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October 2016

Exclusive Portrait: A Happy ‘Halloween’ from Jamie Lee Curtis

CHICAGO – It was 38 years ago that the seminal horror film “Halloween” was released, and its impact made a star out of the heroine in the film, Jamie Lee Curtis. Curtis was in the Chicago area in September to promote her new children’s book, “This is Me: The Story of Who and Where We Came From,” (illustrated by Laura Cornell).

Film News: Award Honorees at 52nd Chicago International Film Festival

Sieranevada

CHICAGO – The recently completed 52nd Chicago International Film Festival offered a world perspective on cinema, and honors the films that will influence the arts culture for years to come. Their Awards Night was October 21st, 2016, and was hosted by Richard Roeper, film critic of the Chicago Sun Times. The recipient of the top prize of the fest, the Gold Hugo, was “Sieranevada” (Romania), directed by Cristi Puiu.

Film Review: Redemptive & Emotional Journey Dances in ‘Moonlight’

CHICAGO – We are all victims of our own circumstances. How we interact with this circumstance, given our DNA, social nurturing, family and relationship ties are thrown in the air like organic confetti, landing here and there, and often in smaller and smaller pieces. “Moonlight” is a film full of this absolution.

Redemptive & Emotional Journey Dances in ‘Moonlight’

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

CHICAGO – We are all victims of our own circumstances. How we interact with this circumstance, given our DNA, social nurturing, family and relationship ties are thrown in the air like organic confetti, landing here and there, and often in smaller and smaller pieces. “Moonlight” is a film full of this absolution.

Film Review: ‘Inferno’ Was Damned From The Start

CHICAGO – You can’t keep a good conspiracy down. Tom Hanks returns to a role we thought had joined the pages of history his character was so eager to uncover. Like the previous films in the franchise, “Inferno” promises to deliver a new problem to solve even though they never attempt to fix any of the cinematic and narrative flaws from its past.

‘Inferno’ Was Damned From The Start

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – You can’t keep a good conspiracy down. Tom Hanks returns to a role we thought had joined the pages of history his character was so eager to uncover. Like the previous films in the franchise, “Inferno” promises to deliver a new problem to solve even though they never attempt to fix any of the cinematic and narrative flaws from its past.

Slideshow: Red-Carpet Portraits from the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival

| Image 1 of 18 |
OPENING NIGHT: Rosemarie DeWitt of ‘La La Land.’

CHICAGO – The glamor and the action always takes place on the Red Carpet, and the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival had one virtually every night of their two week 2016 run. New and veteran celebrities walked the carpet, representing their films or being honored at the fest, and HollywoodChicago.com was there.

Interview: Geraldine Chaplin, at 52nd Chicago International Film Festival

CHICAGO – She is the oldest daughter of movie legend Charlie Chaplin, from his fourth marriage to Oona O’Neill, but she also was a spectacular actress in her own right. She is Geraldine Chaplin, and she was honored at the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival, and was president on a film jury for the fest.

Exclusive Red-Carpet Portrait: Director Steve McQueen at 52nd Chicago International Film Festival

Steve McQueen, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – He may share a name with a notable movie star, but director Steve McQueen has made his own mark in cinema in a very short time. After his debut with “Hunger” (2008), he followed with the shocking “Shame” (2011). As producer, he won the Academy Award for Best Picture for “12 Years a Slave” (2013), a film he also directed.

Exclusive Red-Carpet Portraits: Taraji P. Henson at 52nd Chicago International Film Festival

CHICAGO – Popular actress Taraji P. Henson (“Hustle & Flow,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) was showcased at the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival on October 23rd, 2016, as she walked the Red Carpet and presented highlights from her upcoming film, “Hidden Figures.”

Film Review: No Need to Bother ‘Keeping Up with the Joneses’

Keeping Up with the Joneses

CHICAGO – “Keeping Up With The Joneses” illustrates how hard it really is to make a funny action comedy. After watching this, I have begun to think that the ones that work are something of anomaly – more often than not they’re like this. An amiable but aimless project that can’t quite grasp what it wants to be and doesn’t have the vision or the laughs to sustain itself.

Private Video Interview: Oscar-Nominated Actress & Singer Hailee Steinfeld for ‘The Edge of Seventeen’

CHICAGO – HollywoodChicago.com publisher Adam Fendelman brings you this private interview with Oscar-nominated actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld for the new film “The Edge of Seventeen” with Hailee, Woody Harrelson, Kyra Sedgwick, Haley Lu Richardson and Hayden Szeto.

No Need to Bother ‘Keeping Up with the Joneses’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “Keeping Up With The Joneses” illustrates how hard it really is to make a funny action comedy. After watching this, I have begun to think that the ones that work are something of anomaly – more often than not they’re like this. An amiable but aimless project that can’t quite grasp what it wants to be and doesn’t have the vision or the laughs to sustain itself.

Film Review: Familiar Spirits Gives New LIfe to ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’

CHICAGO – Like many of the creatures or villains it inspires, the horror genre has been slowly decaying for years now. In a time of reboots and tired sequels, 2016 has shown us glimpses of future promise by revisiting elements of the past. Flanagan continues this hot streak, one he helped create with “Hush” earlier this year, with the prequel “Ouija: Origin of Evil”.

Familiar Spirits Gives New Life to ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’

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

CHICAGO – Like many of the creatures or villains it inspires, the horror genre has been slowly decaying for years now. In a time of reboots and tired sequels, 2016 has shown us glimpses of future promise by revisiting elements of the past. Flanagan continues this hot streak, one he helped create with “Hush” earlier this year, with the prequel “Ouija: Origin of Evil”.

