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June 2017

2017 Chicago Open Air Festival to Run From July 14-16, 2017

Chicago Open Air Festival

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – One of the biggest rock festivals in the country will soon take place in the Chicagoland area. The second-annual Chicago Open Air Festival will feature a full arsenal of rock artists and will take place at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. from July 14 to 16, 2017.

Red-Carpet Video Interview: ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ Star Josh Duhamel

Josh Duhamel in Transformers: The Last Knight

CHICAGOJosh Duhamel walked the Chicago red carpet for the premiere of “Transformers: The Last Knight” on June 20, 2017. He talked to Adam Fendelman of HollywoodChicago.com about working with director Michael Bay and this film appealing to a younger demographic (including Josh’s son).

Red-Carpet Video Interview: ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ Star Laura Haddock

Laura Haddock in Transformers: The Last Knight

CHICAGOLaura Haddock, the new leading lady in “Transformers: The Last Knight,” walked the Chicago red carpet for the premiere of the film on June 20, 2017. She talked to Adam Fendelman of HollywoodChicago.com about working with director Michael Bay and how her real-life OCD tendencies played into her controlling Vivian Wembley character.

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Remembers the Films of Director John G. Avildsen

John G. Avildsen

CHICAGO – His films were more popular than his name, but director John G. Avildsen did put his mark on the last 30 years of 20th Century movies. Avildsen died last week at the age of 81. He is known best for the Oscar Best Picture-winning “Rocky” (1976), but also did the controversial “Joe” (1970), “Save the Tiger” (1973, Best Actor Oscar for Jack Lemmon), John Belushi’s last film “Neighbors” (1981), “The Karate Kid” (1984), “Lean on Me” (1989) and “8 Seconds” (1994). Patrick McDonald, Spike Walters and Jon Espino of HollywoodChicago.com offer three essays on their Avildsen favorites.

Red-Carpet Video Interview: ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ Star Anthony Hopkins

CHICAGO – Adam Fendelman of HollywoodChicago.com interviews Hollywood legend Sir Anthony Hopkins at the red-carpet premiere of “Transformers: The Last Knight” in Chicago on June 20, 2017. Recently nicknamed T-Hop, we discuss his obsessive-compulsive disorder, feeding his brain, geeking out on history and astronomy and more!

Red-Carpet Video Clip: Optimus Prime Voice Artist Peter Cullen for ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’

Optimus Prime voice artist Peter Cullen for Transformers: The Last Knight

CHICAGO – “Transformers: The Last Knight” held its star-studded premiere in Chicago on June 20, 2017. On the red carpet, Adam Fendelman of HollywoodChicago.com asked Optimus Prime voice artist Peter Cullen to jump into character and say the line in the trailer: “For my world to live, yours must die.”

Red-Carpet Video Interview: ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ Writers Ken Nolan, Matt Holloway, Art Marcum

Transformers: The Last Knight writers Ken Nolan, Matt Holloway, Art Marcum

CHICAGO – “Transformers: The Last Knight” held its star-studded premiere in Chicago on June 20, 2017. On the red carpet, Adam Fendelman of HollywoodChicago.com interviewed writers Ken Nolan, Matt Holloway and Art Marcum about their writers’ room process.

Red-Carpet Video Clip: Megatron Voice Artist Frank Welker for ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’

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CHICAGO – “Transformers: The Last Knight” held its star-studded premiere in Chicago on June 20, 2017. On the red carpet, Adam Fendelman of HollywoodChicago.com asked voice artist Frank Welker to jump into character to voice Decepticons including Megatron and Soundwave.

Film News: Merle Hayden, Subject of ‘Manlife: The Last of the Lawsonians,’ Dies at 96

Merle Hayden

RACINE, WIS – The last of the Lawsonians has now passed on. Merle Hayden, six days after he made an appearance on Closing Night at the Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF), died on June 10th, 2017, of natural causes in Racine, Wisconsin. He was 96 years old. His life was the subject of a World Premiere documentary shown at CUFF, “Manlife: The Last of the Lawsonians” on June 4th. Mr. Hayden made an appearance at that screening, lucidly participated in a Q&A and got to celebrate the achievement of his life’s work brought to a cinematic form.

Film Review: ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ is Bizarrely Enjoyable

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.

‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ is Bizarrely Enjoyable

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

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.

