paul Greengrass, and together they fashioned a paranoid spy tale in the rat-a-tat “Jason Bourne.”

Interview: Director Matt Weinstein Presents ‘The Gun Equation’ at 2016 Blue Whiskey Indie Fest

Gun Equation, The

CHICAGO – The weekend of July 29th through the 31st is the final three days of the Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival in Mount Prospect, IL, and filmmakers from all over the indie sphere have made contributions, including director Matt Weinstein and his new short film project, “The Gun Equation.” For more information about the Blue Whiskey Festival, click here.

Film Review: Strong Cast Makes ‘Bad Moms’ Good for Some Laughs

CHICAGO – “Bad Moms” is another raunchy women behaving badly comedy that never met a curse word it didn’t like. But I’ll say this for ‘Bad Moms,’ it’s rebellion comes from a relatable place. What parent hasn’t wondered if they were in some way failing their children in some way by failing to live up to our pinterest levels of perfection?

Strong Cast Makes ‘Bad Moms’ Good for Some Laughs

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “Bad Moms” is another raunchy women behaving badly comedy that never met a curse word it didn’t like. But I’ll say this for ‘Bad Moms,’ it’s rebellion comes from a relatable place. What parent hasn’t wondered if they were in some way failing their children in some way by failing to live up to our pinterest levels of perfection?

Interview: Philosopher King Mike Birbiglia of ‘Don’t Think Twice’

CHICAGO – When comedian/writer/director Mike Birbiglia is in his element, as during the interviews he conducted at The iO Theater in Chicago, he is relaxed and ardently philosophical. He has written and directed a new film, “Don’t Think Twice,” which is about a improvisation comedy troupe, but it’s also about life.

Interview: Actor Paul Dooley on Getting to Portray Dad

Paul Dooley, Part Two

CHICAGO – After he reigned as the father in the classic 1979 film “Breaking Away,” actor Paul Dooley suddenly became everyone’s Dad – and by everyone that meant Molly Ringwald (“Sixteen Candles”), Julia Roberts (“Runaway Bride”) and Helen Hunt (“Mad About You”). He tells all in PART TWO of a comprehensive interview.

Red-Carpet Exclusive Portraits: Woody Allen for ‘Café Society’

CHICAGO – He is one of the most prolific American directors of the modern cinema era, and has also forged a career as stand-up comedian, actor, playwright and screenplay artist. He is Woody Allen, and he walked the Red Carpet at the Chicago History Museum on July 21st, 2016, for his new film ‘Café Society.’

Red-Carpet Video Interviews: ‘Café Society’ Filmmaker Woody Allen

Woody Allen, Cafe Society red carpet

CHICAGO – HollywoodChicago.com presents our red-carpet video coverage of the “Café Society” premiere in Chicago on July 21, 2016. We interview legendary filmmaker Woody Allen along with executive producer Ron Chez and Metropolitan Capital Bancorp Chairman/CEO Michael Rose at the Chicago History Museum.

Film Review: ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ Too Thin to be Completely Winning

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

CHICAGO – As far as TV shows that fans wish could be movies, the cult hit “Absolutely Fabulous” was high on the list. The adventures of Patsy and Edina, two middle age Brits with an appetite for self medication, has had a dedicated following since it premiered in 1992. Even though there were six full TV seasons, and various reunions, “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” has emerged.

‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ Too Thin to be Completely Winning

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – As far as TV shows that fans wish could be movies, the cult hit “Absolutely Fabulous” was high on the list. The adventures of Patsy and Edina, two middle age Brits with an appetite for self medication, has had a dedicated following since it premiered in 1992. Even though there were six full TV seasons, and various reunions, “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” has emerged.

Film Review: Old Hollywood Glamour in Woody Allen’s ‘Café Society’

CHICAGO – In the 1930s, the contrast between the world of Hollywood movie sparkle and the rest of a Depression-era America was as different as peasants and kings. Writer/director Woody Allen captures this dichotomy with an East Coast/West Coast tale of one family in “Café Society.”

Old Hollywood Glamour in Woody Allen’s ‘Café Society’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – In the 1930s, the contrast between the world of Hollywood movie sparkle and the rest of a Depression-era America was as different as peasants and kings. Writer/director Woody Allen captures this dichotomy with an East Coast/West Coast tale of one family in “Café Society.”

Slideshow: Ethan Hawke, A-List Authors Highlight 2016 Chicago Printers Row Lit Fest

| Image 1 of 4 |
Actor Ethan Hawke for his new graphic novel, ‘Indeh.’

CHICAGO – Actor Ethan Hawke continues his plethora of vocations with the “hawkeing” of “Indeh,” his new graphic novel (co-authored with Greg Ruth) at the 2016 Printers Row Lit Fest in June. He was the celebrity spotlight, but the festival also featured the heavy hitters of the literary world, including notables Terry McMillan (“How Stella Got Her Groove Back”) and R.L.“Goosebumps” Stine.

