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Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Film Review: ‘Miss Sloane’ Thrills Politically, But Drags Narratively

CHICAGO – Nothing says the holiday season like a film about lobbying and politics. If you read that sarcastically, you’d be wrong. “Miss Sloane” offers a female spin for an otherwise male-dominated political landscape. Most of you are trying to tune out politics after the elections, but this film builds off of that momentum by reminding us how we arrived to that point.

Film Review: Social History is Revitalized in ‘Free State of Jones’

CHICAGO – The United States is still fighting the Civil War, which ended in 1865. The rebellious South has never completely given away its anger and sorrow for the changes the war has wrought on them. These larger themes are examined historically in the new film, “Free State of Jones.”

Film Review: ‘Concussion’ Can’t Quite Tackle its Difficult Subject

Concussion

CHICAGO – “Concussion” suffers from what I call the “Moneyball” problem – it’s got an interesting subject matter, but it doesn’t seem to know what to do with it. It doesn’t have enough faith in its own material or its audience, so it stocks up on a lot of off-the-shelf melodrama in effort to avoid digging into what makes the story interesting in the first place. It’s also a movie that chickens out at the end and seems afraid to pick a fight.

Slideshow: Lana & Andy Wachowski Red-Carpet Appearance for ‘Jupiter Ascending’

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Lana Wachowski at the Chicago International Film Festival Red-Carpet Premiere of ‘Jupiter Ascending.’

CHICAGO – The City of Chicago has more than their share of Hollywood here, as represented by local filmmakers Lana and Andy Wachowski. The siblings have made sure that the Windy City is well represented in their latest science fiction film release, “Jupiter Ascending.” Chicago plays a prominent role in the film, which opened on February 6th, 2015.

Film Review: ‘Jupiter Ascending’ Might Cause Attention Descending

CHICAGO – “Jupiter Ascending” is certainly one of the oddest and densest of sci-fi movies, this side of “Dune,” and has some of the most laughable acting and dialogue seen in a major film in awhile. But the worst offense is that the film is dull, and practically without emotion or human empathy.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to ‘Jupiter Ascending’ With Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated new fantasy film “Jupiter Ascending” starring Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum from Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski (“The Matrix“ films)!

Film Review: ‘Beyond the Lights’ Has a Respect for Storytelling

Beyond the Lights with Gugu Mbatha-Raw

CHICAGO – Writer/Director Gina Prince-Bythewood, the creator of the cult favorite “Love & Basketball,” is back with another original story that she created, an intimate and romantic perspective on a singer on the path to nowhere, despite superstar-level fame. Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars as that singer in “Beyond the Lights.”

Interview: Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw is Directed ‘Beyond the Lights’

CHICAGO – The show business life is ripe for drama, and the new film “Beyond the Lights” explores the difficulties of the the superstar reaches of the music business, through a Beyoncé-type singer. Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays Noni, and the film’s director is Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Love & Basketball”).

Slideshow: 50th Chicago International Film Festival Opening Night, Black Perspectives Gala

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Colin Farrell of ‘Miss Julie’ at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival.

CHICAGO – The 2014 edition of the 50th Chicago International Film Festival kicked off on October 9th with a spectacular presentation of “Miss Julie,” directed by the legendary Liv Ullmann, featuring Colin Ferrell and Jessica Chastain. The following evening was the Black Perspective Gala, at which the spotlight was on “Beyond the Lights,” starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

  • Wonder Woman

    CHICAGO – There are few films in 2017 that are as historically important as they are cinematically well-crafted. Of those, there is only one I saw three times in theaters. That honor comes in the form of the revolutionary “Wonder Woman,” which not only shows huge promise for the future of DC Comics films but for comic book-based films as a whole.

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