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Film Review: Discover the 2017 Oscar Short Film Nominees

CHICAGO – One of the more overlooked set of nominees at Academy Awards time is two categories for Best Short Film – Live Action and Animated. The 2017 nominees are packaged as two presentations that are currently screening in Chicago at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema.

Film Review: Shining Restoration of Jean Cocteau’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Beauty and the Beast (Cocteau)

CHICAGO – One of the legendary films in cinema history is Jean Cocteau’s “La Belle et La Bete,” also known to generations as “Beauty and the Beast.” The restored re-release is touring the country, and in Chicago it’s currently at the Gene Siskel Film Center, and Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com will lead a discussion of the film there on Monday, April 11, 2016.

Film Review: Passion of Young French Love Fuels ‘My Golden Days’

CHICAGO – Feel like a French film? Well, “My Golden Days” is just the ticket. Full of existential romance, too many cigarettes, casual carnality and pathological regret, the story should come with its own beret and baguette.

Theater Review: Chicago Lyric Opera’s Energetic ‘Romeo and Juliet’

CHICAGO – The familiar story of the “star crossed lovers” by William Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet,” has been given as many interpretations over the years as there are stars in the sky. The Lyric Opera of Chicago presents the operatic French version, with a bright and venerate staging.

Film News: 51st Chicago International Film Festival Kicks Off with ‘Mia Madre’

Mia Madre

CHICAGO – The 2015 edition, the 51st Chicago International Film Festival, kicks off tonight on October 15th with a Red Carpet at 5:30pm, and film at 7pm. The premiere will be “Mia Madre” a Italian/French collaboration and a “movie about the movies” directed by Nanni Moretti. The festival will continue through October 29th, with a variety of cinematic treats and international offerings.

Interview: Félix de Givry, Sven Hansen-Løve Take the Journey to ‘Eden’

Eden

CHICAGO – When it comes to how dance music evolved in the last thirty years, there was a ground zero that was launched right here in Chicago. House music, or Garage House, were inspired beats that were mixed from a DJ source in front of the dancers, creating a brand new club scene. The late DJ Frankie Knuckles was one of the pioneers, and his legacy eventually reached Paris, where it was discovered and re-invented in fresh and different forms. A new film called “Eden” explores that phenomenon, and it features Félix de Givry as a Paris DJ in the 1990s and 2000s, based on the life of the co-writer of the film, Sven Hansen-Løve.

Film Review: ‘Million Dollar Arm’ Misses the Strike Zone

CHICAGO – “Million Dollar Arm” harkens back to a period of shameless family friendly schmaltz that used to play to families in theaters and then run in perpetuity on “The Wonderful World Of Disney” on television. But this treacly baseball drama throws nothing but balls.

Film Review: Life’s a Transition for Fanny Ardant in ‘Bright Days Ahead’

Bright Days Ahead

CHICAGO – We are victims of our own circumstances, says the old adage. We are also prone to transitions, some caused by decisions we make, others thrust upon us through life itself. In a fascinating new French film, Fanny Ardant embraces a character transforming through such circumstance, and trying to understand what aging means to her in “Bright Days Ahead.”

Film Review: ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ Expands a True Coupling

CHICAGO – Deliberate and passionate relationships – with all the initial upbeat highs and subsequent heart-breaking lows – may never get as deep a treatment as the winner of the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or, the challenging and expressive “Blue is the Warmest Color.”

Film Review: French Film Has a Bigger Chill in ‘Little White Lies’

Little White Lies

CHICAGO – The landmark ensemble film “The Big Chill” (1983) featured seven former college friends reuniting for the funeral of one of their own. The French film “Little White Lies” takes that concept a step further, as friends go on a yearly retreat without one of their own, because he is in the hospital. Francois Cluzet, Marion Cotillard and Jean Dujardin co-star.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Speech & Debate (stage play)

    CHICAGO – “Speech & Debate,” the latest production from the mighty Brown Paper Box Company, continues their tradition of thinking outside that “box” in presenting storefront theater that makes a statement and a difference. “Speech” goes inside America by showcasing the outsiders… those who create art because they can’t get it right in real life. This non-equity Chicago stage play premiere is finely tuned and wonderfully acted, and runs through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • We're Gonna Be Okay

    CHICAGO – The 1960s were a time of historical social transition. The movements – civil rights, feminist, gay rights – all had roots in that tumultuous decade. The Chicago premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s “We’re Gonna Be Okay” echoes all of those movements in its characters, and collides them against the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the American Theater Company through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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