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Film Review: Delightful ‘Ferdinand’ Keeps it Simple & Funny

Ferdinand

CHICAGO – Like the repeat tenets of real estate, good animated films come down to story, story, story. And ‘Ferdinand,’ an older children’s tale adapted to modern audiences, combines a gentle source narrative with palatable visual and cartoon jokes. It’s fun for the whole family!

Interview, Audio: Michael Stuhlbarg in ‘Call Me By Your Name’

CHICAGO – The character actor Michael Stuhlbarg is one of the more complete players in today’s show business. His embrace of a role is absolute, and his characters ring with a particular poetry based on his interpretations. His latest role is of an academic and father in the new film, “Call Me By Your Name.”

Podtalk: Liliane Calfee of DePaul University Presents ‘Step’ on Dec. 16, 2017

2017 Screening of 'Step'

CHICAGO – Within the expanding DePaul University School of Cinematic Arts is a commitment to community outreach. Liliane Calfee is an Instructor in the school, as well as the Program Director of the CHA (Chicago Housing Authority) Program in Documentary Filmmaking, a course which gives female youth from public housing the opportunity to learn the nuts-and-bolts of the documentary art form from DePaul academic experts. This program, along with film community leader Chaz Ebert, will present the 2017 documentary “Step” on Saturday, December 17th, 2017, at the CDM Theatre on the South Loop campus.

Film Review: Ethereal ‘The Shape of Water’ Forms Cinema Magic

CHICAGO – This breathtaking morality and love story, set in a backward age, takes all of its major themes – passion, tolerance, symbolism and thrills – to the highest level. Writer/director Guillermo del Toro has created a masterwork that is part fairy tale, part adult desperation and all cinema magic.

Film News: Chicago Film Critics Association Honors ‘Lady Bird’ as 2017 Best Film

Lady Bird

CHICAGO – “Lady Bird,” which is the sensational, authentic and emotional directorial debut of actor Greta Gerwig, was honored as the Best Picture of 2017 as determined by the Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) on Dec. 12, 2017. The Best Director was split to Christopher Nolan of “Dunkirk,” the Best Actor was Timothée Chalamet of “Call Me By Your Name” (who also was awarded Most Promising Performer) and the Best Actress was Saoirse Ronan of “Lady Bird.”

Film Review: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Turns Up the Volume

CHICAGO – Everything that could be thrown into the Stars Wars legend – and the official story – is present in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” With three concurrent stories converging into an amped-up climax, all manner of Star Wars-mania and fan satisfaction can be realized in Episode 8.

Film News: ‘Call Me By Your Name’ Tops Chicago Film Critics Association’s Nominations for 2017

Call Me By Your Name

CHICAGO – The eclectic coming-of-age love story, “Call Me By Your Name” topped the nominations list with eight for the 2017 Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) Film Awards, to be announced on Wednesday, December 13th. Director Luca Guadagnino’s adaptation of Andre Aciman’s novel garnered nods for Best Picture, Guadagnino for Best Director, and acting noms for Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg and Timothee Chalamet.

Film News: Midwest Independent Film Festival Announces 2017 Best of the Midwest Awards

2017 Best of the Midwest Awardees

CHICAGO – The votes were tallied – from internet surveys and the awards committee – and the Midwest Independent Film Festival “Best of the Midwest” (BMA) Awards were given out on Tuesday, December 5th, 2017.

Film Review: Woody Allen Has Run Out of Ideas with ‘Wonder Wheel’

CHICAGO – Woody Allen emptied out his junk drawer of discarded script ideas and somehow managed to convince Kate Winslet to star in it. That’s the gist of the latest “serious Woody” entry in the Oscar winner’s long running career. Woody Allen has had some timeless triumphs, but lately he’s been more about quantity than quality.

Interview, Audio: Gary Oldman is Winston Churchill in ‘Darkest Hour’

CHICAGO – Gary Oldman has been generating memorable film portrayals since he broke through in the 1980s. From Sid Vicious (“Sid and Nancy”) to Lee Harvey Oswald (“JFK”) to Jim Gordon (Dark Knight Series), Oldman is a consummate actor. That is expressed in his latest role, as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.”

Interview, Audio: Veteran Screenwriters of ‘The Disaster Artist’

CHICAGO – The screenwriting team of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber have had many adventures plying their trade, ever since their breakthrough “500 Days of Summer” in 2009. Their latest assignment was adapting “The Disaster Artist” for director and lead actor James Franco.

Exclusive Photo: Happy Birthday to Supermodel Lisa Marie

CHICAGO – She was the creative muse for one of the most famous photographers in history, she inspired a notable film director with her unique look and she was the face for Calvin Klein’s Obsession. Supermodel and actor Lisa Marie is celebrating her birthday on December 5th, 2017.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 10th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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