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Exclusive Portrait: Jason Segel Promotes His New Novel, ‘Nightmares’

CHICAGO – Jason Segal is one of the most genuine people in show business, and he also makes very funny movies and TV shows. He was in Chicagoland recently, making an appearance on behalf of his first novel, “Nightmares.” He greeted admirers and signed the book at the historic Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove, Ill.

Exclusive Portrait: ‘Grumpy Cat’ Gains a Voice in Lifetime TV Movie

Grumpy Cat, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – What began as an internet meme has become a celebrity sensation. “Grumpy Cat,” AKA Tardar Sauce the cat, has built a career for herself and her owners as a magazine cover girl and brand name. Aubrey Plaza (“Parks and Recreation”) has just been named as the voice of Grumpy Cat for an upcoming Lifetime TV Movie, “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.” The famous feline recently appeared at Barnes & Noble Old Orchard in Skokie, Illinois, to promote her new book “The Grumpy Guide to Life: Observations from Grumpy Cat.”

Film Review: Animated ‘The Boxtrolls’ Has British Comic Tone

CHICAGO – Monty Python, Peter Cook & Dudley Moore, Peter Sellers, Mr. Bean, Alan Partridge – all are examples of British comedy, that off-kilter “are you in on the joke?” point of view. That comic tone has arrived in an animated film, within the stop motion world of “The Boxtrolls.”

Film Review: An Experimental Experience in Non-Biopic ‘Jimi: All is By My Side’

Jimi: All is By My Side

CHICAGO – “Jimi: All Is by My Side” shows the Jimi Hendrix experience without having the rights to the Jimi Hendrix Experience. It’s an unofficial rumination that doesn’t have any Hendrix songs, and it focuses on a more day-in-the-life perspective of the rock star, albeit in a career period that would be scooted over through montage in any other film. The endeavor is ambitious in its desires, and stands out most of all for its experimental nature than it does for trying to achieve a truth higher than fact.

Film Review: Overall Story of ‘The Equalizer’ Doesn’t Add Up

CHICAGO – You could call “The Equalizer” a bit of an underachiever. It re-teams Oscar winner Denzel Washington with his “Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua for a movie remake of a 1980’s TV show with a cult following, but the film as a whole adds up to less than the sum of its parts.

Film Review: Luminous Story of Disconnection in Organic ‘Tracks’

Tracks, Mia Wasikowska

CHICAGO – “Do you ever wonder if the things that are meant to connect us … actually disconnect us?” This cheesy hypothesis as found in many millennial dramas has only caused the film world go to in circles about the quandary of handheld screens and social media. With its cool air, John Curran’s low-key adventure “Tracks” takes a line straight through that argument, providing a story of disconnection from distraction as set in a world when Apple products were only gadgets on re-runs of “Star Trek.”

Interview: Directors of ‘The Boxtrolls’ on Their Animated Life

CHICAGO – How do you interpret an odd British storybook called “Here Be Monsters!” into a mainstream animated film? By taking the main characters – called ‘The Boxtrolls’ – and putting them up front. Animation veterans and co-directors Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi got the assignment, and deliver the goods.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 15 Pairs of Passes to ‘Gone Girl’ With Ben Affleck

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 15 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated mysteryGone Girl” starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike from director David Fincher!

Interviews: Red-Carpet Opening Night for Reeling32 Film Festival

CHICAGO – Reeling32, the Chicago International LGBT Film Festival, had a sensational Opening Night on Thursday, September 18th, 2014. The festival began with “Boy Meets Girl,” featuring Michelle Hendley in her debut performance, and directed by Eric Schaeffer. Both star and director attended the Opening Night.

Film News: Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com to Host ‘Breaking Away’

Breaking Away

CHICAGO – “Breaking Away,” the classic Oscar-winning film of 1979, will be shown on the big screen at Studio Movie Grill in Wheaton, Ill. – on Wednesday, September 24th, 2014, at 7:30pm (click on the link below to purchase tickets). It will be hosted by Film Critic Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com.

Film Review: Lives Interact in ‘The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them’

CHICAGO – There was something blank within “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them,” although it dealt with the issues of loss, family and reconciliation. The all star cast, including Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy and William Hurt, add their performing spins to the story.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Star Trek Into Darkness

    CHICAGO – With J.J. Abrams not involved with the creation of a third “Star Trek” movie, a compendium of his work within the franchise only seems fitting. Loaded with special features but only a few new ones, this disc set is a strong choice for those who don’t already have both entertaining blockbusters in their collection.

  • References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot

    CHICAGO – In “References to Salvador Dali Makes Me Hot,” now at the Den Theatre in Chicago through September 7th, the intersect of author José Rivera and the strong cast of actors make for a formidable partnership. Committed and passionate interpreters take both the soft and edgy parts of the narrative to task.

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