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2015 Sundance Diary, Day 1: ‘What Happened, Miss Simone?,’ ‘The Bronze’ & ‘The Amina Profile’

PARK CITY – The 2015 Sundance Film Festival is well underway in Park City, Utah, a snow-adorned mega village where everything looks like ski lodges, even the movie theaters. The festival occurs in a place that transforms for the cause of movies.

Film Review: Supremely Silly ‘Mortdecai’ is a Pleasant Surprise

CHICAGO – I have to say while watching Johnny Depp in “Mortdecai,” I found myself amused. I rarely elicited anything more than a slight chuckle, but its indomitable spirit of silliness made it a not entirely unpleasant evening out.

Theater Review: ‘The Book of Merman’ Should Satisfy Both Sets of Fans

Book of Merman, The

CHICAGO – One potential theater-goer loves the “The Book of Mormon.” The other would rather stay home and watch old Ethel Merman YouTube videos. Pride Films & Theater offers the ultimate solution by combining both in a campy musical, “The Book of Merman.” Yep, two Elder characters from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints meets foghorn singer Ethel Merman.

Film Review: Story Won’t Go All the Way in ‘The Boy Next Door’

CHICAGO – There was a different kind of vibe coming from the thriller “The Boy Next Door,” different than what is expected when hearing “Jennifer Lopez as teacher caught in a scandal with a student.” But for every piece of original thinking, there was a fear of making it too different.

Interview: Actor Trai Byers of Film ‘Selma,’ TV’s ‘Empire’

CHICAGO – The excellent film “Selma” focuses on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But just as important as King were the marchers from supporting civil rights societies, such as the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and their leaders like James Forman, portrayed in the film by Trai Byers.

Blu-ray Review: Stale Screen Culture Drama ‘Men, Women & Children’

Men, Women & Children with Kaitlyn Dever

CHICAGO – In “Men, Women & Children,” director Jason Reitman not-so-audaciously reflects onto viewers their world of silent screens and awkward impersonal interactions. As many stories (“Don Jon,” “Disconnect”) have taken on the torch of showing how we are, gasp! — connected to the world yet disconnected from those close to us — Reitman’s tale is just another one for the batch.

Interview: Director Michael Jolls Mocks ‘The Great Chicago Filmmaker’

great chicago filmmaker.jpg

CHICAGO - A mockumentary in the style of 2009’s political comedy “In the Loop,” “The Great Chicago Filmmaker” aims the camera back at burgeoning directors who mar their projects with delusion and self-admiration. Motivated by real-life horror stories from Chicago film sets, the movie follows a young director (played by Devin Sanclemente) on his journey to birth the next indie sensation, but stumbling over his own ego in the process.

Interview: Chicagoan Eric McCoy, Justus Meyer of McCoy|Meyer Productions

Justus Meyer, Eric McCoy

CHICAGO – When HollywoodChicago.com last talked to Eric McCoy, he was a fresh-out-of-film-school director with a notable short work – “Carpe Millennium” – ready to hit the festival circuit, and a different name, Eric Bednarowicz. About a year later, Eric moved to Los Angeles, took his middle name as his new moniker, and teamed up with Justus Meyer to form the new production company McCoy|Meyer. Ironically, Dictionary Films of Chicago just announced that McCoy|Meyer of Los Angeles will join their team of production experts here.

Film Feature: The Top 10 Celebrity Photos of 2014, By Joe Arce

CHICAGO – In a year where shoots with perpetual photo fashionistas like Cindy Crawford and Sarah Jessica Parker still failed to crack the Top Ten list of biggest celebrity photo-ops, you know 2014 was a very good year for HollywoodChicago.com and myself, Joe Arce, as Senior Staff Photographer.

DVD Review: William H. Macy’s Sappy Directorial Debut ‘Rudderless’

Rudderless, Billy Crudup Anton Yelchin

CHICAGO – Actor William H. Macy’s directorial debut “Rudderless” is a film of open mic songwriting that tackles a recovery from grief with neat lyrics and easy metaphors. Instead of standing out, Macy has provided another sap’s ballad that has the cuteness of “Kumbaya”, one that aims to please the crowd without challenging emotions, only showing them.

Film Feature: Preview of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival

CHICAGO – This Thursday marks the beginning of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and yours truly will be in attendance to cover the fest for HollywoodChicago.com. Last year, the Park City, Utah event introduced the world to its 2014-defining sensations like “Whiplash” and “Boyhood”.

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  • Book of Merman, The

    CHICAGO – One potential theater-goer loves the “The Book of Mormon.” The other would rather stay home and watch old Ethel Merman YouTube videos. Pride Films & Theater offers the ultimate solution by combining both in a campy musical, “The Book of Merman.” Yep, two Elder characters from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints meets foghorn singer Ethel Merman.

  • Men, Women & Children with Kaitlyn Dever

    CHICAGO – In “Men, Women & Children,” director Jason Reitman not-so-audaciously reflects onto viewers their world of silent screens and awkward impersonal interactions. As many stories (“Don Jon,” “Disconnect”) have taken on the torch of showing how we are, gasp! — connected to the world yet disconnected from those close to us — Reitman’s tale is just another one for the batch.

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