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July 2017

Interview, Audio: Abby Quinn, Gillian Robespierre & Elisabeth Holm of ‘Landline’

Landline Abby Quinn, Elisabeth Holm, Gillian Robespierre photo by Patrick McDonald

CHICAGO – It takes a collaborative village to make a movie, and part of that collective came to Chicago to promote “Landline.” Director Gillian Robespierre, Co-Writer Elisabeth Holm and debut actress Abby Quinn were essential to the film, which is set in 1990s New York City and features Jenny Slate in the lead role.

Podcast: John Michael Revives ‘Meatball Seance’ at Mary’s Attic Chicago on July 31, 2017

Meatball Seance

CHICAGO – John Michael is back! Chicago’s favorite monologist is reviving his latest show, “Meatball Seance.” For the next two Mondays, July 31st and August 7th, 2017, Michael will perform at at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. In celebration of this funny and amazing audience participation show, HollywoodChicago.com reruns a podcast done with Michael in April of this year.

Interview, Audio: Actress Jenny Slate Answers the Call in ‘Landline’

CHICAGO – Jenny Slate keeps getting more high profile, both in voiceover work (“The Secret Life of Pets”) and as an actress. Her latest film is “Landline,” her second with director Gillian Robespierre. In the film, Slate portrays an engaged-to-be-married “adult” who is having trouble coming to terms with her life.

Interview, Audio: Monica Raymund of ‘Chicago Fire’ Debuts New Film ‘Tanya’ on Aug. 1, 2017

Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

Slideshow: Dolby Atmos Makes U.S. Debut at Chicago’s Sound-Bar on July 29, 2017

| Image 1 of 6 |
Innovative Dolby Atmos system is introduced at Chicago’s Sound-Bar.

CHICAGO – The latest sound innovation will make its U.S. debut right here in Chicago as the immersive, multi-dimensional sonic aura of Dolby Atmos will premiere at the iconic dance club Sound-Bar on July 29th, 2017. The club presentation will spin starting at 10pm with “Solarstone” from producer, composer and DJ Richard Mowatt. The audio system boasts no compression, 30 speakers and 22 channels of separation. Paired with Sound-bar’s legendary light show, the installation is one of the most inventive sound happenings to date.

Podcast Talk: Jerry Vasilatos of Chicago’s 48 Hour Film Project on Kickoff on July 30, 2017

48 Hour Film Project 2017

CHICAGO – For the 13th straight year, Chicago will host the 48 Hour Film Project. The international competition allows filmmakers to gather their production teams and challenges them to create a short film in only 48 hours. Producer Jerry Vasilatos is in charge of the Chicago competition and is hosting a meet and greet on July 30, 2017 at the Lincoln Tap Room on the North Side.

Film Review: ‘Detroit’ is Stark, Blunt & Honest U.S. History

CHICAGO – It has become clear to anyone who is making an observation about authority and “order” in America, that for certain people it comes with a severe price. “Detroit” explores an incident within the 1967 riots there, when white police officers raided a hotel and perpetuated crimes of their own.

‘Detroit’ is Stark, Blunt & Honest U.S. History

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

CHICAGO – It has become clear to anyone who is making an observation about authority and “order” in America, that for certain people it comes with a severe price. “Detroit” explores an incident within the 1967 riots there, when white police officers raided a hotel and perpetuated crimes of their own.

Theater Review: Brown Paper Box Co.’s ‘They’re Playing Our Song’ is Bright Entertainment

They're Playing Our Song

CHICAGO – During the late disco era of the 1970s, an unusual musical opened on Broadway. Essentially a two person stage play, “They’re Playing Our Song” involved a songwriter and a lyricist who develop a stronger connection than just writing partners. The always passionate Brown Paper Box Co. of Chicago has unearthed this chestnut with a bright and fun revival at the Rivendell Theatre through August 20th, 2017.

Film News: ‘La Choses De La Vie’ in French Film Series at Gene Siskel Center on July 24, 2017

La Chose De La Vie

CHICAGO – The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is in the midst of a series called “Journeys Through French Cinema.” The theme is based on filmmaker/film historian Bernard Tavernier’s documentary “My Journey Through French Cinema,” and highlights his experiences with the rich cinematic influences of French film. The series, which runs through August 2nd, 2017, is putting the spotlight on “La Choses De La Vie” (The Things of Life) on July 24th.

Film Review: ‘City of Ghosts’ Puts Citizen Faces on Syrian Crisis

CHICAGO – Syria has become a distant place, disconnected from the wider world through civil war and extreme sociopolitical instability, including the takeover of some regions by ISIS (the Islamic State). “City of Ghosts” looks at Raqqa, a Syrian city with the iron boot of ISIS on their necks, and the citizens who risk their lives to tell that story to the world.

‘City of Ghosts’ Puts Citizen Faces on Syrian Crisis

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

CHICAGO – Syria has become a distant place, disconnected from the wider world through civil war and extreme sociopolitical instability, including the takeover of some regions by ISIS (the Islamic State). “City of Ghosts” looks at Raqqa, a Syrian city with the iron boot of ISIS on their necks, and the citizens who risk their lives to tell that story to the world.

Film Review: Strong Performance Makes ‘Lady Macbeth’ a Cogent Character Study

ladymmain

CHICAGO - Separating a performance from the rest of the film is usually an easy task. One may be stronger than the other, or vice versa, but either way, they can be judged individually and as a whole. “Lady Macbeth” proves to be that rare character study where a single performance (from breakout actress Florence Pugh) not only makes the film but essentially is the film.

