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March 2017

Interviews: Red Carpet Premiere of Made-in-Chicago Film ‘Landline’

aLandlinefronta.jpg

CHICAGO – Local Chicago filmmaking got a major debut last weekend with the premiere of “Landline,” written, directed and starring Matthew Aaron. Appropriately, he got the World Champion Chicago Cubs involved, as the plot includes a PR agency pitching a new campaign to the team. The Red Carpet walk had a couple of featured performers in the film who both are Chicago natives – Jim O’Heir (“Parks and Recreation”) and comedian Jay Washington. “Landline” has a one week run at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre (details below), and on Tuesday, April 4th, 2017, the film will be released digitally through most TV and internet providers.

Film News: Chicago’s DOC10 Fest Presents ‘Whose Streets?’ on Mar. 31, 2017

2017 DOC10 'Whose Streets?'

CHICAGO – The 2017 DOC10 Film Festival, now in its second year in Chicago, is spotlighting an incendiary and inspiring documentary for its March 31st showcase presentation at the Davis Theatre. “Whose Streets?” is a chronicle of the events in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the killing of African American teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson. The film explores the coming together of community and the injustice within the Ferguson law enforcement system. For complete details and to purchase tickets for “Whose Streets?”, and other documentaries at DOC10 through Sunday, April 2nd, click here.

Film Review: Alec Baldwin Puts the Funny in ‘The Boss Baby’

CHICAGO – The young Alec Baldwin (think “Prelude to a Kiss”) never seemed as prevalent as the today’s Alec Baldwin. Taking his “30 Rock” persona to a different level, he voices the title character of ‘The Boss Baby,” the latest from Dreamworks Animation and director Tom McGrath.

Alec Baldwin Puts the Funny in ‘The Boss Baby’

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

CHICAGO – The young Alec Baldwin (think “Prelude to a Kiss”) never seemed as prevalent as the today’s Alec Baldwin. Taking his “30 Rock” persona to a different level, he voices the title character of ‘The Boss Baby,” the latest from Dreamworks Animation and director Tom McGrath.

Interview: Director Tom McGrath is Boss of ‘The Boss Baby’

CHICAGO – In one of the most natural pieces of voice casting in cartoon history, Alec Baldwin portrays the title character in Dreamworks Animation’s “The Boss Baby.” The director is animation veteran Tom McGrath (“Madagascar”), and the producer is Ramsey Ann Naito, and they were both in Chicago to promote the film.

Interview: Director FU Tien Yu of ‘My Egg Boy’ at Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema on Mar. 29, 2017

CHICAGO – The biological clock ticks for all women, and this life event is magnanimously given a wildly creative treatment in the new film “My Egg Boy.” This story from Taiwan is part of the fourth season of the Asian Pop-Up Cinema series in Chicago.

Film Review: Suspenseful ‘Life’ is Tense, Compelling Science Fiction

CHICAGO – Combining the invasion elements of “Alien” with the life-raft-in-space morbidity of “Gravity,” the new film “Life” maintains a grip from the enlightened beginning to the twisted end. Mars is the origin, so the film joins “The Martian” and “The Space Between Us” in sourcing the red planet.

Suspenseful ‘Life’ is Tense, Compelling Science Fiction

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

CHICAGO – Combining the invasion elements of “Alien” with the life-raft-in-space morbidity of “Gravity,” the new film “Life” maintains a grip from the enlightened beginning to the twisted end. Mars is the origin, so the film joins “The Martian” and “The Space Between Us” in sourcing the red planet.

Film Review: ‘Power Rangers’ Reboot is a Stunning Bore

CHICAGO – The big budget “Power Rangers” reboot tests the limits of just how pedestrian a supposed $100 million dollar blockbuster can be. Part of that is due to the fact that superhero movies are a dime a dozen these days, and a movie has to have something more than just silver screen quality special effects to set it apart.

‘Power Rangers’ Reboot is a Stunning Bore

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

CHICAGO – The big budget “Power Rangers” reboot tests the limits of just how pedestrian a supposed $100 million dollar blockbuster can be. Part of that is due to the fact that superhero movies are a dime a dozen these days, and a movie has to have something more than just silver screen quality special effects to set it apart. But looking at the finished project – with its flat performances, sluggish pace, and ho-hum-yet-costly effects, it’s hard to see who was exactly asking for this anyway?

