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Joe Swanberg

Exclusive Portrait: Anna Kendrick in Chicagoland for New Book ‘Scrappy Little Nobody’

Anna Kendrick, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – After conquering the movie business, it makes sense that popular actress Anna Kendrick would take on the best seller list with her new book “Scrappy Little Nobody.” The book is a series of personal essays about her life in moviedom, and she appeared in Chicagoland last month in Naperville, Ill., for an event sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop.

Interview: Director Raza Siddiqui on ‘We Could Happen,’ Premiering on May 17, 2016

We Could Happen - Raza Siddiqui

CHICAGO – Raza Siddiqui is a “can do” director, who not only continues his own proficiency in filmmaking, but supports all Chicago films by presenting and participating in local film showcases. He has completed his first feature film – “We Could Happen” – and it will have its premiere on May 17th, 2016, at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Chicago. For details, click here.

Interviews: Women in Film Chicago 2016 Focus Awards Honorees

CHICAGO – It was a celebration in late January for Women in Film Chicago, as the organization showcased notable women in media with their annual Focus Awards. Advertising guru Jean Batthany, director Kris Swanberg, Editor Kathryn Hempel and writer/actress Megan Mercier were the honorees.

Interview: Megan Mercier, 2016 Focus Award Honoree, Presented by Women in Film Chicago

Megan Mercier

CHICAGO – The advocacy group of Women in Film Chicago (WIFC) have an annual event that honors prominent members of the media industry in the city, and the 2016 Focus Awards Gala will take place this year on January 28th. The honorees are Advertising Creative Director Jean Batthany, Documentary Filmmaker Kathryn Hempel, Film Director Kris Swanberg, and Writer/Actor Megan Mercier.

Film Review: Elisabeth Moss Reigns Supreme in ‘Queen of Earth’

CHICAGO – Elisabeth Moss is the ‘Actor of Her Generation.’ She is a true chameleon, and can anchor a lead role while still expressing a twitch of consequence. The subject is depression in “Queen of Earth,” and writer/director Alex Ross Perry is able to honestly portray it through Moss.

Interview: Actor Jake Johnson on Evolving in ‘Digging for Fire’

CHICAGO – Actor Jake Johnson is expanding his presence in movies, and much of that has to do with his collaboration with director – and Chicago native – Joe Swanberg. Johnson and Swanberg have teamed up for their second film, after the success of 2013’s “Drinking Buddies, and are listed as co-writers in “Digging for Fire.”

Interview: ‘Digging for Fire’ Director Joe Swanberg at 2015 Chicago Critics Film Festival

Joe Swanberg, photo by Patrick McDonald

CHICAGO – He is the master of loose and natural dialogue in his many micro-budget films. Director Joe Swanberg has worked his way up the movie ladder through perseverance and staying true to his vision, despite the obstacles. His film, “Digging for Fire,” opened the Chicago Critics Film Festival on May 1, 2015.

2015 Sundance Diary: ‘Digging for Fire,’ ‘Entertainment’ & ‘Results’

PARK CITY, Utah – There are still some films to be discussed in my Sundance coverage. Here’s write-ups of “Digging for Fire,” “Entertainment,” and “Results,” which featured the return of festival-approved directors, albeit heading in different directions.

Film News: ‘Animals’ is Top Film at ‘Best of the Midwest’ Awards Night

Best of the Midwest 2014

CHICAGO – On Tuesday, December 2nd, the Midwest Independent Film Festival gave out their 2014 “Best of the Midwest” awards with a ceremony at The Underground Nightclub in Chicago. Sweeping Best Actor, Director and Feature Film was the Collin Schiffli-directed “Animals,” starring and written by David Dastmalchian.

Film News: Midwest Independent Film Festival to Honor 2014 Films on Dec. 2

Best of the Midwest 2014

CHICAGO – On Tuesday, December 2nd, the Midwest Independent Film Festival will award their 2014 “Best of the Midwest” honors with a ceremony at The Underground Nightclub in Chicago. The evening will be hosted by Festival Director Mike McNamara, and nominees include “Animals” – directed by Collin Schiffli, “The Starfish Throwers” – directed by Jesse Roesler and “Happy Christmas” – directed by Joe Swanberg.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 3rd, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • 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).

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