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”).
LOS ANGELES – The actor who created one of the greatest pop-culture characters in TV and film history has passed away. Leonard Nimoy will always be known for the role of Mr. Spock, science officer for the USS Enterprise of the “Star Trek” TV and film series. He died of pulmonary disease on Feb. 27, 2015, according to his wife Susan. He was 83.
CHICAGO – Psychological horror films are the best tweaks, because they remind us of our fears, and where are fears are rooted. The strange combination of science, religion and a blockbuster performance by Olivia Wilde creates an atmosphere of dread and weirdness in “The Lazarus Effect.”
CHICAGO – “Mend your speech a little, Lest it mar your fortunes…” is a fine piece of advice from the William Shakespeare play, “King Lear,” often cited as one of the greatest English language plays. Actor Colm Feore is the latest to portray the title role, which begins a film series by the Stratford Festival of Canada, to capture all of the Shakespeare plays.
CHICAGO – Sports stories are made for the underdog, and it is the conduit for many immigrants and minorities to break through to the American Dream. “McFarland, USA” takes that idea and runs with it, as a high school cross country team of Mexican immigrants head towards the finish line.
CHICAGO – The Bird was the word at the 87th Academy Awards, as the film “Birdman” won Best Picture and Alejandro González Iñárrittu won Best Director for the same film. The stellar broadcast was hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, and was highlighted by some passionate speeches and song performances.
CHICAGO – Oscar! Oscar! Oscar! Say it three times to win it, and you’ll win every Academy Award pool you enter – at least for the nine categories covered here – if you follow the advice of the HollywoodChicago.com “experts.” We have the Oscar magic, so if you believe in it, then we deliver.
CHICAGO – The concept is a hot tub, that also acts as a time machine. It practically writes itself! The too-meticulous plot of “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” still delivers a decent amount of laughs, although most of them fall under the crude and rude category. Better a cheap laugh than no laugh.
CHICAGO – The movie musical seems to revive every year, and writer/director Richard LaGravenese puts his spin on the genre with a modern touch. A couple, portrayed by Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick, goes through the ups and downs of a relationship while belting out appropriate tunes in “The Last Five Years.”
CHICAGO – Like the recent movie-to-stage-musical adaptations, “The Producers” and “Young Frankenstein,” Chicago has become the proving ground before a Broadway premiere. The latest is almost a no-brainer, “The First Wives Club,” adapted from the 1996 film that starred Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton.
CHICAGO – In 1998, the murder of Matthew Shepard led to an overview of the hate crimes in America, especially the type of assault crimes perpetuated against the gay community. In essence, Shepard became a martyr and a symbol for something much larger. An old high school classmate remembers his legacy for this, and for just being a soul buddy, in “Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine.”