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Film Review: Unfunny ‘Masterminds’ is a Complete Waste of Talent

CHICAGO – Tick…tick…tick. That is the sound of your life frittering away, if you choose to experience the 94 minutes, that feels like two weeks, for “Masterminds.” The film that has virtually no laughs – in categorizing itself as a comedy – and is an almost criminal waste of some decent comic talent.

Interview: Garrett Clayton for Reeling2016 Closing Night Film, ‘King Cobra’

Garret Clayton, 'King Cobra'

CHICAGO – Closing Night for Reeling2016 is Thursday, Sep. 29th, after Chicago’s LGBTQ+ International Film Festival has presented a week of cinema celebrations. The Landmark Century Centre Cinema is the scene for “King Cobra,” directed by Justin Kelly and featuring Garrett Clayton. The film is a notorious overview of the life of gay porn star Brent Corrigan. Both Clayton and the director are scheduled to appear on behalf of the film.

Interview: Director Hannes Holm Meets ‘A Man Called Ove’

CHICAGO – In 2012, Fredrik Backman released his Swedish novel called “En man som heter Ove.” It was published in English in 2013, and became a best seller. The book that delved into the life of a cranky old man is now a major Swedish movie, distributed in the U.S. by Chicago’s Music Box Films, and directed by Hannes Holm.

Interviews: Red-Carpet Talk for Reeling2016 Opening Night

CHICAGO – Reeling2016, Chicago’s LGBTQ+ International Film Festival, opened last week (Sep. 22nd) with a hurricane force, through Bianca Del Rio. The comic goddess premiered the film “Hurricane Bianca,” directed by Matt Kugelman. Del Rio, Kugelman and others walked the Red Carpet at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre.

Interview: Director Lee Ho-Jae at the ‘Asian Pop-Up Cinema’

CHICAGO – The 2016 Fall Season of the Asian Pop-Up Cinema of Chicago kicked off on September 17th, with the South Korean film “Sori: Voice of the Heart.” The director behind this purposeful man-and-machine relationship movie is Lee Ho-Jae. The unusual story combined our modern tech world with a satellite turned robot who is sick of it all.

Film News: Chicago’s ‘Asian Pop-Up Cinema’ Screens ‘Hamog’ on Sep. 25, 2016

Asian Pop Up Cinema 2016 Logo

CHICAGO – The Asian Pop-Up Cinema Series, spotlighting a variety of diverse Asian films, continues its 2016 Fall Season with a Filipino film, “Hamog,” directed by Ralston Jover. The film, making its Chicago premiere, will screen at 2pm on Sunday, Sep 25th, 2016, at the Wilmette Theatre in Willmette, Ill.

Film Review: ‘The Magnificent Seven’ is How the Western Was Lost

CHICAGO – The appeal of Westerns was mostly lost on me when I was younger. The tales of these hypermasculine wanderers, answering every problem with a gun, never appealed to me. When I got older, I discovered their messages of honor and self-defense against corruption. The genre proved it could be more than one-liners and shootouts, but “The Magnificent Seven” set out to be only that.

Film Review: Funny, Spontaneous ‘Storks’ Really Delivers

CHICAGO – I’ve waited all week to write that headline, and I will be joining the 100,000 other similar headlines out there. Hey-ooh! “Storks” is a lot of fun, without the dire need for any “message” or heavy handedness that is too familiar in the current animation environment. It’s just funny.

Film News: Reeling2016, 34th Chicago LGBTQ+ Film Fest, Opens Sep. 22 with ‘Hurricane Bianca’

Reeling2016 Logo

CHICAGO – The second oldest LGBTQ+ International Film Festival in America, Reeling2016, is about to launched its 34th edition in Chicago at the historic Music Box Theatre on Thursday, September 22th (details below). The Opening Night film will be “Hurricane Bianca,” featuring famed comedian Roy Haylock, and his outrageous alter ego Bianca Del Rio. Haylock/Del Rio will walk the Red Carpet with writer/director (and Chicago native) Matt Kugelman.

Interview: Director Steve Chan Hits a Home Run with ‘Weeds on Fire’

CHICAGO – The most American game of baseball gets a new spin in the film “Weeds on Fire,” directed by Steve Chan. The story explores a youth team in the 1980s whose exploits coincided with a renaissance in Hong Kong. The film is screening on Sep. 21st, 2016, at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, part of the Asian Pop-Up Cinema series (details below).

Film Review: History & Pure Fun in ‘The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years’

Beatles: Eight Days a Week

CHICAGO – They were the greatest show on earth, for what it was worth. But what they also were was one of the most fascinating show business stories in history. Director Ron Howard encapsulates John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr during their initial meteoric rise in the descriptively titled ‘The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years.’

Film Review: ‘Blair Witch’ Takes a Familiar Trail to a Dead End

Blair Witch

CHICAGO – The forest is an elusive environment that can hold hope for one person or isolation for another. You can enter the forest for some Thoreauvian wisdom, but end up being engulfed by its overwhelming monotony. As we revisit the world of “Blair Witch”, we are reminded that the found footage genre has come a long way from its humble origins, but perhaps some footage is better off not “found.”

Film Review: Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ a Lesson for Our Times

CHICAGO – The experience of director Oliver Stone, to look underneath the slimy rocks of government secrecy and bureaucracy, produces an excellent history lesson in “Snowden,” an overview of Edward Snowden, a whistleblower against the government who is still in exile.

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  • Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins Fest

    CHICAGO – It’s 3am on Saturday night/Sunday morning on August 20th, and you’re just not ready to quit. How about indulging in the 2016 “Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins” Theater Festival? The three-day theater marathon is in its 28th edition, and will be sponsored for the final time by the Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company, and hosted by the “Godfather of Storefront Theater,” Rich Cotovsky. It all takes place at the Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee in Chicago (details below).

  • aJMfront.jpg

    CHICAGO – No one would call talented one-man-show artist John Michael conventional, at least if they are in their right mind. So ironically, after tackling sexually transmitted disease in his last solo performance, he takes on the vagrancies of old age and caring for elderly patients in his truly heartfelt “Dementia Me.”

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