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February 2018

Interview: Voice Artist Rob Paulsen on ‘Animaniacs Live!’ in Grayslake, Ill. on March 3, 2018

Rob Paulsen, "Animaniacs"

CHICAGO – If the words, “We’re Animaniacs…” immediately makes you think, “There’s baloney in our slacks…” then you’ll want to experience voiceover artist Rob Paulsen, the iconic character of Yakko on that series, as well as the voice of Pinky (“Pinky and The Brain”) and Donatello/Raphael (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”), among many other cartoon legends. Rob, with Animaniacs composer Randy Rogel, will be appearing in “Animaniacs Live!” at the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts in Grayslake, Ill., on Saturday, March 3rd, 2018 (click link below for details).

Oscar Week: Steve James on ‘Abacus: Small Enough to Jail’

CHICAGO – Oscar Week is upon us, and Chicago is represented with a nomination in the Best Documentary (Feature) category at the 90th Academy Awards on March 4th, 2018. “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail” is directed by Steve James of Chicago’s Kartemquin Films, and is one of five nominees for the prestigious award.

Film Review: Jason Bateman & Rachel McAdams Score on ‘Game Night’

CHICAGO – A game cast elevates what is otherwise a bit of a ho hum affair in the action comedy “Game Night.” Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams are a middle class couple hosting weekly game nights with a group of good friends. But when Bateman’s competitive venture capitalist older brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) comes to town, he promises to take game night up a notch.

Jason Bateman & Rachel McAdams Score on ‘Game Night’

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

CHICAGO – A game cast elevates what is otherwise a bit of a ho hum affair in the action comedy “Game Night.” Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams are a middle class couple hosting weekly game nights with a group of good friends. But when Bateman’s competitive venture capitalist older brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) comes to town, he promises to take game night up a notch.

Film Review: Consider the Meaning of Life Force in ‘Annihilation’

CHICAGO – Alex Garland, the standout creator/director of “Ex Machina,” is back with “Annihilation,” another science fiction story. And like the previous film, it explores implications of a sci-fi event, in this case an outer space incident that restructures a cellular code, that ends up destructive.

Consider the Meaning of Life Force in ‘Annihilation’

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

CHICAGO – Alex Garland, the standout creator/director of “Ex Machina,” is back with “Annihilation,” another science fiction story. And like the previous film, it explores implications of a sci-fi event, in this case an outer space incident that restructures a cellular code, that ends up destructive.

Theater Review: Brown Paper Box Company Hosts a Monumental ‘Speech & Debate’

Speech & Debate (stage play)

CHICAGO – “Speech & Debate,” the latest production from the mighty Brown Paper Box Company, continues their tradition of thinking outside that “box” in presenting storefront theater that makes a statement and a difference. “Speech” goes inside America by showcasing the outsiders… those who create art because they can’t get it right in real life. This non-equity Chicago stage play premiere is finely tuned and wonderfully acted, and runs through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

Film Review: ‘Early Man’ is Unabashedly Freaking Hilarious

CHICAGO – Humor flows from one individual, and reaches another. Whether the receiver laughs or not is subjective, based on experiences and worldview. It can be agreed, however, that animator Nick Park (“Wallace & Gromit”) is hilarious, and he’ll make the world laugh in “Early Man.”

‘Early Man’ is Unabashedly Freaking Hilarious

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

CHICAGO – Humor flows from one individual, and reaches another. Whether the receiver laughs or not is subjective, based on experiences and worldview. It can be agreed, however, that animator Nick Park (“Wallace & Gromit”) is hilarious, and he’ll make the world laugh in “Early Man.”

Photo Gallery: Mac Sabbath & Galactic Empire at Subterranean on Feb. 17, 2018

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Mac Sabbath and Galactic Empire at Subterranean

CHICAGOMac Sabbath and Galactic Empire performed at Subterranean on Feb. 17, 2018. HollywoodChicago.com photographer Jeff Doles brings you the photos!

