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Interview: Kristyn Jo Benedyk, Matt Irvine of DePaul University School of Cinematic Arts

CHICAGO – Moving up the rankings like greased lightning, the DePaul University School of Cinematic Arts cracked the Top 20 of all film schools in the U.S. in 2014, after building a program that didn’t exist 20 years ago. A couple reasons why are School Director Matt Irvine and Screenwriting Professor Kristyn Jo Benedyk.

Video Game Review: ‘Don Bradman Cricket’ a Tricky Wicket

Don Bradman Cricket

CHICAGO – 2014’s “The Golf Club” gave sports games a proper kick in the arse, booting out the pretentious hubbub of PGA Tour, its Pros, its Courses, and its ‘Majesty’ and ‘Prestige’, and replaced them with a Norm MacDonald-sounding caddy and a streamlined game of golf that let you play 18 holes in under an hour.

Exclusive Portrait: Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth at the Chicago Humanities Festival

Kim Gordon, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – Kim Gordon was part of a rock revolution in the 1980s and ‘90s, as part of the sound called Sonic Youth. She has written a memoir about those days, “Girl in a Band,” and promoted that book through an appearance sponsored by the Chicago Humanities Festival on February 26th, 2015, at the historic Music Box Theatre in Chicago.

Film Review: ‘Wild Tales’ Boldly Catalogs the State of Civilization

CHICAGO – Road rage, parking fines and weddings are unlikely subjects designed to showcase criminal inhumanity, but “Wild Tales” – from Argentina – takes those common themes and provides some lessons on the breakdown of our civilizaton, in a momentous prologue and five stellar stories.

Film Review: Fascinating, Infuriating Injustice in ‘Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem’

Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, 2015

CHICAGO – The title event of “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem” is a prison sentence with no predictable day of release. The prisoner is Viviane (a fascinating Ronit Elkabetz), a soft-spoken middle-aged woman well beyond the point of a content unhappiness. She is trapped to a farce, as the divorce laws of Israel demand that a husband agree to the divorce before it can be finalized, with three rabbis and a lawyer each to discuss the event.

Entertainment News: Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 83

LOS ANGELES – The actor who created one of the greatest pop-culture characters in TV and film history has passed away. Leonard Nimoy will always be known for the role of Mr. Spock, science officer for the USS Enterprise of the “Star Trek” TV and film series. He died of pulmonary disease on Feb. 27, 2015, according to his wife Susan. He was 83.

Film Review: Olivia Wilde Resurrects Horror in ‘The Lazarus Effect’

CHICAGO – Psychological horror films are the best tweaks, because they remind us of our fears, and where are fears are rooted. The strange combination of science, religion and a blockbuster performance by Olivia Wilde creates an atmosphere of dread and weirdness in “The Lazarus Effect.”

Video Game Review: ‘Evolve’ Earns its Name

CHICAGO – When I first opened Turtle Rock Studios’ “Evolve,” I was fully prepared to rage quit matches and yell at the screen. My gaming skill lies more in the realm of platformers and adventure games than strategic shooters. My first few matches following the short tutorial were exactly as I expected. I fumbled around the arena doing little to help my teammates.

Interview: Actor Colm Feore on Portraying ‘King Lear’

CHICAGO – “Mend your speech a little, Lest it mar your fortunes…” is a fine piece of advice from the William Shakespeare play, “King Lear,” often cited as one of the greatest English language plays. Actor Colm Feore is the latest to portray the title role, which begins a film series by the Stratford Festival of Canada, to capture all of the Shakespeare plays.

Film Review: New Twist to Inspiring Sports Story in ‘McFarland, USA’

McFarland, USA

CHICAGO – Sports stories are made for the underdog, and it is the conduit for many immigrants and minorities to break through to the American Dream. “McFarland, USA” takes that idea and runs with it, as a high school cross country team of Mexican immigrants head towards the finish line.

Film News: ‘Birdman’ is Best Picture at 2015 Academy Awards

CHICAGO – The Bird was the word at the 87th Academy Awards, as the film “Birdman” won Best Picture and Alejandro González Iñárrittu won Best Director for the same film. The stellar broadcast was hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, and was highlighted by some passionate speeches and song performances.

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