Interview, Audio: Director Ana Lily Amirpour Stirs up ‘The Bad Batch’

CHICAGO – The dystopia – or negative future world – is a genre staple, from “Soylent Green” to “Max Max.” The latest film to ponder the possibilities is “The Bad Batch,” from writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour. This is her sophomore feature, after “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” and features Suki Waterhouse in the lead role.

Film Review: Emotionally Perfect Cowboy Elegy in ‘The Hero’

CHICAGO – The great character actor Sam Elliott – known mostly for his cowboy roles in film/TV and his unique bass sounding voiceovers – gets an opportunity to deliver a nuanced and emotional performance as a hyper-realized version of himself. There is virtue and truth in this character journey.

Emotionally Perfect Cowboy Elegy in ‘The Hero’

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

CHICAGO – The great character actor Sam Elliott – known mostly for his cowboy roles in film/TV and his unique bass sounding voiceovers – gets an opportunity to deliver a nuanced and emotional performance as a hyper-realized version of himself. There is virtue and truth in this character journey.

Music Review: Iron Maiden Conjures the Soul of Heavy Metal in Chicagoland Concert

Iron Maiden, photo by Jeff Doles

CHICAGO – On a hot and humid night – with dark ominous clouds enveloping the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Tinley Park, Ill. on June 15th, 2017 – the crowd gathered to see Iron Maiden, and spilled into their seats like a cold beer from the tap. The heavy metal-loving masses, with their torn jeans and ever-present mullets, got ready for the latest show in the band’s “The Book of Souls” World Tour by responding in Pavlovian fashion to UFO’s “Doctor Doctor” (Maiden’s intro song), as it boomed from the venue’s speakers.

Film Review: ‘The Book of Henry’ Generates a Different Story Vibe

Book of Henry, The

CHICAGO – There are some total exasperations in “The Book of Henry”… numerous ones that are almost deal breakers. But somehow, some way, the strange twists and ideas take over, and the film becomes fable-like, examining a different line of story elements that switch from one character to another. Director Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic Park” reboot) reveals a love in what he is doing in this film, and that also counts for something.

‘The Book of Henry’ Generates a Different Story Vibe

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

CHICAGO – There are some total exasperations in “The Book of Henry”… numerous ones that are almost deal breakers. But somehow, some way, the strange twists and ideas take over, and the film becomes fable-like, examining a different line of story elements that switched from one character to another. Director Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic Park” reboot) reveals a love in what he is doing in this film, and that also counts for something.

Film Review: ‘Rough Night’ is More Than Just a Diamond in the Rough

CHICAGO - The idiotic notion in Hollywood (and in the basements of fanboy mothers everywhere) that women can’t be funny is a joke in itself. Women have been forced to prove themselves on the male-dominated comedic circuit and have come out as successful as their male counterparts. “Rough Night”, despite all of its flaws, is just the most recent example of that.

‘Rough Night’ is More Than Just a Diamond in the Rough

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

CHICAGO – The idiotic notion in Hollywood (and in the basements of fanboy mothers everywhere) that women can’t be funny is a joke in itself. Women have been forced to prove themselves on the male-dominated comedic circuit and have come out as successful as their male counterparts. “Rough Night”, despite all of its flaws, is just the most recent example of that.

Podcast Talk: Dan Pal on the ‘Queer Bits Film Festival’ in Chicago on June 17, 2017

Queer Bits Film Festival

CHICAGO – June is Pride Month, a celebration of LGBTQ liberation, and all other forms of orientation and gender liberation. What began as a gay and trans rights flashpoint on a June night in 1969, during the push back riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, has become a month-long commemoration of the evolution in identity rights and freedoms. An event in Chicago associated with Pride Month is the annual “Queer Bits Film Festival” – a short film program at the Pride Arts Center on North Broadway on June 17th, 2017 at 7:30pm – that showcases the best of Queer cinema from around the world. The festival producers are Shaun Baer and Dan Pal.

Film Review: ‘Cars 3’ Puts Series Franchise Back on Right Track

CHICAGO – The Cars movies continue to be the kiddieland of Pixar Animation franchises. Kids adore them, parents tolerate them. Unlike the best of Pixar’s output, the Cars films are lovingly crafted cartoons aimed squarely at kids with far more attention detail than the average fare you’d find scrolling through Netflix. The best that can be said is that “Cars 3” represents a considerable step up from “Cars 2”.

