Jon Espino

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Remembers Albert Finney

CHICAGO – He moved deftly from British matinee idol to formidable movie star to reliable character actor, and was nominated four times for an Academy Award (no wins). Albert Finney had a nearly 50 year stage and screen career that encompassed virtually all types and genres of acting. He died in London on February 7th, 2019. He was 82.

Film Review: Sequel Surprisingly Surpasses the First Film in ‘Happy Death Day 2U’

hdd2u

CHICAGO – At some point, we’ve all experienced deja vu. Sure, it could just be because we lead a monotonous, predictable life, but I’d personally welcome the idea of something supernatural at play over the more practical explanation. That’s exactly what “Happy Death Day” introduced, and it was a hilarious slasher take on “Groundhog Day”, and luckily the sequel, “Happy Death Day 2U”, adds to the experience.

Feature: HollywoodChicago.com’s Overrated & Worst Films of 2018

CHICAGO – It’s easy to bohemian rhapsodize about the best films in any particular year… it’s why we go to the movies. But what about those times when 1) everybody loves something, and you think, “huh?” or 2) the film is just plain “the worst”? Jon Lennon Espino, Spike Walters and Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com can relate.

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Remembers Penny Marshall

Penny Marshall, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – Penny Marshall was somewhat of an enigma, and admittedly not comfortable in the spotlight. The 1970s sitcom legend who evolved into a top American film director never seemed quite sure of her legacy, but she left behind a superior body of work that defined her as a filmmaker. Ms. Marshall died from complications due to diabetes on December 17th, 2018, at the age of 75.

Film Review: A Hilarious Combination of Crass and Class in ‘The Favourite’

CHICAGO – Looking through auteur Yorgos Lanthimos’ filmography, you’ll recognize a style that combines both visual beauty and narrative absurdism. The Lanthimos effect, or Lanthimo-nium as I like to call it, elevates any piece of work to such a high degree that often times the meanings go over our heads. In his most mainstream effort to date, “The Favourite” will likely become your favorite of his works.

Film Review: 'Ralph Breaks the Internet' is a Bittersweet Heart-breaker

CHICAGO – The internet we know today is a fairly young invention full of some of the greatest conveniences known to man, but also some of the greatest distractions and nuisances currently in our lives. “Ralph Breaks the Internet” embodies just that, and while it doesn’t quite reach the high score of its predecessor, the maturity and wisdom displayed in it more than makes up for it.

Podtalk: Writer/Director Sean Anders Fosters Genuine Emotions and Comedy in 'Instant Family'

CHICAGO - We have all seen and heard second-hand stories about adoption and the foster care system, but its hard to know exactly what to believe. In writer/director Sean Anders latest film, “Instant Family”, he takes a look but through a more personal lens as his basis the film off of his experiences.

Film Review: ‘Boy Erased’ Thrives On Empathy, Lacks Overall Conviction

CHICAGO – America is facing a confusing time of crisis, again. There are giant groups of people who are ready to hate other people for biological traits that can’t—and don’t need to—be changed, like skin color, sexual orientation, and race. “Boy Erased” adds to the national dialogue by showing the devastating effects this type of mentality can have inside our own families, and how to prevent it.

Film Review: ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ is Beautiful, But Broken

CHICAGO – Film has always felt like a much more accessible way to get cultured than, say, going to watch a play or opera. Watching a foreign film can educate you about the world and history as well as any play. “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” promised that kind of experience, but your time is better served catching the actual ballet at a local theater instead.

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Remembers Burt Reynolds

CHICAGO – The Bandit. Gator. The Man Who Loved Women. Jack Horner. Burt Reynolds played all these roles, in a roller coaster career that encompassed three eras of film and television. Reynolds died last month at age 82, taking with him a different breed of movie star, one that stole a scene with a self assured wink, mischievous smile and high pitched laugh.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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