Film News: DePaul University’s Big Shoulders International Student Film Fest on Feb. 16 & 17, 2018

Big Shoulders International Film Festival

CHICAGO – As the DePaul University film school grows and evolves, it continues to have innovative ideas to promote the art of cinema. For the first time, the College of Computing and Digital Media (which encompasses the film school) is presenting the Big Shoulders International Student Film Festival. The screening events, which are free and open to the public, will take place on February 16th and 17th, 2018. For more information about the specifics of the Fest, including how to reserve a seat for the screenings, click here.

Film Review: All Forms of Heroism Available in ‘Black Panther’

CHICAGO – The fortune of the latest Marvel Studios superhero epic, “Black Panther,” lies in its solid foundation in African mythos and intelligent storytelling. And with Ryan Coogler (“Creed”) as director, there are still major confrontations and battles, intertwined into the soul.

All Forms of Heroism Available in ‘Black Panther’

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

CHICAGO – The fortune of the latest Marvel Studios superhero epic, “Black Panther,” lies in its solid foundation in African mythos and intelligent storytelling. And with Ryan Coogler (“Creed”) as director, there are still major confrontations and battles, intertwined into the soul.

Film Review: Diversity & High Quality in 2018 Oscar-Nominated Live Action Short Films

2018 Live Action Oscar Nominated Shorts

CHICAGO – From deafness to religious conflict to one of the most vicious events in American history, the Oscar nominated Live Action short films fulfill the drama, emotions and even laughs in a compact form. The 2018 Live Action Shorts nominees are being shown in one program, locally at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Chicago. Click here for more information. The Animations Shorts are also being shown.

Diversity & High Quality in 2018 Oscar-Nominated Live Action Short Films

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

CHICAGO – From deafness to religious conflict to one of the most vicious events in American history, the Oscar nominated Live Action short films fulfill the drama, emotions and even laughs in a compact form. The 2018 Live Action Shorts nominees are being shown in one program, locally at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Chicago. Click here for more information. The Animations Shorts are also being shown.

Film Review: Strange ‘15:17 to Paris’ Can’t Make the Connection

CHICAGO – What’s up with Clint Eastwood, and why in the Sam Hill did he attach himself as director to this film? Also, why was the decision made to use the actual rescuers as the actors in a true terrorist train incident? Nothing adds up in the strangely disconnected “15:17 to Paris.”

Strange ‘15:17 to Paris’ Can’t Make the Connection

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

CHICAGO – What’s up with Clint Eastwood, and why in the Sam Hill did he attach himself as director to this film? Also, why was the decision made to use the actual rescuers as the actors in a true terrorist train incident? Nothing adds up in the strangely disconnected “15:17 to Paris.”

Film Review: Zen and the Art of Cinema in ‘24 Frames’

24 Frames

CHICAGO – The legendary Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (“Certified Copy”) passed away in 2016, but he left one more meditation on cinema and illusion, in the artistic “24 Frames.” Yes, it refers to the number of still photos that make up a second of film, but in this case it is also Kiarostami’s observations of stillness in motion.

Zen and the Art of Cinema in ‘24 Frames’

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

CHICAGO – The legendary Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (“Certified Copy”) passed away in 2016, but he left one more meditation on cinema and illusion, in the artistic “24 Frames.” Yes, it refers to the number of still photos that make up a second of film, but in this case it is also Kiarostami’s observations of stillness in motion.

Film Review: Final Chapter of ’Fifty Shades Freed’ for Masochists Only

CHICAGO – Only masochists and other gluttons for punishment will be heading to the theaters for “Fifty Shades Freed.” But be sure to grab a blindfold, because you can at least get 40 winks while the incompetent and unintentionally hilarious Fifty Shades Trilogy reaches its deadly dull climax.

Final Chapter of ’Fifty Shades Freed’ for Masochists Only

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

CHICAGO – Only masochists and other gluttons for punishment will be heading to the theaters for “Fifty Shades Freed.” But be sure to grab a blindfold, because you can at least get 40 winks while the incompetent and unintentionally hilarious Fifty Shades Trilogy reaches its deadly dull climax.