Strong Performance Makes ‘Lady Macbeth’ a Cogent Character Study

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

CHICAGO – Separating a performance from the rest of the film is usually an easy task. One may be stronger than the other, or vice versa, but either way, they can be judged individually and as a whole. “Lady Macbeth” proves to be that rare character study where a single performance (from breakout actress Florence Pugh) not only makes the film but essentially is the film.

Film News: Hollywood Icon Jane Fonda to be Honored by Cinema/Chicago on July 29, 2017

Jane Fonda

CHICAGO – Two time Oscar winner Jane Fonda will grace the Windy City, as she accepts a Career Achievement Award from Cinema/Chicago, and will participate in a tribute night on Saturday, July 29th, 2017. The event will take place at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, and will feature an on-stage conversation with Fonda, moderated by Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times. The evening is sponsored by SAGE Private Wealth Group, and includes partners American Airlines, Sound Investment AV, Chloe Wine Collection and Wansas Tequila.

Interview, Audio: Cindy Caponera, TV Writer for ‘I’m Dying Up Here’

CHICAGO – One of the great new premium channel TV series, which piggybacked on the “Twin Peaks” return on the Showtime Network, is “I’m Dying Up Here.” Set in the 1970s, it tells the stories of fictional stand up comedians in Los Angeles, and one of the Consulting Producers and series writers is Cindy Caponera.

Photo Gallery: 2017 Vans Warped Tour With Beartooth, Hatebreed, More

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Fans at 2017 Vans Warped Tour

CHICAGOVans Warped Tour rocked Chicago’s Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre on July 22, 2017. HollywoodChicago.com photographer Jeff Doles brings you front-row photos of Hatebreed, Knocked Loose, Hawthorne Heights and Beartooth! Click “Next” and “Previous” to scan through the Photo Gallery or jump directly to individual photos with the captioned links below. All photos © Jeff Doles of 238 Studios for HollywoodChicago.com

Film Review: Heroics of ‘Dunkirk’ Portrayed Ardently & Humanely

CHICAGO – War is hell, even in “The Good War.” The early days of World War II were a desperate time for the British, and the events of “Dunkirk” were largely about loss, yet mostly about inspiration. Director Christopher Nolan gives his film a grand cinematic treatment, evoking an era that has mostly faded away.

Heroics of ‘Dunkirk’ Portrayed Ardently & Humanely

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

CHICAGO – War is hell, even in “The Good War.” The early days of World War II were a desperate time for the British, and the events of “Dunkirk” were largely about loss, yet mostly about inspiration. Director Christopher Nolan gives his film a grand cinematic treatment, evoking an era that has mostly faded away.

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Remembers George A. Romero

CHICAGO – The man that practically invented the modern Zombie film genre had met his own demise. Director George A. Romero passed away on July 16th, 2017, in Los Angeles. He was 77. Romero launched a whole new wave of horror with “Night of the Living Dead” in 1968, and put Pittsburgh (PA) on the film location map.

Film News: Martin Landau, Oscar Winner for ‘Ed Wood,’ Dies at 89

LOS ANGELES – His acting career spanned from working with Alfred Hitchcock to Tim Burton. Along the way, he had significant TV and film roles including a Best Supporting Oscar win for portraying Bela Lugosi in Burton’s “Ed Wood”. Martin Landau died in Los Angeles on July 15, 2017. He was 89.

Music Review: 2017 Chicago Open Air Festival With Anthrax, Megadeth, Rob Zombie, KISS

Gene Simmons of Kiss at Chicago Open Air Festival. Photo by Jeff Doles

CHICAGO – Watching a heavy metal band perform during daylight can be a little like watching a horror film with the lights on. The overall performance can sometimes lose a bit of its edge and intensity.

Film Review: Despite One Premise, Laughs Are Plenty in ‘The Little Hours’

Little Hours, The

CHICAGO – It occurred to me in assessing “The Little Hours” that the basic premise is somewhat like “The Beguiled” – a man is taken in, rooster-like, into a henhouse where there are women with “needs.” Except this time, instead of a girl’s boarding school, it is a 14th Century nunnery. Get thee to it, if thou wants to laugheth.

Despite One Premise, Laughs Are Plenty in ‘The Little Hours’

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

CHICAGO – It occurred to me in assessing “The Little Hours” that the basic premise is somewhat like “The Beguiled” – a man is taken in, rooster-like, into a henhouse where there are women with “needs.” Except this time, instead of a girl’s boarding school, it is a 14th Century nunnery. Get thee to it, if thou wants to laugheth.

Film Review: ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ Delivers Old Hollywood Glory

CHICAGO – Since the Golden Age of cinema, theaters have tried countlessly to deliver up big budget films. Summer is here and the public is showing that they are cooling off these blockbusters, no longer fooled by the thought that cost equates to quality. “War for the Planet of the Apes” shows us that blockbusters may still be redeemed by channeling some Old Hollywood magic.

‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ Delivers Old Hollywood Glory

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

CHICAGO – Since the Golden Age of cinema, theaters have tried countlessly to deliver up big budget films. Summer is here and the public is showing that they are cooling off these blockbusters, no longer fooled by the thought that cost equates to quality. “War for the Planet of the Apes” shows us that blockbusters may still be redeemed by channeling some Old Hollywood magic.

Interview, Audio: David Lowery, Writer & Director of ‘A Ghost Story’

CHICAGO – Not all supernatural tales are meant to scare, and writer/director David Lowery haunts in a different way with his new film, “A Ghost Story.” Using the classic “white sheet” costume, with actor Casey Affleck underneath it for most of the film, Lowery creates a spirit with both emotion and a contemplation of its fate.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 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.

  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

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