Film Review: ‘Star Trek Beyond’ is a Blast of Starship Adventure

CHICAGO – In the equation of the Star Trek universe, what works best is the emotional connection to the iconic crew. Co-screenwriter Simon Pegg – also portraying Scotty – knew this, and saved the rebooted series from its bloated second film. A magnificent adventure awaits with ‘Star Trek Beyond.’

‘Star Trek Beyond’ is a Blast of Starship Adventure

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – In the equation of the Star Trek universe, what works best is the emotional connection to the iconic crew. Co-screenwriter Simon Pegg – also portraying Scotty – knew this, and saved the rebooted series from its bloated second film. A magnificent adventure awaits with ‘Star Trek Beyond.’

Interview: Actor Paul Dooley of ‘Breaking Away,’ ‘Sixteen Candles’

CHICAGO – If there ever was a quintessential “Dad” in movies of the last generation, it would have to be Paul Dooley. The comedian and character actor is best known for portraying the patriarch in “Breaking Away” (1979) and “Sixteen Candles” (1984), but was also in director’s Robert Altman’s ‘ensemble’ and has had a stellar career.

Film Review: Realistic, Difficult Lives Are Exposed in ‘Wiener-Dog’

Wiener-Dog

CHICAGO –Director Todd Solondz has made a career out of not shying away from the most uncomfortable negativities of life. From extreme disconnection (“Happiness”) to pedophilia (“Life During Wartime”) to the sad rejection of pre-teen years (“Welcome to the Dollhouse”), Solondz pulls no punches. He achieves that harsh intent yet again in “Wiener-Dog.”

Realistic, Difficult Lives Are Exposed in ‘Wiener-Dog’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO –Director Todd Solondz has made a career out of not shying away from the most uncomfortable negativities of life. From extreme disconnection (“Happiness”) to pedophilia (“Life During Wartime”) to the sad rejection of pre-teen years (“Welcome to the Dollhouse”), Solondz pulls no punches. He achieves that harsh intent yet again in “Wiener-Dog.”

Interview: Roger Ross Williams Creates a ‘Life, Animated’

CHICAGO – The mystery of the particulars within an autistic mind is a theme in a new documentary, as a man named Owen Suskind is profiled through his personal breakthroughs using the animated films of the Walt Disney Studios. Director Roger Ross Williams introduces the unusual journey in the compelling “Life, Animated.”

Interview: Director Matt Ross Promotes ‘Captain Fantastic’

CHICAGO – In this year of morally unique relationship films (“Swiss Army Man”), add the recently released “Captain Fantastic” to the mix. The film, written and directed by Matt Ross, is like a fable of unintended consequences, where a father raises his children to live off the ‘grid,’ away from typical 2016 civilization.

Film Review: ‘Ghostbusters’ Entertains, But Lacks the Paul Feig Edge

CHICAGO –Throughout the reboot of “Ghostbusters,” it becomes obvious that co-writer/director Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids,” “The Heat”) is just going to do a straight re-do of the 1984 film, because the film lacks his sardonic touch, even though it does entertain and has the requisite big special effects.

‘Ghostbusters’ Entertains, But Lacks the Paul Feig Edge

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO –Throughout the reboot of “Ghostbusters,” it becomes obvious that co-writer/director Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids,” “The Heat”) is just going to do a straight re-do of the 1984 film, because the film lacks his sardonic touch, even though it does entertain and has the requisite big special effects.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 20 Pairs of Passes to ‘Captain Fantastic’ With Viggo Mortensen

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 20 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival hit dramaCaptain Fantastic” starring Viggo Mortensen and Steve Zahn!

Photo Gallery: Summerfest 2016, Day 6 & 7: blink-182, All Time Low & Hunter Hayes

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blink182-1.jpg

CHICAGO – HollywoodChicago.com’s coverage of Summerfest in Milwaukee forges on with Day 6 and 7 photos by photographers Jeff Doles and Layne Lindroth. Here we bring you front-row shots of blink-182, All Time Low, Milky Chance, Hunter Hayes, Hey Marseilles, X Ambassadors and DJ Devast8. Enjoy!

Exclusive Portraits: Scarlett Johansson Receives Gene Siskel Film Center Renaissance Award

CHICAGO – She’s conquered the box office as the top grossing female star of all time, and she’s had a series of big superhero and prestige films. The Gene Siskel Film Center honored Scarlett Johansson with their Renaissance Award, at the Ritz Carlton in Chicago on June 20th, 2016.

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  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

  • Wonder Woman

    CHICAGO – There are few films in 2017 that are as historically important as they are cinematically well-crafted. Of those, there is only one I saw three times in theaters. That honor comes in the form of the revolutionary “Wonder Woman,” which not only shows huge promise for the future of DC Comics films but for comic book-based films as a whole.

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