HollywoodChicago.com Arts & Entertainment News

Oscar Week: Co-Directors Explain How ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’

Ralph Breaks the Internet

CHICAGO – The Best Animated Film category at the 91st Academy Awards honor both these visual treats and their status in the new Golden Age. The visual density of today’s animation reaches a new height in a rare Walt Disney Studio sequel, “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” This is a follow-up to “Wreck-It Ralph,” a huge animated hit film. Returning to guide the sequel, which has Wreck-It Ralph “inside” the internet, are co-directors Phil Johnston and Rich Moore.

Film Review: Satisfying Emotion in ‘How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World’

How to Train Your Dragon 3

CHICAGO –All fiery things must come to an extinguishing point, and the “How to Train Your Dragon” animated film series concludes with its third entry, subtitled “Hidden World.” To finish things up the creators turn on the Dragon power, there are literally thousands of them flamed up and ready to go.

Flashback Podtalk, Photo: Jussie Smollett on The Red Carpet in 2017

CHICAGO – Before everything else happened, Jussie Smollett was an actor from the TV series “Empire” and portrayed Langston Hughes in the film “Marshall” … featuring Chadwick Boseman of “Black Panther” as young Thurgood Marshall. Smollett walked the Red Carpet for the film in 2017, at the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival.

Oscar Week: Podtalks with Nominated Best Director Adam McKay on His Filmmaker Philosophy

Vice, Adam McKay

CHICAGO – Director Adam McKay has come to the meatiest part of his long and successful career. He began with comedy in TV and film, and was first known for hilarious movies like “Anchorman,” “Talledega Nights,” and “Step Brothers.” Recently, he has moved into more complex filmmaking, like the highly touted (and Oscar nominated for Best Picture and Director) “The Big Short” in 2015, and this year’s “Vice,” nominated again for Best Picture, Best Director and for his Best Original Screenplay.

Oscar Week: Directors Betsy West & Julie Cohen on Their Nominated Documentary ‘RBG’

RBG Ruth Bader Ginsburg

CHICAGO – Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the notorious “RBG,” has been a steady and abiding voice on that high court since 1993. But how much do we really know about this unassuming and highly admired jurist? Co-directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen answer this question in their documentary “RBG.” The film is one of five nominees competing for gold in the Feature Documentary category, to be given on Sunday at the 91st Academy Awards.

Podtalk: Director Stephen Merchant for ‘Fighting with My Family’

CHICAGO – Stephen Merchant is well known for his hilarious takes on über-tall (he’s six-foot-seven) and awkward comedy. He helped create the British “The Office” TV series with longtime collaborator Ricky Gervais, and HBO shows like “Extras” and “Hello Ladies.” He writes and directs his first major feature, the pro wrestling film “Fighting with My Family.”

Oscar Week: Interview with Nominees Yalitza Aparicio & Marina de Tavira of ‘Roma’

ROMA Actors, Photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – One of the more pleasant surprises of the 2018 film year was the rise of the connectively expressive film “Roma,” written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Not only is it nominated for Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director at the 91st Academy Awards, but the two lead actresses – Yalitza Aparicio and Maria de Tavira – are nominated for Best Actress and Supporting Actress. Jon Lennon Espino, contributor at HollywoodChicago.com, interviewed both actresses last October at the 54th Chicago International Film Festival.

Oscar Week: Podtalk with Director Bing Liu of Oscar nominated Feature Doc ‘Minding the Gap’

Minding the Gap, directed by Bing Liu

CHICAGO – All through the 2019 Oscar Week, HollywoodChicago.com will rerun significant articles from 2018 that feature the nominees associated with Sunday’s Academy Award ceremony. Today is a Podtalk with director Bing Liu, who was the filmmaker behind a Best Documentary Feature nominee, “Minding the Gap.” The film seems to be a nostalgic profile of Liu’s youth in Rockford, Illinois, as he goes back to his hometown to explore the skateboarding culture that kept him balanced while growing up in a difficult home environment. What he found out about himself was an organic reveal in the film, both shocking and cathartic.

Film Review: Relatable Togetherness Highlight 2019 Oscar Nominated Animated Short Films

2019 Oscar Animated Shorts

CHICAGO – The relationships in our lives affect who we are, whether they are momentary or long term. Interestingly, like the Oscar nominated Live Action shorts, the Animated Short Film nominees have that similar connective themes in four of the five stories. Family relationships, son-to-mother, mother-to-daughter, daughter-to-father and parents-to-child, are explored in poignant and expressive ways. The Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Chicago are currently showing all the shorts in one program. Click here for more information.

Digital TV Review: Chicago-Produced ‘Geek Lounge’ Premieres on Amazon Prime

Geek Lounge

CHICAGO – The comic book admiration society has been the fastest growing sub-culture in the last 25 years. Once thought a remnant of childhood is now a flourishing industry in show business, comic book shops and conventions. “Geek Lounge,” a TV series created by producer/director/writer Larry Ziegelman, explores the comic book/pop culture generation, and is now streaming on Amazon Prime. Click here for the details.

Film Review: Sequel Surprisingly Surpasses the First Film in ‘Happy Death Day 2U’

hdd2u

CHICAGO – At some point, we’ve all experienced deja vu. Sure, it could just be because we lead a monotonous, predictable life, but I’d personally welcome the idea of something supernatural at play over the more practical explanation. That’s exactly what “Happy Death Day” introduced, and it was a hilarious slasher take on “Groundhog Day”, and luckily the sequel, “Happy Death Day 2U”, adds to the experience.

Film Review: The James Cameron Touch Creates ‘Alita: Battle Angel’

CHICAGO – The creation of new worlds has always been a mainstay of the cinema, virtually since it was invented. And whether you love or are indifferent to the films of James Cameron (“Titanic”), he remains one of the prime movers in advancing the creative tools of films. His influence is all over “Alita: Battle Angel.”

Film Review: Something for Everyone in Delicious ‘Isn’t It Romantic’

CHICAGO – “Isn’t It Romantic” knows exactly what it is, and what it wants to be. It is simultaneously for people who love Romantic Comedy, and those who profess to hate them … but may secretly love them. It’s an amusing trifle that’s about as surprising as a heart shaped box of chocolates, but sometimes that’s what you want.

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