‘Cars 3’ Puts Series Franchise Back on Right Track

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

CHICAGO – The Cars movies continue to be the kiddieland of Pixar Animation franchises. Kids adore them, parents tolerate them. Unlike the best of Pixar’s output, the Cars films are lovingly crafted cartoons aimed squarely at kids with far more attention detail than the average fare you’d find scrolling through Netflix. The best that can be said is that “Cars 3” represents a considerable step up from “Cars 2”.

Interview, Audio: Documentary Director Steve James on ‘Abacus: Small Enough to Jail’

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

CHICAGO – The documentary maker Steve James, one of the best in the history of cinema, has a resume of quality reporting through feature film that is stunning in its context. The director of “Hoop Dreams,” “Stevie,” “The Interrupters,” “Head Games” and the Roger Ebert biography “Life Itself” has a new doc, focusing on one repercussion of the financial crisis of 2008, subtly entitled “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.

Exclusive Portraits: Joey McIntyre of New Kids on the Block, Performing in Chicago June 16, 2017

Joey McIntyre, photo by Joe Arce.

CHICAGO – It’s time for a certain generation to get their screams of adulation ready, as New Kids on the Block – also known as NKOTB – are back on the road and appearing in Chicagoland at Allstate Arena in nearby Rosemont, Ill., on June 15 & 16, 2017. Joey McIntyre is one of the band members, and he also had a new mock reality premiere in April of 2017 called “Return of the Mac” (Pop TV Channel). HollywoodChicago.com was there to capture some Exclusive Portraits of “The Mac,” when he appeared at Studio Xfinity in Chicago in March to promote the show.

TV Feature: HollywoodChicago.com on Three Parts of Adam West

CHICAGO – As they say about Adam West’s interpretation of Batman, “he hit so hard, that words describing the impact appeared out of thin air.” But there was more to him than just the superhero tights, as Patrick McDonald, Spike Walters and Jon Espino of HollywoodChicago.com remember the three main characters in the career of Adam West, who passed away last week.

Interview, Audio: Director Brett Haley Discovers ‘The Hero’

CHICAGO – The familiar character actor and voiceover artist, Sam Elliott, has been breaking out in that latter part of his career. Known for his cowboy roles, smooth bass-tone voice and epic mustache, the icon has been seen lately in diverse roles in “Grandma,” “Digging for Fire,” “Grace and Frankie” and his latest – and perhaps greatest – “The Hero.”

Photo Gallery: Brad Paisley’s Surprise Performance at Barrington High School’s Class of 2017 Graduation

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Brad Paisley at Barrington High School

CHICAGOBarrington High School’s class of 2017 graduation drew a surprise performance from country music star Brad Paisley. HollywoodChicago.com photographer Jeff Doles brings you the photos!

Film Review: ‘It Comes at Night’ is a Terror-Filled, Nightmarish Delight

CHICAGO – Good horror films are difficult to find. Last year, we got the extremely satisfying horror film, “The Witch,” with breakout star Charlie the goat, AKA Black Phillip. Horror films that aren’t franchised cliches are hard to come by, but “It Comes at Night” delivers. The entire atmosphere is mysterious and foreboding. We go into this film blind as if we were stumbling through a forest at night. That is where we find the terrors, and ourselves.

‘It Comes at Night’ is a Terror-Filled, Nightmarish Delight

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

CHICAGO – Good horror films are difficult to find. Last year, we got the extremely satisfying horror film, “The Witch,” with breakout star Charlie the goat, AKA Black Phillip. Horror films that aren’t franchised cliches are hard to come by, but “It Comes at Night” delivers. The entire atmosphere is mysterious and foreboding. We go into this film blind as if we were stumbling through a forest at night. That is where we find the terrors, and ourselves.

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  • Adam West, LIFE Magazine

    CHICAGO – As they say about Adam West’s interpretation of Batman, “he hit so hard, that words describing the impact appeared out of thin air.” But there was more to him than just the superhero tights, as Patrick McDonald, Spike Walters and Jon Espino of HollywoodChicago.com remember the three main characters in the career of Adam West, who passed away last week.

  • Jeff Awards, 2017

    CHICAGO – The 44th edition of the Non-Equity Jeff Awards were given out on June 5th, 2017, at what insiders call “the theater prom.” The event honors the non-union smaller or “storefront” theater companies, and their efforts to produce quality stage work. Hosted in grand style by Alexis Roston and Lillian Castillo, the recipients of the top play was “At the Table” by the Broken Nose Theatre and top musical was “High Fidelity” by the Refuge Theatre Project.

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