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Film Review: ‘7 Days in Entebbe’ is Surprisingly Effective

7 Days in Entebbe

CHICAGO – What would you expect from an event subject that has been already rendered four times on film, and deals with terrorism, hijacking and government negotiation? “7 Days in Entebbe” contained all of this, and yet still maintained a separate energy and cinematic artistry. In many ways, it’s one of the most surprising films of the young year.

Film Review: Alicia Vikander Has a Case of the Runs in ‘Tomb Raider’

CHICAGO – Movies based on video games are almost never good… even the best ones only ascend to the level of “barely watchable.” By that measure, “Tomb Raider” can be considered a modest success since it didn’t make me want to claw my eyes out. I have to confess I never saw either of the first two films with Angelina Jolie, but after watching this I’m not actually clamoring at the bit to catch up.

Podtalk: Joe Minoso for ‘Alonso, The Dream And The Call’

CHICAGO – He has portrayed the reliable firefighter Joe Cruz for six seasons on NBC-TV’s “Chicago Fire”… Joe Minoso both plays that role and actually lives in Chicago now. Before his stint on “Fire,” he had completed a short film for local filmmaker Ben-Hur Uribe, “Alonso, The Dream and the Call,” which has just been released for Amazon Prime download.

Podtalk: Christian Taylor on Origins for her Documentary ‘The Girl Who Wore Freedom’

The Girl Who Wore Freedom

CHICAGO – The era of World War II, now close to 80 years in the past, seems ever so farther in the rear view mirror of history. Movies have done their part to keep the memories and the spirit alive, so joining such works as “Band of Brothers” and “Saving Private Ryan” is a new documentary in development, “The Girl Who Wore Freedom,” now in pre-production by filmmakers Christian Taylor and Terry Jun of Reverse Negative Studios in Skokie, Ill.

Film Review: Helen Mirren Takes Another Ride in ‘The Leisure Seeker’

Leisure Seeker, The

CHICAGO – Helen Mirren keeps establishing herself as an international treasure with each new role. She is the prime motivator in the new film “The Leisure Seeker,” about a retired couple taking one last spin in their RV, which takes its nickname from the title of the film. Along the way secrets are revealed and the devastation of dementia is exposed, but the story never gets too serious or heavy handed.

Film Review: ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Can’t Smooth Its Bizarre Fabric

CHICAGO – Although I am an admirer of Oprah Winfrey, it’s unfortunate that the best way to describe “A Wrinkle in Time” – with her role as goddess problem solver – is Worst. Episode. of. Oprah. Ever. The film, based on a novel from 1962, caves into effects over cohesiveness or story.

Interview: Sophia Wong Boccio on Season 6 of Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema

Sophia Wong Boccio

CHICAGO – The Asian Pop-Up Cinema (APUC) series has established a foothold in the Chicago film scene through the last three years and now five seasons. For Spring 2018, Season 6 will open on March 13th with a U.S. Premiere from Japan, “Colors of Wind,” featuring an appearance by hot lead Japanese actor, Yuki Furukawa (click here for details). The series will then unspool 14 more films through May 16th, all facilitated and curated by the Founder of APUC, veteran film programmer Sophia Wong Boccio.

Film News: ‘Midwest Shorts’ Screens at Midwest Independent Film Festival on March 6, 2018

March 2018 Midwest Indie

CHICAGO – Short films, in a society increasingly becoming attention challenged, are getting a new lease as an essential film showcase. The Midwest Independent Film Festival will highlight a “Midwest Shorts Program” for their second 2018 event on March 6th. 13 films are part of the line-up, including a World Premiere, a Festival Premiere, Two Chicago Premieres and a 2017 Sundance Film Festival Selection. For more information, including line-ups and tickets, click here.

Film News: ‘The Shape of Water’ Wins 2018 Oscar Best Picture

CHICAGO – Even though Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway appeared once again to present the Best Picture at the 90th Academy Awards – as they did last year – the correct film was announced, and it was the romantic fantasy “The Shape of Water” that won the 2018 Best Picture on March 4, 2018.

Oscar Week: Podtalk with Greta Gerwig, 2018 Oscar Best Director Nominee for ‘Lady Bird’

Greta Gerwig, "Lady Bird"

CHICAGO – One of the most fulfilled movies of 2017 was the sublime “Lady Bird,” the major film debut of actor Greta Gerwig. Nimbly shooting her own script, the achingly honest story about a teenager (portrayed essentially by Saiorse Ronan) going through her Senior Year of high school in Sacramento, California, was a breakout film of the year, and was nominated for Best Picture, as well as Best Actress for Ronan, Best Supporting Actress for Laurie Metcalfe (as the Ronan character’s mother) and Best Original Screenplay/Best Director for Greta Gerwig.

Podtalk: Voice Artist Rob Paulsen on Steven Spielberg, Gordie Howe and the Cartoon Life


CHICAGO – If the words, “We’re Animaniacs…” immediately makes you think, “While Bill Clinton pays the sax…” then you’ll want to experience voiceover artist Rob Paulsen, the iconic character of Yakko on that series, as well as Pinky (“Pinky and The Brain”) and Donatello/Raphael (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”), among many other cartoon legends. Rob, with Animaniacs composer Randy Rogel, will be appearing in “Animaniacs Live!” at the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts in Grayslake, Ill., on Saturday, March 3rd, 2018 (click link below for details).

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  • 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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