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1970s

Film Review: ‘All the Money in the World’ Has a Soft Landing

CHICAGO – A bitter and old rich man won’t take responsibility for the co-opting of something he is directly connected to. Is this the Trump administration or “All the Money in the World”? Christopher Plummer portrays mogul J. Paul Getty, trying to steer clear of his grandson’s kidnapping.

Film Review: Energy of Visual Cinema is the Power of ‘Wonderstruck’

CHICAGO – In one of the coolest visual films of the Fall Season thus far, “Wonderstruck” is another winner from director Todd Haynes (“Carol”), who adapts a Young Adult graphic novel by Brian Selznick (who also wrote the screenplay). The wonder of it all, baby.

Film Review: Tom Cruise in ‘American Made’ Never Gets Off the Ground

CHICAGO – Tom Cruise was once a Top Gun, but his newest film “American Made” never really takes off. It wants to be a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction kind of satire where commercial airline pilot Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) winds up getting involved in the Iran Contra Affair and the Medellín drug cartel, but it never creates an enthralling place or story.

Interview, Audio: Cindy Caponera, TV Writer for ‘I’m Dying Up Here’

CHICAGO – One of the great new premium channel TV series, which piggybacked on the “Twin Peaks” return on the Showtime Network, is “I’m Dying Up Here.” Set in the 1970s, it tells the stories of fictional stand up comedians in Los Angeles, and one of the Consulting Producers and series writers is Cindy Caponera.

Film Review: 'Free Fire' Knows That Happiness is a Warm Gun

Free Fire

CHICAGO – In a film that had a sassy, arbitrary perspective on its own flipped-out story, “Free Fire” sought to out-Quentin Tarantino in freaky funny characters and ammo-splurging gun battles. Director Ben Wheatley (“High-Rise”) took an ensemble cast to rarified heights of insult comedy, revenge dynamics and bullets that hit the bone.

Interview: Director Ben Wheatley Ignites His New Film ‘Free Fire’

CHICAGO – One of the more lovely examples of pure cinema – if that description can be given to a film with nearly constant gunplay – is in the upcoming release of “Free Fire.” Director Ben Wheatley (“High-Rise”) constructs a dark and funny scenario within one room, and fills it with symbolism and homage to other movies.

Interview: Director Hunter Adams on Release of ‘Dig Two Graves’

Dig Two Graves

CHICAGO – One of the local filmmaker heroes has been Hunter Adams, the director of “Dig Two Graves.” Shot in Southern Illinois in the infamous “Little Egypt” area, Adams took a shoestring budget and created a tense and mysterious supernatural thriller. “Dig Two Graves” will get its theatrical and iTunes release on Friday, March 24th, 2017, and will play in Chicago at the AMC River East Theatre (details below).

Interview: Actor Don Cheadle Discovers Himself ‘Miles Ahead’

CHICAGO – Like improvisational jazz, the performance career of Don Cheadle has many moods, directions and shadings. For his latest film, he takes on the titles of co-writer and director, along with the lead role of music legend Miles Davis. This all comes together is the aptly titled “Miles Ahead.”

Interview: Kevin Hanna on The Artist’s Lab Staging of ‘The Cowboy and The Showgirl Cycle’

Cowboy and The Showgirl, The

CHICAGO – Chicago is a hotbed for new stage talent, and the growth of that creativity is generated in new theater works. The Artist’s Lab at Stage 773 is one such developmental program, and director Kevin Hanna is currently in residence to create a new three part musical production called “The Cowboy and the The Showgirl Cycle.” The first part will have its premiere at Stage 773 on February 11th, 2016 (details below).

Film Review: Searing ‘Last Days in Vietnam’ Documents Vital History

Last Days of Vietnam

CHICAGO – It has been nearly 40 years since the Vietnam War truly ended, with the desperate events during the Fall of Saigon. “Last Days in Vietnam” is a brilliant new documentary that puts it all in perspective, the final surreal folly of America’s nightmarish involvement in the Vietnam War. Director Rory Kennedy – the youngest daughter of Robert F. Kennedy – generates a precise and gripping document that lingers long after it has been experienced.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 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.

  • 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.

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