Mahershala Ali

Film Review: Multi-Dimensional ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

CHICAGO – This animated take on Spider-Man gets a little stuck in a web entirely of its own making. Digging deeper into the weeds of the extended mythology of the comics, “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” presents not one but at least seven different versions of the character.

Film Review: The Friendship Page of Black & White in ‘Green Book’

Green Book

CHICAGO – In the original sin of racism in America, structured in the societal relationship between whites and African Americans, there had to be small steps before there were larger ones. In 1962, a black piano virtuoso and his white Italian New Yorker driver toured through the Deep South and developed a friendship, in the new film “Green Book.”

Film News: Freaky Oscar Ending Eclipses ‘Moonlight’ Win

CHICAGO – And the winner was… a wild and bizarre ending to the 89th Academy Awards, as Best Picture presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given a wrong envelope, resulting in a call of “La La Land” as top movie, but after an on-stage melee, it was further revealed that the Best Picture was actually “Moonlight.”

Film Review: Brainiac Fulfillment is the Key to ‘Hidden Figures’

CHICAGO – In America, there is the history we have, and the history that we want to have happened. “Hidden Figures” falls into the second category, but it’s presented in such a way that it fulfills the goal – tell an amazing story about a group of African American women who helped launch men into space.

Film News: Chicago Film Critics Association Names ‘Moonlight’ as 2016 Best Picture

Moonlight

CHICAGO – The poignant identity film “Moonlight” was named the 2016 Best Picture by the Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA), in an announcement on December 15th. The film also took home the Best Director (Barry Jenkins) and Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali) honors. “Manchester by the Sea” got the most honors, with four, from a voting survey of the CFCA.

Interview: Actor André Holland is Rising in ‘Moonlight’

CHICAGO – While the name André Holland may not be familiar, the actor’s consummate approach to his craft is unforgettable. Specializing in character parts, Holland has raised his profile in such movie hits as “Selma” and “42,’ and on television recently with “The Knick” and “American Horror Story.” His latest film is “Moonlight.”

Interview: Naomie Harris, from Moneypenny to ‘Moonlight’

CHICAGO – The career of actress Naomie Harris has exploded, mostly due to a choice role of Moneypenny in the James Bond film series, beginning with 2012’s “Skyfall” and bookended in the recent “Spectre” (2015). But she also displays deep acting chops in the new film “Moonlight,” portraying a mother hopelessly lost in drug abuse.

Interview: Barry Jenkins & Tarell McCraney of ‘Moonlight’

CHICAGO – One of the biggest buzz releases of recent weeks is the brilliant new film “Moonlight,” directed by Barry Jenkins, from a story by Tarell McCraney. The narrative, structured in three parts of one boy-to-man’s life, is an emotional journey that connects to important empathy and a vital passionate heart.

Film Review: Redemptive & Emotional Journey Dances in ‘Moonlight’

CHICAGO – We are all victims of our own circumstances. How we interact with this circumstance, given our DNA, social nurturing, family and relationship ties are thrown in the air like organic confetti, landing here and there, and often in smaller and smaller pieces. “Moonlight” is a film full of this absolution.

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.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Little Women: The Musical

    CHICAGO – The story of “Little Women,” by Louisa May Alcott, has been an American institution since its publication in 1869. The story of four girls-to-little-women during the American Civil War, with their indomitable mother holding down the household while their father is away in the war, was a perfect candidate to become a Broadway musical. The Brown Paper Box Co. (BPBCo) is currently presenting a brilliant adaptation of that musical for the storefront stage, and its emotion, music craft and energy is nothing sort of a triumph… this small theater company that could does it again. The show has various evening/matinee performances at the The Strawdog Theatre in Chicago through February 9th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Deadbeat2

    CHICAGO – Not many web series start out as music videos, but the new online (YouTube) drama “Deadbeat 2” was just that. Created, written and directed by Danny Froze, the made-in-Chicago story recently premiered episodes five and six in the series, which features actor Kiwaun Stoutmire in the lead role of Ronnie.

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