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Film News: Roger Moore, Who Portrayed James Bond, Dies at 89

SWITZERLAND – Of all the breathless hype that comes with each new James Bond movie, the man who played Bond the longest (and in the most films) is often forgotten. Sir Roger Moore – he was knighted for his charity work – portrayed Bond from 1972 to 1985, and died in Switzerland on May 22, 2017. He was 89.

Film Review: ‘Everything, Everything’ Offers Close to Nothing, Nothing

CHICAGO – I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the target audience for these stock young adult romance novels. Aside from the odd fascination and romanticization of teenage death and terminal illness, these stories feel trite and much closer to fantasy than anything real or plausible. This is what the film “Everything, Everything” brings to the table, which essentially translates to Nothing, Nothing.

Film Review: Diane Lane Hits the Blacktop in ‘Paris Can Wait’

Paris Can Wait

CHICAGO – The cache of “Paris Can Wait” is what immediately makes it attractive. It’s Diane Lane road tripping through France on the way to Paris, guided by the script and direction of Eleanor Coppola, in her narrative film debut (at age 80!). Along the way there is food, seduction, incredible sights and Alec Baldwin. That formula was destined to work.

Film Review: ‘Alien: Covenant’ is a Pale Copy of Previous Best Films

CHICAGO – It’s worth noting that the Alien series extends back nearly 40 years, and yet the chest-bursting Xenomorphs have produced a grand total of exactly two good movies. The orginal “Alien” and “Aliens” are great films that stand the test of the time, while every other entry in this series would require a significant stretch of the imagination to be called barely watchable.

Podcast Talk: Asian Pop-Up Cinema Honors Hong Kong Pop & Film Legend Teddy Robin Kwan

Asian Pop Up Cinema 2017 Closing Night

CHICAGO – When The Beatles changed pop music forever in the early 1960s, they also launched a worldwide revolution of bands and songwriters. One such star was Teddy Robin Kwan, who founded Teddy Robin & the Playboys in Hong Kong, and rightly took the crown as “The King of Asian Pop.” And for his second act, the small-but-mighty Kwan became one of Hong Kong’s top film composers, as well as a director and actor of note. He was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Asian Pop-Up Cinema series Closing Night Gala in Chicago on May 11th, 2017.

Film News: Chicago Critics Film Festival Closes With ‘A Ghost Story’ on May 18, 2017

Chicago Critics Film Festival MB Marquee

CHICAGO – All great things must inevitably end, and the 5th annual Chicago Critics Film Festival will go out with a bang, with the hottest film at the recent Sundance Film Festival, “A Ghost Story,” at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre on Thursday May 18th (8pm). This will conclude a day of films, with “Lucky,” “Mr Roosevelt” and “Menashe” screen preceding the finale.

Podcast Talk: Allison Tolman & Lucas Neff of ABC-TV’s ‘Downward Dog’

CHICAGO – From “Mr. Ed” to “Dog with a Blog,” talking animals have had their place on TV. The latest has origins as a web series, with the clever title “Downward Dog.” The show premieres on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 (9:30pEST/8:30pCST), on ABC TV, and features Ned the Dog as Martin, and human companions portrayed by Allison Tolman and Lucas Neff.

Interview: Director Azazel Jacobs Looks at ‘The Lovers’

Azazel Jacobs The Lovers

CHICAGO – There is a familiar Stephen Sondheim song called “Send in the Clowns,” which speaks of the absurdity of relationships, and their ups and downs. Writer/director Azazel Jacobs has kind of made a movie version of that song’s meaning, with the trials of a married couple, cheating on each other, in “The Lovers.”

Red-Carpet Exclusive Portrait, Audio: Jeremy Piven for Gene Siskel Center Renaissance Award

Jeremy Piven, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – Actor Jeremy Piven came home to Chicago on May 13th, 2017, to moderate the Gene Siskel Center Renaissance Award tribute to actor Kevin Spacey. Piven, who grew up in nearby Evanston, Ill., has forged a diverse career in Hollywood, and is most well-known for portraying super-agent Ari Gold in the HBO series “Entourage.”

Interview: Director Pat Healy of ‘Take Me’ at Chicago Critics Film Festival on May 15, 2017

CHICAGO – An original voice, in an original conceptual movie, is a rare category of cinema art. Director and lead actor Pat Healy, working from a script from Mike Makowsky, has fashioned “Take Me,” a thriller about kidnapping and having the tables turned.

Film Review: ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ is a Dull, Magicless Bore

CHICAGO – Have you ever had such a bad case of déjà vu while watching a film that trying to remember where the familiar elements are from turns into a more enjoyable experience than actually seeing the film itself? If you haven’t, your quest for that kind of film is fulfilled by the incredibly forgettable “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.”

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  • Downward Dog

    CHICAGO – From “Mr. Ed” to “Dog with a Blog,” talking animals have had their place on TV. The latest has origins as a web series, with the clever title “Downward Dog.” The show premieres on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 (9:30pEST/8:30pCST), on ABC TV, and features Ned the Dog as Martin, and human companions portrayed by Allison Tolman and Lucas Neff.

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.

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