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November 2018

Film Review: The Friendship Page of Black & White in ‘Green Book’

Green Book

CHICAGO – In the original sin of racism in America, structured in the societal relationship between whites and African Americans, there had to be small steps before there were larger ones. In 1962, a black piano virtuoso and his white Italian New Yorker driver toured through the Deep South and developed a friendship, in the new film “Green Book.”

The Friendship Page of Black & White in ‘Green Book’

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

CHICAGO – In the original sin of racism in America, structured in the societal relationship between whites and African Americans, there had to be small steps before there were larger ones. In 1962, a black piano virtuoso and his white Italian New Yorker driver toured through the Deep South and developed a friendship, in the new film “Green Book.”

Podtalk: Writer/Director Sean Anders Fosters Genuine Emotions and Comedy in 'Instant Family'

CHICAGO - We have all seen and heard second-hand stories about adoption and the foster care system, but its hard to know exactly what to believe. In writer/director Sean Anders latest film, “Instant Family”, he takes a look but through a more personal lens as his basis the film off of his experiences.

Film Review: ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Goes Deeper into Harry Potter World

CHICAGO – “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is like the “Joey” of film franchises, a spinoff which only exists because of its tangential connections to a better (and more beloved) property. But since this is our only current filmed connection to the “wizarding world of Harry Potter,” it’ll have to do.

‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Goes Deeper into Harry Potter World

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

CHICAGO – “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is like the “Joey” of film franchises, a spinoff which only exists because of its tangential connections to a better (and more beloved) property. But since this is our only current filmed connection to the “wizarding world of Harry Potter,” it’ll have to do.

Slideshow: Preview of ‘Days of the Dead’ Chicago, Nov. 16-18, 2018

| Image 1 of 7 |
Sean Astin of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ Trilogy.

CHICAGO – The “Days of the Dead” convention is an annual event in Chicagoland and elsewhere, that brings together admirers of the horror film genre, cult movies enthusiasts, vendors and panel discussions related to it all. Several celebrities also attend the event, including Linda Blair (“The Exorcist”), Sherilynn Fenn/James Marshall/Dana Ashbrook (“Twin Peaks”), director Clive Barker (“Hellraiser,” “Candyman”) and rocker Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys). The 2018 convention will be held Friday, November 16th through Sunday the 18th at the Chicago Schaumburg Marriott in Schaumburg, Ill. (click link below).

Podtalk: Director Jason Reitman Votes for ‘The Front Runner’

CHICAGO – The year 1988 marked a border crossing in the way that the media covered national candidates. Senator Gary Hart seemed destined for president, until a extramarital relationship with Donna Rice became the focus of media attention. Director Jason Reitman tells the story in a new film, “The Front Runner.”

Entertainment News: Chance the Rapper to Host Mayoral Fundraiser for Amara Enyia, Nov. 14, 2018

Amara and Chance

CHICAGO – The City of Chicago has its campaigns for Mayor heating up, and one of the frontrunners is Amara Enyia, who recently made news by getting endorsements from both Chance the Rapper and Kanye West. Chance will put that endorsement to use by hosting Enyia at a campaign fundraiser on November 14th, 2018, at Chicago’s legendary Chop House. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Film News: ‘One Cut of the Dead' is Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema CLOSING NIGHT, Nov. 14, 2018

One Cut of the Dead

CHICAGO – Season Seven of Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema (APUC) is coming to a close on Wednesday, November 14th, 2018, with the Midwest Premiere of “One Cut of the Dead,” the Japanese horror sensation that is breaking box office records and cleaning up in award acclaim. The special night includes an appearance by lead actor Takayuki Hamatsu.

Film Review: ‘Boy Erased’ Thrives On Empathy, Lacks Overall Conviction

CHICAGO – America is facing a confusing time of crisis, again. There are giant groups of people who are ready to hate other people for biological traits that can’t—and don’t need to—be changed, like skin color, sexual orientation, and race. “Boy Erased” adds to the national dialogue by showing the devastating effects this type of mentality can have inside our own families, and how to prevent it.

