Patrick McDonald

Film Review: Michael Keaton Soars in Mesmerizing ‘Birdman’

CHICAGO – There are parts of “Birdman” that are absolutely breathtaking, in dialogue, performance and visual acumen. Even its subtitle, “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance” has a wonderful payoff. Michael Keaton provides an Oscar worthy performance as the title character.

Slideshow: Exclusive Red-Carpet Portraits at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival

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Filmmaker and activist Michael Moore introduced ‘Roger and Me.’

CHICAGO – As the 2014 edition of the 50th Chicago International Film Festival ends on October 23rd, HollywoodChicago.com spotlights the Red Carpet events with a collection of Exclusive Portraits from photographer Joe Arce. Directors are highlighted, as filmmakers ranging from Oliver Stone to Michael Moore are featured.

Interview: Kathleen Turner on the Red Carpet at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival

CHICAGO – She was the Queen of 1980’s femme fatales, who later became a memorable stage and character actress. Kathleen Turner wowed audiences back in the day with hits including “Body Heat,” “Romancing the Stone,” “Prizzi’s Honor,” “Peggy Sue Got Married” and “War of the Roses.”

Interview: Oliver Stone on the Red Carpet at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival

CHICAGO – Love him or not, Oliver Stone is one of the most important directors of the last generation. The creator of “Born on the Fourth of July,” “JFK,” “Platoon,” “Nixon” and “Any Given Sunday” was at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival to introduce his director’s cut for “Alexander” and “Natural Born Killers.”

Interviews: Short Film Directors at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival

CHICAGO – The opportunity to sample new filmmakers is one of the true pleasures of the 50th Chicago International Film Festival, and this year’s crop of City & State short films, made in either Chicago or Illinois, was no exception. Directors Lonnie Edwards, Joel Benjamin, Meghann Artes and Robert Carnilius represented the area.

Film Review: ‘Whiplash’ Finds a Big Rhythm, Gives it a Backbeat

CHICAGO – When is the last time you had a bit of sweat after coming out of a movie? “Whiplash” will do that, and it contains not one action sequence or superhero, unless you consider J.K. Simmons as a sociopathic music guru a hero (he is in a way), and drumming as action (it is).

Preview: Final Week of the 50th Chicago International Film Festival

CHICAGO – The 50th Chicago International Film Festival has hit its final six days, continuing to offer Chicagoans an electrifying group of films from around the world. The festival breaks down these films in several categories, including the Main Competition, New Directors, Docufest, Out-Look (LGBT), World Cinema, After Dark and Spotlight Scandinavia.

Interview: Producer, Actors of ‘The Good Lie’ Tell Us the Truth

CHICAGO – “The Good Lie” is a honorable film overview of the Sudanese “Lost Boys,” who were refugees from a horrific civil war in that African country. Many of those boys came to America, and producer Molly Smith (“The Blind Side”), with actors Ger Duany and Emmanuel Jal, were part of the team that brought the film to life.

Slideshow: 50th Chicago International Film Festival Opening Night, Black Perspectives Gala

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Colin Farrell of ‘Miss Julie’ at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival.

CHICAGO – The 2014 edition of the 50th Chicago International Film Festival kicked off on October 9th with a spectacular presentation of “Miss Julie,” directed by the legendary Liv Ullmann, featuring Colin Ferrell and Jessica Chastain. The following evening was the Black Perspective Gala, at which the spotlight was on “Beyond the Lights,” starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.

Interview: Ted Melfi Directs Bill Murray in ‘St. Vincent’

CHICAGO – There are few better opportunities for a filmmaker than directing Bill Murray in a character role. Theodore “Ted” Melfi got that assignment, after pursuing Murray with his screenplay for the new film, “St. Vincent.” The effort to convince the veteran comic actor to take the title role paid off, and other notable actors joined in.

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