Film Review: Kristen Stewart is Hauntingly Captivating in ‘Personal Shopper’

CHICAGO – I’ve had a deep fascination with ghost stories since I was a kid. There is something both interesting and terrifying knowing that there are often unseen forces we could be encountering in our everyday life. Olivier Assayas creates an unexplainable phantasm thriller in “Personal Shopper” that remains completely captivating throughout even if you don’t understand what you just experienced.

Kristen Stewart is Hauntingly Captivating in ‘Personal Shopper’

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

CHICAGO – I’ve had a deep fascination with ghost stories since I was a kid. There is something both interesting and terrifying knowing that there are often unseen forces we could be encountering in our everyday life. Olivier Assayas creates an unexplainable phantasm thriller in “Personal Shopper” that remains completely captivating throughout even if you don’t understand what you just experienced.

Interview: Director Hunter Adams on Release of ‘Dig Two Graves’

Dig Two Graves

CHICAGO – One of the local filmmaker heroes has been Hunter Adams, the director of “Dig Two Graves.” Shot in Southern Illinois in the infamous “Little Egypt” area, Adams took a shoestring budget and created a tense and mysterious supernatural thriller. “Dig Two Graves” will get its theatrical and iTunes release on Friday, March 24th, 2017, and will play in Chicago at the AMC River East Theatre (details below).

Interview: Director Danny Boyle Goes Back to ‘T2 Trainspotting’

CHICAGO – Rarely does a filmmaker have a long or influential enough career to revisit a story and characters that they’ve explored in a previous film. Oscar winner Danny Boyle has both qualifications, as he again takes on – 20 years after its 1996 release – his classic film “Trainspotting, which is elegantly titled “T2 Trainspotting.”

Film News: Asian Pop-Up Cinema Presents Chicago Premiere of ‘The Search’ on Mar. 22, 2017

Search, The Tibet

CHICAGO – The fourth season of Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema series continues with the Chicago premiere of “The Search” on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017, at the AMC River East Theatre in downtown Chicago. “The Search” is the first film ever made in western China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, with a full Tibetan crew and language (with English subtitles). For complete details and to purchase tickets, click here.

Slideshow: The Hollywood Show in Chicagoland on Mar. 24-26, 2017

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Mariel Hemingway of ‘Manhattan’ and ‘Star 80.’

CHICAGO – “The Hollywood Show” is an exciting gathering of celebrities and memorabilia for movies, TV and pop culture fans. The latest edition is coming up – March 24th-26th, 2017 – at the Hyatt Rosemont/Chicago O’Hare Airport Hotel in Rosemont, Ill.

Interviews: Women in Film Chicago 2017 Focus Award Recipients

CHICAGO – Women in Film Chicago (WIFC) continues its role as one of the best resource and advocacy groups for women filmmakers. Last month, they celebrated their Focus Awards and honored four women – producer Julie Smolyansky, cinematographer Tari Segal, filmmaker Mary Morten and comedian Julia Sweeney.

Slideshow: Heroes & Villains Fest, Walker Stalker Con in Chicago on Mar. 25-26, 2017

| Image 1 of 17 |
David Mazouz, portrays young Bruce Wayne on ‘Gotham.’

CHICAGO – Of the pop culture gatherings in the Chicagoland area, nothing provides the sheer fun of today’s comic-inspired TV shows and movies like “Heroes & Villains Fest” and “Walker Stalker Con.” Not only is there an opportunity to meet the performers who star in the shows and movies, but the H&V Fest is also an interactive hero experience, with zip lines, obstacle course and safe archery, and i

Interviews: 53rd Chicago International Television Awards on Mar. 23, 2017

CIFF TV Awards 2916

CHICAGO –The 53rd Chicago International Television Awards, a companion celebration to the Chicago International Television Festival – and presented by Cinema/Chicago, the organization who presents the Chicago International Film Festival – will take place Thursday, March 23rd, 2017, and will honor entertainment reporter Dean Richards, advertising guru Joe Sedelmeier and the newly-formed-but-already-influential Amazon Studios. The entire television festival will take place from March 21st to the 23rd at the AMC River East 21, and screenings are free and open to the public. Click here for a complete schedule and details.