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Remembers John Mahoney

CHICAGO – The actor John Mahoney, the son of Chicago that came here from England, died on February 4th, 2018 at his home in nearby Oak Park. He was 77. He had a varied career of stage and screen roles, but he is best remembered as Dad Martin Crane to sons Niles and “Frasier,” on that long running series.

Interview: Vito Forlenza on Comcast’s Innovative Winter Olympic XFINITY X1 Viewing Experience

Xfinity X1 2018 Winter Olympics

CHICAGO – The 2018 Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang, South Korea, begin this week, with opening ceremonies on Friday, February 9th. NBCUniversal TV will be the broadcast source for the Games, but their parent company Comcast is upping the ante for their XFINITY X1 TV system subscribers, offering a viewing experience that is a more flexible and user friendly way to see virtually all aspects of the 2018 Winter Games, and Team USA. Vito Forlenza, Executive Director of Business Product Management – who helped developed the strategy for the viewing experience – stopped by in Chicago to promote the multi-platform system.

Film News: 28th Festival of Films from Iran at Gene Siskel Film Center through Mar. 1, 2018

Ava

CHICAGO – In the last seven years, the work of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi has emerged internationally. His Oscar-winning film “A Separation” (2011) and “The Salesman” (2016) has launched his set-in-Iran films to a wider audience. The Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago has been highlighting the country’s cinema for years, and they present the 28th Festival of Films from Iran through March 1st, 2018.

Interview: Director Daniela Thomas on ‘Vazante,’ Presented by Music Box Films of Chicago

Daniela Thomas of 'Vazante'

CHICAGO – A vital and obscure piece of Brazilian history is exposed in the new film “Vazante,’ directed by Daniela Thomas, and is the latest film to be distributed by Music Box Films of Chicago. “Vazante” is now playing at the Music Box Theatre through February 8th, 2018. For more information, click here.

Film News: ‘Cold War’ Opens 14th Midwest Independent Film Festival on Feb. 6, 2018

Cold War

CHICAGO – First Tuesdays are back in Chicago. The Midwest Independent Film Festival will kick off their 2018 (and 14th) season at 6pm on Tuesday, February 6th, with the comedy “Cold War,” directed by J. Wilder Knoschak and Stirling McLaughlin. The film will be preceded by a Producer’s Panel, which will spotlight “The Post Production Process.” For more information, including tickets purchasing, click here.

Theater Review: American Theater Co.’s ‘We’re Gonna Be Okay’ Seeks Identity in Early 1960s

We're Gonna Be Okay

CHICAGO – The 1960s were a time of historical social transition. The movements – civil rights, feminist, gay rights – all had roots in that tumultuous decade. The Chicago premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s “We’re Gonna Be Okay” echoes all of those movements in its characters, and collides them against the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the American Theater Company through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

Film Review: Humankind Gets a Necessary Lesson in ‘The Insult’

CHICAGO – The clash of ideologies or religion that result in war is one of the most emotional of reasons to fight (and convenient for those who manipulate such emotions). “The Insult,” a contender for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, shows how feelings can escalate to bitter conflict.

Humankind Gets a Necessary Lesson in ‘The Insult’

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

CHICAGO – The clash of ideologies or religion that result in war is one of the most emotional of reasons to fight (and convenient for those who manipulate such emotions). “The Insult,” a contender for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, shows how feelings can escalate to bitter conflict.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Deadbeat2

    CHICAGO – Not many web series start out as music videos, but the new online (YouTube) drama “Deadbeat 2” was just that. Created, written and directed by Danny Froze, the made-in-Chicago story recently premiered episodes five and six in the series, which features actor Kiwaun Stoutmire in the lead role of Ronnie.

  • Bill Daily, photo by Joe Arce

    CHICAGO – He was America’s sidekick in TV’s golden decades of the 1960s and ‘70s, and was a proud Chicago-born-and-bred performer. Bill Daily, better known as Major Roger Healey (“I Dream of Jeannie”) and the wacky neighbor Howard Borden (“The Bob Newhart Show”) died at his New Mexico home at the age of 91 on September 4th, 2018.

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