‘Boy Erased’ Thrives On Empathy, Lacks Overall Conviction

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

CHICAGO – America is facing a confusing time of crisis, again. There are giant groups of people who are ready to hate other people for biological traits that can’t—and don’t need to—be changed, like skin color, sexual orientation, and race. “Boy Erased” adds to the national dialogue by showing the devastating effects this type of mentality can have inside our own families, and how to prevent it.

Entertainment News: Stan Lee, of Marvel Comic Fame, Dies at 95

LOS ANGELES – The last of the great comic book creators has flown to the beyond. Stan Lee, who led the resurgence of comic book culture – especially in the movies – created legendary superheroes for Marvel Comics, including Spider-Man, Hulk, Black Panther and X-Men. Lee passed away at age 95 in Los Angeles on November 12th, 2018.

Slideshow: Eric Idle & Bob Odenkirk for Idle’s New Book, ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’

| Image 1 of 4 |
Eric Idle of ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.’

CHICAGO – When the “Say No More Squire” Guy meets “Better Call Saul,” you know a memorable night is ahead. Monty Python’s Flying Circus member Eric Idle has written a new memoir, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” and Bob Odenkirk (who portrays the title character in “Better Call Saul”) was the moderator for an event at North Central College in Naperville (Ill.), sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop.

Film Review: Story Spins Out of Reach for ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’

Girl in the Spider's Web, The

CHICAGO – There is nothing wrong with revisiting The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. That tattoo has made beaucoup bucks in book and film forms (both foreign language and Americanized versions), and Claire Foy taking over for Rooney Mara in the title role is seamless. So why the totally lackluster story? Is this a narrative source problem?

Story Spins Out of Reach for ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – There is nothing wrong with revisiting The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. That tattoo has made beaucoup bucks in book and film forms (both foreign language and Americanized versions), and Claire Foy taking over for Rooney Mara in the title role is seamless. So why the totally lackluster story? Is this a narrative source problem?

Film Review: He’s a Not-So-Mean-One in Remake of ‘The Grinch’

CHICAGO – They should have left well enough alone, didn’t anybody learn anything from the trainwreck of the Jim Carrey live-action-as-The-Grinch? Apparently not. A more kid friendly and modern animated version of “The Grinch” opens six weeks before Christmas, and already I want to return it.

He’s a Not-So-Mean-One in Remake of ‘The Grinch’

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

CHICAGO – They should have left well enough alone, didn’t anybody learn anything from the trainwreck of the Jim Carrey live-action-as-The-Grinch? Apparently not. A more kid friendly and modern animated version of “The Grinch” opens six weeks before Christmas, and already I want to return it.

Podtalk: Filmmaker Amy Scott Revitalizes Director Hal Ashby in Her New Documentary ‘Hal’

Hal

CHICAGO – The name Hal Ashby might not be as familiar to today’s film watchers, but the movies he made in the 1970s are considered classics… like “Harold and Maude,” “The Last Detail,” “Shampoo,” “Coming Home” and “Being There.” The short spark of his creative energy is profiled in a documentary by Amy Scott simply called “Hal.” The film opens at the Gene Siskel Film Center on November 9th, 2018. For details and ticket info, click here.

Podtalk: Joel Edgerton & Garrard Conley for ‘Boy Erased’

CHICAGO – In “Boy Erased,” the story is based on a memoir by Garrard Conley, about his experiences going through “gay conversion” therapy… that exists to change a gay person to a straight person. Director/actor Joel Edgerton adapted Conley’s book, and created a heart-breaking film of real American institutions that try to deny nature.

