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Film Review: Story is Just a So-So for ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’

CHICAGO – “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is one intergalactic space adventure that sadly never makes the jump to light speed. The end result Is not awful, it’s not great, it’s just kinda okay… it slavishly attends to the beats hinted at in the original trilogy without offering much in the way of surprises, or freshness.

Podtalk: Writer/Director Paul Schrader Blesses ‘First Reformed’

CHICAGO – Paul Schrader can absolutely claim the title of Cinema Icon with his 40 plus years of influence and involvement as writer or director in memorable films such as “Taxi Driver,” “American Gigolo,” “Raging Bull” and “Auto Focus.” His latest written-and-directed-by film is “First Reformed,” featuring Ethan Hawke.

Exclusive Photo: In Memoriam for Margot Kidder of 1978 'Superman,’ Dead at Age 69

Margot Kidder, photo by Joe Arce

LIVINGSTON, Mont.– Actress Margot Kidder had a roller coaster ride of a life, which ended in Montana on May 13, 2018, at the age of 69. From her modest beginnings as a Canadian performer in TV and B-movies, to her work with Brian De Palma, and her peak as Lois Lane in the first set of “Superman” movies, Kidder forged her own path. That path included a bipolar disorder that plagued her later years.

Film Review: Full Glory of Cinema Art Resides in 70mm ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’

2001: A Space Odyssey

CHICAGO – It is the 50th Anniversary of director Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and the film has lost none of its power, freshness and thought process, in a journey of truth that ponders existence. The film has been recently restored in 70mm (overseen by director Christopher Nolan) and now is on a roadshow tour, including Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre.

Podtalk: Filmmakers Bill Holderman & Erin Simms Join ‘Book Club’

CHICAGO – If your impression of a book club is one of staid pseudo-intellectuals creating pithy symbolism out of nothingness, then your impression is about to change. Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen star in the new comedy “Book Club,” co-written by Erin Simms and director Bill Holderman.

Film Review: Formula Works Well in Hilarious ‘Deadpool 2’

CHICAGO – We could all use some laughs, and “Deadpool 2” blessedly delivers. The meta superhero Deadpool – who exists both as a anti-hero and actor playing him – provides the wisecracks in the midst of the mayhem he experiences, and entertains in a way that other comic book movies wish they could be.

Film News: CLOSING NIGHT of Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema is May 16, 2018

2018 APUC Closing Night

CHICAGO – Season Six of Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema has been superior, and definitely ranks as one of their best. After showing the finest contemporary films of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China and India, Hong Kong is saved for the Closing Night Film on May 16th, 2018. “Tomorrow is Another Day” is the English title, and it was directed by Chan Tai-Lee and features Ling Man-Lung. Chan and Ling will appear on behalf of the film at the AMC River East 21 Theatre in downtown Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

Festival Feature: Immersive Virtual Reality at 2018 Tribeca Film Festival

NEW YORK CITY – Every year, the evolution of story experience is on display at the Tribeca Film Festival, and its popularity continues to escalate. The “Virtual Arcade,” which was at the festival hub in the Tribeca neighborhood, featured Virtual Reality (VR), interactive storytelling and immersive experiences.

Festival Feature: The Films of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival

2018 Tribeca Film Festival 2

NEW YORK CITY – The 17th Tribeca Film Festival wrapped a couple weeks ago (April 29th, 2018) and the award winning films of the festival have been named. Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com was there for the first week of Tribeca, and files his personal best of the films that he experienced.

Podtalk: Programs Manager Ana Wright on Opening of New ‘Chicago Filmmakers’ Home

Chicago Filmmakers

CHICAGO – One of the gems of the local cinema scene is the organization known as Chicago Filmmakers. Their 43 year old mission? To make the world of filmmaking available to anyone who wants to learn, thereby allowing new and diverse voices to emerge. Chicago Filmmakers recently moved into their ultimate home, a converted fire station in the Edgewater neighborhood, which is ideally located and suited for any local resident to learn the nuts and bolts of moviemaking, or to take in their screen offerings. Ana Wright is the Programs Manager for the nonprofit center.

Film Review: Melissa McCarthy is the Charming ‘Life of the Party’

CHICAGO – Melissa McCarthy is a comedic force to be reckoned with, able to wring laughs improbably out of the stingiest of material. She always manages to find the funny, which helps elevate everyone around her, and so she slips easily in the durable friendly constructs of the campus comedy in “Life Of The Party.”

Film News: Chicago Critics Film Festival Closing Day/Night Line-up for May 10, 2018

2018 Chicago Film Critics Festival

CHICAGO – The 2018 Chicago Critics Film Festival (CCFF), the only fest curated by film critics in the country, is finishing up with a rousing line-up of cinema leading to the Closing Night Spotlight. “Eighth Grade” will close the 6th annual fest – and although the film is sold out – rush tickets could be available at the fest’s location, Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre. Get all the information by clicking here.

Film Review: Strange Story of ‘Disobedience’ is Constant Distraction

CHICAGO – The director Sebastían Lelio is no stranger to oddball human stories. His 2017 film, “A Fantastic Woman” – the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film – was a one-of-a-kind but amazingly poignant story of identity. His latest, “Disobedience,” mines the same human territory with lesser results.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Jesus Christ Superstar, Lyric Opera

    CHICAGO – As a wee lad, I would often go into my parent’s record collection. One day, out of the blue, that brown double album with the gold embossed angels appeared, like a gift from the divine. “Jesus Christ Superstar” began as a record album “rock opera” in 1970, evolved to a Broadway show and film, and then was interpreted through a myriad of stage revivals over the years. The latest is an exciting piece of stagecraft at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The show has a various evening/matinee run through May 20th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Cornerstone, Nothing Without a Company

    CHICAGO – We all need some help. The stage play group Nothing Without a Company realizes that, and has collaborated with the organization “Cornerstone” to provide that assistance. Cornerstone is a seminar and a happening in downtown Chicago, facilitated by “experts” to generate your potential. The presentation has a Thursday-Sunday run at Michigan Avenue’s Artspace 8 through May 6th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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