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Documentary

Interview: Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees on Finding ‘Amy’

CHICAGO – She burned like a firework in the sky, and just as quickly faded away. The unique voice of Amy Winehouse was fresh air into the music vacuum, and yet the delicate state of her destructive addictions succumbed to a sudden notoriety. Director Asif Kapadia and producer James Gay-Rees tell her story in ‘Amy.’

Interview: Comedian Barry Crimmins of ‘Call Me Lucky’ at 2015 Chicago Critics Film Festival

CHICAGO – One of the more emotionally stunning screenings at the Chicago Critics Film Festival (CCFF) was a film about a comedian. Barry Crimmins is a beloved comic, with a stable of famous friends. But he also had a secret in his past, and it’s all explored in “Call Me Lucky,” directed by fellow comic traveler Bobcat Goldthwait.

Film Review: Life, Geopolitics & Hockey in Excellent ‘Red Army’

CHICAGO – How often can we learn life lessons from the most unlikely of sources? The documentary “Red Army” is one such source, as director Gabe Polsky tells the story of the Soviet Union hockey team, which expands to the the very parameters of human nature and competition.

Interview: Director Gabe Polsky on Superb Documentary ‘Red Army’

CHICAGO – Every red-blooded American has been told the story of the “Miracle on Ice,” the 1980 Winter Olympic upset of the mighty Soviet Union hockey team by Team USA. But who were the Soviet players? Why were they the best in the world? Director Gabe Polsky explores these questions in the documentary “Red Army.”

Interview: Co-Directors Aaron Wickenden, Dan Rybicky of Outsider Artist Doc ‘Almost There’

Almost There, Aaron Wickenden & Dan Rybicky

CHICAGO – The discovery of an outsider artist’s eccentric creations leads to the testing revelation of a public shame in “Almost There,” a definitively human documentary that mixes the idiosyncratic canvas of “Grey Gardens” with the compassion of “Hoop Dreams.” Making its Chicago premiere tomorrow night at the Gene Siskel Film Center, “Almost There” has sold out its 7:45pm screening, but tickets a

Film Review: BP Spill Aftermath Exposed in Humanizing Doc ‘The Great Invisible’

The Great Invisible, 2014 second try

CHICAGO – Four years later, and the change that lamentably only comes from the casualties of life and livelihood has not reached the Gulf of Mexico. Director Margaret Brown’s documentary compassionately bestows a disillusioned voice to the affected individuals, from oil riggers to oyster shuckers, whose reliance on the gulf’s livelihood was devastated when BP spilled a total of 176 million gallons of oil over 87 days starting on April 20, 2010.

Film Review: Ego an Arduous Carousel in Documentary ‘Harmontown’

Harmontown, Dan Harmon, 2014

CHICAGO - Dan Harmon does not look very good in his documentary “Harmontown,” which is probably why he agreed to the project. The creator of NBC’s cult comedy “Community” is presented wantonly in this documentation of his tour across America to interact with his fans through live recordings of his podcast “Harmontown.”

Film Review: More Questions Than Answers in ‘Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon’

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon

CHICAGO – Not much is really revealed about the subject of the documentary “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon,” co-directed by comedian Mike Myers. Shep is a rock star agent, Shep gets rich, Shep shares his Hawaiian beach condo with big stars, Shep represents gourmet chefs, Shep likes to cook and Shep strangely wants kids, despite being in his sixties and not being able to maintain any domestic relationship. There is no there in this film, only the spoils of good representation.

Film Review: Documentary ‘Kids for Cash’ Shares Multiple Viewpoints

Kids for Cash

CHICAGO – The funny thing about documentaries is that any goal of truly replicating reality, or the truth, is impossible. Unless a documentary film were to convey an experience with 360 degrees and 24/7 coverage (AKA life), it will always be a subjective endeavor. Documentary storytellers are always creating a point of view, simply by choosing where to point a camera, and where to cut a sequence.

Interview: Director Ed Brown Deals with ‘Unacceptable Levels’

Unacceptable Levels, Director Ed Brown, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – As modern life becomes more toxic and technology uses more chemicals within everyday foodstuffs and products, the consequence for disease and sickness as a result is an increasing threat. Ed Brown, a filmmaker and concerned family man, explores this phenomenon in a new documentary, “Unacceptable Levels.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Lori Petty, photo by Joe Arce

    CHICAGO – Lori Petty will never be predictable, nor put into some show business box. The free-wheelin’ Ms. P applies her expansive performance skills to the role of Lolly – a guest spot that turned into a recurring character – on Netflix’s hot series “Orange is the New Black,” which released its third season on June 12th, 2015.

  • The Projects

    CHICAGO – The legacy of public housing is one of the strangest forces of karma in the City of Chicago. For example, sites that were once some of the roughest and most neglected housing for the poor now contain luxury condos. It is the people of those former hellholes that still remember the sorrowful history of what they once called home. The American Theater Company (ATC) have gathered these stories for the poignant and extraordinary “The Projects.”

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