Podtalk: Exec Director Brent Kado of the 8th Chicago Comedy Film Festival, Nov. 9-11, 2018

2018 Chicago Comedy Film Festival

CHICAGO – It is time once again for Chicago to get its funny on, in the category of contemporary comedy films. The 8th Chicago Comedy Film Festival (CCFF) is from November 9th to 11th, 2018, and this year the Fest will be doing their primary screenings at Columbia College on South Wabash Avenue. For direct ticket information, click here.

Film News: Next Screening for Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema is ‘Dear Ex’ on Nov. 8th, 2018

Dear Ex

CHICAGO – Season Seven of Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema (APUC) continues on Thursday, November 8th, 2018, with “Dear Ex,” a story of duplicity and acceptance. The Taiwanese film will make its North American premiere at APUC, and includes an appearance by co-director Hsu Chih-yen.

Exclusive Photo: Tiffani Thiessen Invites Us to ‘Pull Up a Chair’

CHICAGO – Tiffani Thiessen’s career has been “cooking” lately, as she’s been hosting “Dinner at Tiffani’s” for the Cooking Channel and has a new recipe book out called “Pull Up a Chair.” The former “Saved by the Bell” and “Beverly Hills 90210” star recently appeared at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville (Illinois).

Film News: Advertising Community Shorts at Midwest Independent Film Festival, Nov. 6th, 2018

2018 Advertising Community Shorts

CHICAGO – The opportunity to showcase talent beyond day-to-day client work is one of the reasons the Advertising Community Shorts is one of the most popular “First Tuesdays” of the Midwest Independent Film Festival. On November 6th, 2018, ten short films will screen, selected by a jury of advertising professionals throughout Chicago. For more information about the jury, the event schedule and ticket info, click here.

Film Review: A Star is Re-Examined in ‘Making Montgomery Clift’

Making Montgomery Clift

CHICAGO – Montgomery “Monty” Clift was an enigma as a “movie star” from the minute his image reflected from the silver screen. Dark and intense, he exhibited a inner ferocity that was unmatched from any other actor of his era, including Marlon Brando. Because of the enigma, his persona has often been mischaracterized, and he died young in his mid-forties. His nephew Robert Anderson Clift seeks to revitalize the authentic Monty in the new documentary “Making Montgomery Clift.”

A Star is Re-Examined in ‘Making Montgomery Clift’

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

CHICAGO – Montgomery “Monty” Clift was an enigma as a “movie star” from the minute his image reflected from the silver screen. Dark and intense, he exhibited a inner ferocity that was unmatched from any other actor of his era, including Marlon Brando. Because of the enigma, his persona has often been mischaracterized, and he died young in his mid-forties. His nephew Robert Anderson Clift seeks to revitalize the authentic Monty in the new documentary “Making Montgomery Clift.”

Podtalk: Filmmaker Gabe Polsky is ‘In Search of Greatness’

In Search of Greatness

CHICAGO – What is “greatness”? Is it an undefinable element in human beings that no one can explain, or can we get insight if we listen to those who have achieved it? Documentary filmmaker Gabe Polsky (“Red Army”) went on a journey to understand the concept in his new film, “In Search of Greatness.”

Film Review: ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ is Beautiful, But Broken

CHICAGO – Film has always felt like a much more accessible way to get cultured than, say, going to watch a play or opera. Watching a foreign film can educate you about the world and history as well as any play. “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” promised that kind of experience, but your time is better served catching the actual ballet at a local theater instead.

‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ is Beautiful, But Broken

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

CHICAGO – Film has always felt like a much more accessible way to get cultured than, say, going to watch a play or opera. Watching a foreign film can educate you about the world and history as well as any play. “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” promised that kind of experience, but your time is better served catching the actual ballet at a local theater instead.

Film Review: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was Destined to Celebrate Queen

CHICAGO – The lyric “And now it’s ‘Easy Come/Easy Go/Little High/Little Low” from the song/movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” might just be the best description of this rock band biopic. The high is the celebration of the band Queen and its unforgettable lead singer Freddie Mercury, and it is enough to get through the story “lows.”

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