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Interview: Actor Trai Byers of Film ‘Selma,’ TV’s ‘Empire’

CHICAGO – The excellent film “Selma” focuses on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But just as important as King were the marchers from supporting civil rights societies, such as the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and their leaders like James Forman, portrayed in the film by Trai Byers.

Interview: Actor David Oyelowo, Director Ava DuVernay of ‘Selma’

CHICAGO – One of the most vital – and contemporarily relevant – historical films is about to be released. “Selma” is the story of the titanic struggle to establish voting rights in Alabama in 1965, led by the iconic civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Actor David Oyelowo portrays King, and was directed by Ava DuVernay.

Film Review: ‘Selma’ a Powerful Reminder that History Does Repeat

CHICAGO – With exquisite timing, the historical docudrama “Selma” will ring in 2015, and adds to the race-oppression-in-America debate that everything old is new again. Set in 1965, it is the courageous story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the ordinary citizens that fought for the right to vote.

Film Review: ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’ Not Worth the Trip

CHICAGO – “The Hundred-Foot Journey” is as manufactured and flavorless as a frostbitten Lean Cuisine. However, as the impresario of a Michelin-starred Restaurant in the south of France, Helen Mirren implores her staff that food is not an old tired marriage, it is a passionate affair.

Interview: Co-Stars Michael Ealy, Regina Hall Tell ‘About Last Night’

CHICAGO – The path to this year’s remake of the 1986 film “About Last Night” starts right here in Chicago, based on the original 1974 stage version, “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” by David Mamet. Two co-stars in the remake – Michael Ealy and Regina Hall – visited the source city to talk about their version.

Film Review: ‘Running from Crazy’ is Essential Link in Hemingway Legacy

Running From Crazy

CHICAGO – If you thought the end of the story was the suicide of famed author Ernest “Papa” Hemingway in 1961, then you never paid attention to the fate of the generations down the line bearing his name. Granddaughter Mariel Hemingway seeks her own truth among the tragedy of her family’s legacy in the redemptive “Running from Crazy.”

Film Review: Family Emotions Uplift ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’

CHICAGO – In one of the more intriguing ways to frame the 1960s civil rights movement, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” places the context of that African American struggle through the filter of family dynamics, focusing on the father as a butler in the White House, through six presidents.

Interview: Director Lee Daniels Entitles ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’

CHICAGO – Director Lee Daniels is on a mission of education. With now two generations removed from the height of the 1960s civil rights movement, Daniels hopes to revive and highlight that history in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” – the sensitive and emotional story of one family’s journey through the winds of change.

Interview: Forest Whitaker Serves Up ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’

CHICAGO – In person, Oscar winner Forest Whitaker is a man at peace. His talent has created a demeanor of a guru – soft spoken with transcendent thoughts. His latest film is “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” in which he portrays the title character. As a black man caught between two eras in American history, Forest Whitaker does relate.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Spike Heels Stage Play

    CHICAGO – If you can remember the 1990s outside of childhood, you are in the glow of middle age, so congratulations. The Brown Paper Box Co. theater ensemble takes us back to those thrilling days of yesteryear with “Spike Heels,” a relationship comedy centering on the co-mingling antics of two couples, with a slight nod toward George Bernard Shaw and the play “Pygmalion” (or its musical counterpart, “My Fair Lady”).

  • Book of Merman, The

    CHICAGO – One potential theater-goer loves the “The Book of Mormon.” The other would rather stay home and watch old Ethel Merman YouTube videos. Pride Films & Theater offers the ultimate solution by combining both in a campy musical, “The Book of Merman.” Yep, two Elder characters from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints meets foghorn singer Ethel Merman.

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