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Patrick McDonald

Interview: Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan Open a ‘Swiss Army Man’

CHICAGO – In what truly must be one of the most original and odd ideas for a movie in awhile, “Swiss Army Man” is opening in Chicago this week, and features Daniel “Harry Potter” Radcliffe as a dead corpse that helps a man survive. This scenario was concocted by writer/directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan.

Film Review: Beauty Becomes Beastly in Uneven ‘The Neon Demon’

CHICAGO – “The Neon Demon” is definitely worth seeing, if only to create an understanding as to what you think beauty is, but the film suffers in its last quarter by taking a turn towards horror. This mix of decisions by director Nicolas Winding Refn (“Drive”) is audacious and maddening.

Film Review: Social History is Revitalized in ‘Free State of Jones’

CHICAGO – The United States is still fighting the Civil War, which ended in 1865. The rebellious South has never completely given away its anger and sorrow for the changes the war has wrought on them. These larger themes are examined historically in the new film, “Free State of Jones.”

Interview: Director David Farrier Finds No Mirth in ‘Tickled’

CHICAGO – In the underbelly of American society, if you dig deep enough, there is also an underbelly to the underbelly. When a New Zealand journalist named David Farrier goes to such depths, on a story about competitive tickling (yes, tickling people to laughing fits), he gets much more that he bargained for.

Interview: Gordon Quinn of Kartemquin Films on Life After 50

CHICAGO – In the final chapter of a three-part interview, Gordon Quinn of Kartemquin Films desires to evolve forward, soon after the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the iconic Chicago documentary house have past.

Interview: Gordon Quinn of Kartemquin Films Revisits ‘Hoop Dreams’

Hoop Dreams

CHICAGO – It has been 22 years since one of the greatest documentaries in film history was released, and it was created right here in Chicago by Kartemquin Films. “Hoop Dreams,” produced by Gordon Quinn (among others) and directed by Steve James, was a turning point for Kartemquin, which had at the time been making socially focused docs for over 30 years. As part of the film company’s 50th anniversary, Gordon Quinn revisits the groundbreaking film.

Interview: Elle Fanning, Nicolas Winding Refn on ‘The Neon Demon’

CHICAGO – The contemplation of beauty gets a little more truth in a new film by Nicolas Winding Refn (“Drive”) entitled “The Neon Demon.” It features Elle Fanning as Jesse, a naive girl who wants to break into the world of modeling, and does so in an unexpected way. The symbolic film has both strange drama and touches of horror.

Interview: Gordon Quinn on 50th Anniversary of Kartemquin Films

CHICAGO – Two months ago, producer/director/cinematographer/editor Gordon Quinn received the Baadasssss Award from the 2016 CIMM Fest, for his longtime contributions to the cinema scene in Chicago through Kartemquin Films. The famous production house, known for their documentaries, is celebrating their 50th anniversary.

Interview: Chris Strompolos of ‘RAIDERS! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made’

CHICAGO – When it comes to movie fandom, there are acolytes and obsessives, but few stories are better than three fanboys in 1982, who loved a certain film so much they decided to do a shot-by-shot remake. This is chronicled in the new documentary, “RAIDERS! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made.”

Film Review: Life in 2016 is Famous in ‘Presenting Princess Shaw’

CHICAGO – Had you told a person 50 years ago that someday we would be able to personally record television and broadcast it to the whole world, they might have laughed and said maybe on the futuristic cartoon “The Jetsons.” But the future is now, and it lives in “Presenting Princess Shaw.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Harry Lennix, photo by Joe Arce

    CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’

  • 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.

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