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Podtalk

Red-Carpet Interview: Gene Siskel Film Center Honors Ethan Hawke

CHICAGO – Ethan Hawke has made 2018 his year, and on June 7th the Gene Siskel Film Center of Chicago recognized his recent artistic achievements and his career by honoring him with their annual Renaissance Award. The event included a Red Carpet walk, and an on-stage talk with his friend, actor Vincent D’Onofrio.

Podtalk: Producer Kristi Dunn Kucera on Her Brother & His ‘Trial of Lies’

Shawn & Kristi Dunn

CHICAGO – In 1925, the Franz Kafka novel “The Trial” was published, launching the term “Kafka-esque” to describe people who get trapped by the judicial system. One such victim is Shawn Dunn, a financial planner who discovered a way (in 1994) to take “corporate inversion” – a tax abatement system initially developed by multinational corporations to substantially reduce their tax bill – and apply that same system to his small business and retirement fund clients for their use. Despite the continued legality (for corporations) of the accounting technique, the FBI raided Dunn’s offices, and arrested him for providing the same legal means for his clients to minimize their tax bills. He lost his trial in 2008, and despite many appeals, is currently serving an 18 year sentence.

Podtalk: Director Jeff Tomsic Plays the Game of ‘Tag’

CHICAGO – When a real life group of friends keep a thirty year tradition alive, playing a game of “Tag,” there is bound to be a film that shares the same name. Jeff Tomsic makes his director debut with a killer cast… Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress and Jeremy Renner, all still playing that childhood game.

Podtalk: Director Brett Haley on Rhythms in ‘Hearts Beat Loud’

CHICAGO – There is no better Father’s Day present at the movies than director Brett Haley’s new film, “Hearts Beat Loud.” It’s the story of a single Dad, portrayed by Nick Offerman, dealing with his about-to-go-to-college daughter. The riff in the film is that they are also songwriters together, and that becomes a major conflict.

Podtalk: ‘Working in protest’ on Final Day of Chicago Underground Film Festival, June 10, 2018

Working in protest

CHICAGO – In the age of Donald Trump, the number of citizen protests have increased in size and scope. But what are the results of these gatherings and what does it really mean? A new documentary film by co-directors Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley entitled “Working in protest” uncovers a bit of unvarnished truth in these demonstrations, as it covers the protest years of 1987 through 2017. This is part of the final day of the 25th Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF), which includes the Closing Night film “FUTURE LANGUAGE: The Dimensions of VON LMO,” directed by Lori Felker.

Podtalk: Actor Blake Jenner Nurtures ‘American Animals’

Blake Jenner of AMERICAN ANIMALS

CHICAGO – One of the coolest-cat young actors is Blake Jenner. The versatile performer began his career on TV’s “Glee,” portraying Ryder Lynn. Since that time, three short years ago, he has broken out in a big way, landing in the ensemble cast of “Everybody Wants Some!!” and “The Edge of Seventeen.” His latest is a combination documentary/narrative film, the unusual and absorbing “American Animals.”

Feature: TCM Host Ben Mankiewicz on His Father & 50 Years After Robert F. Kennedy’s Death

Robert F. Kennedy

CHICAGO – It was 50 years ago today – June 6th, 1968 – that Robert F. Kennedy died, struck down by an assassin’s bullet while in California on the presidential campaign trail. His press secretary, Frank Mankiewicz, delivered the news to the media, emphasizing that RFK was only “42 years old.” Frank Mankiewicz was the father of Ben Mankiewicz, the current host of Turner Classic Movies (TCM).

Podtalk: Bryan Wendorf of the 25th Chicago Underground Film Festival, June 6-10, 2018

CHICAGO – Even though the definition of “underground” changes at lightning speed in the digital age, the perennial Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF) is presenting it’s 25th edition, and it grows in influence every year.

Podtalk: Writer/Director Paul Schrader Blesses ‘First Reformed’

CHICAGO – Paul Schrader can absolutely claim the title of Cinema Icon with his 40 plus years of influence and involvement as writer or director in memorable films such as “Taxi Driver,” “American Gigolo,” “Raging Bull” and “Auto Focus.” His latest written-and-directed-by film is “First Reformed,” featuring Ethan Hawke.

Podtalk: Filmmakers Bill Holderman & Erin Simms Join ‘Book Club’

CHICAGO – If your impression of a book club is one of staid pseudo-intellectuals creating pithy symbolism out of nothingness, then your impression is about to change. Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen star in the new comedy “Book Club,” co-written by Erin Simms and director Bill Holderman.

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  • Cher Show, The

    CHICAGO – Cherilyn Sarkisian… yes, that is her birth name… is the redoubtable Cher, and it’s perfect timing for her to have a jukebox musical tribute. “The Cher Show,” covering three eras/songs of the six-decade career of Cher, opens for a Chicago preview before its Broadway run, from June 12th through July 25th, 2018.

  • ThroatPunch

    CHICAGO – The provocative title of Sharon Krome’s new stage play, “ThroatPunch,” does not contain that particular fight technique. But it does have standout performances by the three person cast, as they make their way in Chicago, circa 1983, amid their emerging twentysomething punk rock attitude. The World Premiere of the show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through June 3rd, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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