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Oscar Week Feature: Top 20 Interviews of 2015, by Patrick McDonald

CHICAGO –The movers, the shakers, the prominent filmmakers – they’ve all gone through the interview filter by Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com. What better way to celebrate Oscar week than to review the TOP 20 talks of the 2015, with many 2016 Oscar favorites among the celebrated.

Film Review: ‘Spotlight’ Offers a Relevant First Draft to History

CHICAGO – “Spotlight” is a movie which aspires to greatness and oftentimes just about gets there. It’s a movie that is thoroughly confident that the process of journalism and a great story provides all the excitement it needs to grab an audience’s attention. And what a great story it is.

Red-Carpet Interview: Mark Ruffalo Honored by Gene Siskel Film Center

CHICAGO – He is one of the hottest movie actors on the market right now, but Mark Ruffalo will tell you he’s not an overnight success. Building his resume with a series of character roles, Ruffalo struck gold as Dr. Bruce Banner/the Hulk in “The Avengers” film series. On June 6th, 2015, the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago honored his career.

Film Review: ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ More Exhausting Than Exhilarating

CHICAGO – “The Avengers: Age Of Ultron” is another overstuffed, action packed CGI addled slugfest from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. but the effects are exhausting instead of exhilarating. What has set the Avengers apart is the great interplay between the characters – and when the movie stops to take a breath, those relationships shine through.

Film Review: Rousing ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Hits Modern Society’s Central Nervous System

Avengers: Age of Ultron with James Spader

CHICAGOLook. We all know sequels usually suck. And blockbuster films often get panned for overprioritizing special effects at the expense of a well-written story and character development. Even when a story in a big-budget film is redeeming, it’s practically impossible not to shoot holes through it.

Film Review: Mixed Bag of Marvel Tricks in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’

CHICAGO – Whew. There is so much going on in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” that you practically need a program to keep up with the players. This mixed bag has overwrought comic book action, head shaking plot points, and the usual Marvel angst that includes some riveting scenes.

Film Review: Human Emotions Transcend Wealth in ‘Foxcatcher’

CHICAGO – In the memorable film “Barton Fink,” the title character is asked to write a wrestling movie for Wallace Beery. If Fink had isolated himself long enough, he might have come up with “Foxcatcher,” demonstrating once again that a true story is much stranger than fiction.

Interview: Director Bennett Miller is the Hound in ‘Foxcatcher’

CHICAGO – There are many categories of film director types – facilitators, tacticians, framers, to name a few – but there are few real artists. Bennett Miller has guided three films in his career, “Capote,” “Moneyball” and his latest “Foxcatcher.” All three have a purposeful artistry, and explore the soul within the humanity it portrays.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 20 Pairs of Passes to ‘Begin Again’ With Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 20 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new music comedy/dramaBegin Again” from the writer and director of the Oscar-winning film and Broadway musical “Once”!

2014 Sundance Diary, Day 3: Comedies with an Edge

I’ve only seen three movies since my last dispatch — Sundance is about finding the time to write whenever you have it and it just comes earlier today than it did yesterday — but one was a true gem. So I’ll be brief.

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  • King and I, The

    CHICAGO – The venerable musical “The King and I,” by the legendary team of (Richard) Rodgers and (Oscar) Hammerstein, is now 65 years old. The Lyric Opera of Chicago is injecting fresh life into this senior aged play, with a sumptuous new production that is top drawer at every level.

  • New Country

    CHICAGO – The Country Music industry has become as huge as any category of music entertainment. So Mark Roberts, the creator of the TV sitcom “Mike & Molly,” has fashioned a boisterous new play about the machinations of that genre of music industry, and gave it the plaintive title of “New Country.”

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