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Interview: Director Jimmy Chin on What is There in ‘Meru’

CHICAGO – There is a fictional film about to be released called ‘Everest,’ but now there is the real deal, a documentary about climbing Mount Meru, one of the most difficult and spiritual peaks in the world. “Meru” is co-directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin. On the expedition itself, Chin was also a climber and cameraman.

Interview: Filmmaker Brothers John Erick & Drew Dowdle of ‘No Escape’

No Escapte, Dowdle Brothers

CHICAGO – Filmmakers brothers are ubiquitous, as siblings grow up with the love of the movies and turn it into a career when adults. Director John Erick Dowdle and his writing partner, brother Drew, has had a successful run with films like “Devil” and last year’s “As Above, So Below.” Their latest film, “No Escape,” explores geopolitics and the increasing potential for government breakdown.

Interview: Patricia Clarkson Takes the Wheel in ‘Learning to Drive’

Learning to Drive, Patricia Clarkson

CHICAGO – The anchoring presence of actress Patricia Clarkson has been familiar to movie audiences for the last three decades. From her debut role as Elliott Ness’s wife in “The Untouchables,” to her role currently as a just-divorced New Yorker in “Learning to Drive,” Clarkson brings depth and character to all of her roles.

Interview: Sir Ben Kingsley Always Steering in ‘Learning to Drive’

CHICAGO – The presence of Sir Ben Kingsley – yes, he was knighted in his native Britain – is the first thing that commands a room. The regal and precise actor, who was awarded an Best Actor Oscar for his definitive performance in “Gandhi,” is back portraying a native of India in his latest film, “Learning to Drive.”

Film Review: Lily Tomlin Fuels the Journey Depicted in ‘Grandma’

CHICAGO – There is a circumstantial and frank presentation of abortion in the new Paul Weitz film “Grandma,” and it probably could not have resulted the way it did if the story wasn’t anchored by the great Lily Tomlin. She portrays the title character, helping her granddaughter get to the procedure.

Film Review: Probable Events is the Situation in Tense ‘No Escape’

No Escape front

CHICAGO – In a very unstable world, and in a sense that these problems are international, we all can be stuck in war at any time – there is no way to get away from it. “No Escape” takes this notion to the extreme, with an American family – led by Owen Wilson – caught in a war zone.

Film News: 48 Hour Film Project Chicago Screenings, Awards on Aug. 27, 2015

48 Hour Film Project

CHICAGO – Imagine having only a two-day period to shoot, edit and score a short film. That’s the challenge behind the 48 Hour Film Project. This year’s Chicago edition of this competition concludes on Aug. 27, 2015 at the Logan Theatre when it will screen the best of the competition and present awards.

Interview: Actor Sam Elliott, Director Paul Weitz Visit ‘Grandma’

CHICAGO – Actor Sam Eliott will make you smile. The distinctive voice, his famous mustache and his character presence in a film or TV show increases any potential in the production. He recently was in Chicago with director Paul Weitz, as they teamed up in the film “Grandma,” starring the incomparable Lily Tomlin.

Interview: Actor Jake Johnson on Evolving in ‘Digging for Fire’

CHICAGO – Actor Jake Johnson is expanding his presence in movies, and much of that has to do with his collaboration with director – and Chicago native – Joe Swanberg. Johnson and Swanberg have teamed up for their second film, after the success of 2013’s “Drinking Buddies, and are listed as co-writers in “Digging for Fire.”

Preview: 2015 Wizard World Comic Con Chicago Runs August 20 to 23

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Drea de Matteo, Emmy Award winner for ‘The Sopranos.’

CHICAGO – One of Chicago’s most popular pop culture gatherings is the Wizard World Comic Con, and the 2015 edition is building anticipation for the weekend of Thursday, August 20th through Sunday the 23rd. Besides the fan costumes, vendor booths and comic book legends, Wizard World has appearances from TV and movie celebrities, highlighted by Burt Reynolds (“Deliverance,” “Smokey and the Bandit”) and Jeremy Renner (The Avengers film series).

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Pippin

    CHICAGO – It is the simple, timeless stories that work best when they are mounted again on Broadway, and the musical “Pippin” stays true to that assertion. Taking the concepts and the songs from a play that debuted in 1972, and featuring one of those original cast members in a key role, the National Touring revival of “Pippin” is being performed in Chicago at the Cadillac Theatre until August 9th, 2015.

  • Lori Petty, photo by Joe Arce

    CHICAGO – Lori Petty will never be predictable, nor put into some show business box. The free-wheelin’ Ms. P applies her expansive performance skills to the role of Lolly – a guest spot that turned into a recurring character – on Netflix’s hot series “Orange is the New Black,” which released its third season on June 12th, 2015.

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