Film Review: Take the Title Advice in ‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’

CHICAGO – The title of Tom Cruise’s second Jack Reacher adventure has almost prophetic ring to it – but we all would have been better off if the writers, and director and star of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” had heeded the advice. This film seems more like one of those bargain-bin-just-barely-released thrillers than a major studio action movie.

Take the Title Advice in ‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

CHICAGO – The title of Tom Cruise’s second Jack Reacher adventure has almost prophetic ring to it – but we all would have been better off if the writers, and director and star of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” had heeded the advice. This film seems more like one of those bargain-bin-just-barely-released thrillers than a major studio action movie.

Preview: Second-Week Films at 52nd Chicago International Film Festival

CIFF 2016 2nd Week Films

CHICAGO – It’s Week Two of the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival, and with Closing Night coming next Thursday, what film gems still are yet to see? The film reviewers of HollywoodChicago.com has been previewing several second week screenings, and offers the following capsule summaries.

Film Review: ‘American Pastoral’ Should Have Been Put to Pasture

CHICAGO – Change can be a frightening part of life and the human experience. It is an unavoidable but often necessary transition for progress. If you fight change or innovation, the stagnation alone will weigh you down and hold you back. “American Pastoral” may deal with the themes of revolution, but that’s about all that is revolutionary or unique about this film.

‘American Pastoral’ Should Have Been Put to Pasture

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Change can be a frightening part of life and the human experience. It is an unavoidable but often necessary transition for progress. If you fight change or innovation, the stagnation alone will weigh you down and hold you back. “American Pastoral” may deal with the themes of revolution, but that’s about all that is revolutionary or unique about this film.

Interview: Jennifer Zhang for ‘A-Squared’ Asian American Performing Arts Festival From Oct. 20-23, 2016

Jennifer Zhang

CHICAGO – Chicago’s cultural scene is diverse and expansive, and nothing proves that more than the “A-Squared” Theatre presenting the Asian American Performing Arts Festival – now through Sunday, October 23rd, 2016 (link below). One of the performers at the fest is Jennifer Zhang, who is a musician, actress and model, and has also represented the city as “Miss Friendship Ambassador of Chicago” through the Asian community.

Interview: Director Icon Peter Bogdanovich Honored at 52nd Chicago International Film Festival

CHICAGO – If Peter Bogdanovich had only been a film writer and critic, he still would have made a major contribution to cinema culture. But he also chose to direct, and besides producing arguably one of the best American films ever made (“The Last Picture Show”), he continues to work and fulfill his creative vision.

Red-Carpet Video Interview: Michael Bolton on The Lonely Island’s ‘Jack Sparrow’

Michael Bolton at Gateway for Cancer Research gala

CHICAGO – HollywoodChicago.com publisher Adam Fendelman interviews Michael Bolton at the star-studded Gateway for Cancer Research red carpet at Navy Pier on Oct. 15, 2016. In this interview, Adam asks about the 2011 hit video “Jack Sparrow (featuring Michael Bolton)” from The Lonely Island (made up of Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone).

Red-Carpet Video Interview: CeeLo Green at Gateway for Cancer Research Gala

CHICAGO – HollywoodChicago.com publisher Adam Fendelman interviews CeeLo Green at the star-studded Gateway for Cancer Research red carpet at Navy Pier on Oct. 15, 2016.

Film Review: ‘American Honey’ is a New National Anthem for All of Us

American Honey

CHICAGO – The America we find ourselves in today would never have been imagined by our ancestors. Sure, we don’t have flying cars or robotic house servants but we do have different ways of life. “American Honey” shows the sweet and sour side of my generation’s new American Dream while keeping it infinitely relatable to everyone.

‘American Honey’ is a New National Anthem for All of Us

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

CHICAGO – The America we find ourselves in today would never have been imagined by our ancestors. Sure, we don’t have flying cars or robotic house servants but we do have different ways of life. “American Honey” shows the sweet and sour side of my generation’s new American Dream while keeping it infinitely relatable to everyone.

Preview: First Week of Films at 52nd Chicago International Film Festival

CHICAGO – It’s Week One of the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival, and with so many film opportunities to experience, what are some of the highlights? The intrepid film reviewers of HollywoodChicago.com has been sampling the cinema fare for the first week, and offers the following capsule summaries.

Film Review: ‘The Accountant’ is a Strange Indulgence for Ben Affleck

Accountant, The

CHICAGO – Remember the hilarious video of Ben Affleck during the “Batman v Superman” promotions, his blank stare synched up to the song “The Sound of Silence”? Well, he’s decided to take that expression to a mainstream role, as he blankly applies that manner to “The Accountant.”

‘The Accountant’ is a Strange Indulgence for Ben Affleck

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Remember the hilarious video of Ben Affleck during the “Batman v Superman” promotions, his blank stare synched up to the song “The Sound of Silence”? Well, he’s decided to take that expression to a mainstream role, as he blankly applies that manner to “The Accountant.”

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  • Downward Dog

    CHICAGO – From “Mr. Ed” to “Dog with a Blog,” talking animals have had their place on TV. The latest has origins as a web series, with the clever title “Downward Dog.” The show premieres on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 (9:30pEST/8:30pCST), on ABC TV, and features Ned the Dog as Martin, and human companions portrayed by Allison Tolman and Lucas Neff.

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.

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