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Film Review: ‘The Aftermath’ is Strained & Illicit Romance During War

CHICAGO – One of the roots of the sexual revolution in America was World War II (as it was the roots of many social movements). The stakes of life and death in an instant motivates the softest of puppy love to passion. “The Aftermath” takes that time honored emotional intensity into a right-after-the-war romance.

Film Review: World War I Comes to Life in ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’

CHICAGO – The First World War took place (1914-18) in conjunction with the early days of film, with enough cameras available to actually capture it. For years, that dusty and silent celluloid was used in documentaries, but never has it come to life the way that director Peter Jackson presents it in “They Shall Not Grow Old.”

Film Review: A Bit of Pop/Rock Magic Spins in ‘Juliet, Naked’

CHICAGO – The story of a drop-out rock and roll star… usually disappearing at the height of their fame… has fascinated the movies in both fiction (“Eddie and the Cruisers”) and documentary (“Waiting for Sugarman”). “Juliet, Naked” takes the premise and creates a charming, romantic story about fandom and redemptive decisions.

Exclusive Photo: Happy Birthday to Movie & TV Icon Joan Collins

Joan Collins, portrait by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – The ageless Joan Collins is probably best known for the prime time soap opera “Dynasty,” which ran from 1981 to 1989, but she is also a throwback to the last of the old studio system in Hollywood, when she was signed to a contract with 20th Century Fox in 1955. For her latest act, she will appear in the upcoming eighth season of FX Channel’s “American Horror Story.” Her birthday, May 23rd, is today.

Oscar Week: Gary Oldman is Winston Churchill in ‘Darkest Hour’

CHICAGO – He has been cleaning up in the preliminary awards so far in 2018, and he’s an odds-on favorite to take the Oscar for Best Actor on Sunday, March 4th. Veteran actor Gary Oldman donned make-up and found the right accent to portray Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour” (also nominated for the Best Picture).

Film Review: Diversity & High Quality in 2018 Oscar-Nominated Live Action Short Films

2018 Live Action Oscar Nominated Shorts

CHICAGO – From deafness to religious conflict to one of the most vicious events in American history, the Oscar nominated Live Action short films fulfill the drama, emotions and even laughs in a compact form. The 2018 Live Action Shorts nominees are being shown in one program, locally at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Chicago. Click here for more information. The Animations Shorts are also being shown.

Film Review: Annette Bening Proves ‘Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool’

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool

CHICAGOGEORGE BAILEY: “Hey, you look good. That’s some dress you got on there.” VIOLET: “This old thing? I only wear it when I don’t care how I look.” That is how actress Gloria Grahame (as Violet Bick) was introduced in the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Now she is portrayed by Annette Bening in “Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool”.

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.”

Film Review: Charles Dickens is ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

Man Who Invented Christmas, The

CHICAGO – The story of Ebenezer Scrooge, as told in Charles Dicken’s classic “A Christmas Carol,” seems to be the one constant that survives the commercialization of the holiday season. The story of Scrooge’s creation is told with expressive sentimentality in “The Man Who Invented Christmas.”

Interview, Audio: Director Simon Curtis of ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’

CHICAGO – Winnie the Pooh is a cultural icon of four generations, due both to the character’s literary roots and Walt Disney’s interpretation. A new film, “Goodbye Christopher Robin,” is the origin story of the famous bear, as created by author A.A. Milne. The movie is directed by veteran helmsman Simon Curtis.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Grace, Or the Art of Climbing

    CHICAGO – What is life but a constant climb? The Brown Paper Box Co., one of the most vital storefront theater groups in Chicago, asks that question and more in the significant “Grace, Or the Art of Climbing.” Using a woman’s journey through some difficult situations, the parallels of “the climb” become a artfully performed story that is all inspiration and uplift. The play runs through July 7th, 2019, at Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District in Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Elizabeth Laidlaw

    CHICAGO – The recent limited series “The Red Line” on CBS-TV was notable for a couple elements – it was set in Chicago and it featured Chicago actors in major roles. Creators Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss (from here), cast their Chi-town colleague Elizabeth Laidlaw, who portrayed police officer “Vic” Renna.

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