Entertainment News: Hail Hail Rocker Chuck Berry, Who Dies at 90

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO – One of rock and roll music’s last living pioneers, Chuck Berry, was found dead in his home in St. Charles County, Missouri, on Mar. 18, 2017. He was the “Father of Rock ‘n Roll” for his hit songs in the 1950s, but Berry was also known for his controversies and live concert style. He was 90 years old.

Theater Review: Nothing Without a Company’s ‘The Kid Thing’ is Fulfilling & Authentic

Kid Thing, The

CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

Film Review: ‘The Sense of an Ending’ Ponders a Vague Mystery

Sense of an Ending, The

CHICAGO – “The Sense of an Ending” is a highfalutin title, automatically putting most folks into book club mode. It is adapted from a novel, and the narrative has the same page turning-type rhythm. An old man, portrayed by Jim Broadbent, is encountering his past, while his current situation remains untenable.

‘The Sense of an Ending’ Ponders a Vague Mystery

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

CHICAGO – “The Sense of an Ending” is a highfalutin title, automatically putting most folks into book club mode. It is adapted from a novel, and the narrative has the same page turning-type rhythm. An old man, portrayed by Jim Broadbent, is encountering his past, while his current situation remains untenable.

Film Review: Flawless ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a New Classic

CHICAGO – Do not doubt the power of live action to create a new atmosphere of joy and…dare I say it…beauty. The re-imagining of the animated classic “Beauty and the Beast” is everything that the previous was and much more. It packs a true and emotional wallop that follows through to the end.

Flawless ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a New Classic

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

CHICAGO – Do not doubt the power of live action to create a new atmosphere of joy and…dare I say it…beauty. The re-imagining of the animated classic “Beauty and the Beast” is everything that the previous was and much more. It packs a true and emotional wallop that follows through to the end.

Podcast Interview: John Michael Conjures Up ‘Meatball Seance’

Meatball Seance

CHICAGO – When interviewing the Chicago monologist John Michael, it’s best to hear it straight from the source. HollywoodChicago.com presents a podcast interview with John Michael, whose current one-man show is “Meatball Seance.” The show has a Thursday night slot at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood through April 6, 2017. Details are below.

Slideshow: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of ‘Three’s Company’

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REUNION: Priscilla Barnes, Joyce DeWitt, Richard Kline and Jenilee Harrison of ‘Three’s Company.’

CHICAGO – The first invitation to “c’mon knock on our door…” happened 40 years ago TODAY as “Three’s Company” premiered on ABC-TV on March 15th, 1977. The misadventures of three roommates – two girls and a guy – featured John Ritter as Jack Tripper, Joyce DeWitt as Janet Wood and Suzanne Somers as Chrissy Snow. Joining them was wacky best friend Richard Kline as Larry Dallas, and when Suzanne Somers left the show after Season 5, her role in the threesome was taken by Jenilee Harrison as Cindy Snow and then Priscilla Barnes as Terri Alden. DeWitt, Kline, Harrison and Barnes reunited last September at “The Hollywood Show,” and photographer Joe Arce captured their reunion EXCLUSIVELY for HollywoodChicago.com.

Theater Review: Ease on Down to Kokandy’s Sensational ‘The Wiz’

CHICAGO – When stage theater can cause outbreaks of elation, celebration and joy, then it must be due to Kokandy Productions’ revival of “The Wiz.” The urban reinterpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” story – told through tuneful euphoria and jubilant dance – is ecstatically produced, in every morsel of its stagecraft.

Film Review: Emotionally Animated ‘My Life as a Zucchini’

My Life as a Zucchini

CHICAGO – Leave it to the Europeans to inject some realistic drama into the art of animation. The recently Oscar nominated “My Life as a Zucchini” is opening in Chicago this weekend, and tells the story of parental abandonment, orphanages and finding family. Co-produced by France and Switzerland, it uses a familiar claymation stop-motion style for more emotional resonance.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 10th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • 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).

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