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Richard Linklater

Interview: Director Pierre Morel on Sean Penn, Liam Neeson & His Latest ‘The Gunman’

Pierre Morel of 'The Gunman,' photo by Patrick McDonald

CHICAGO – There were basically two careers for Pierre Morel, before he directed the mega-hit “Taken,” starring Liam Neeson, and afterward. The French-born cinematographer, camera operator and now director is releasing “The Gunman,” an action film that stars Sean Penn. Like “Taken,” the motivations for the action are based in the real world, and “The Gunman” travels to Africa, London and Barcelona on his way to redeeming his soul.

Feature: Top 25 Interviews of 2014, By Patrick McDonald

CHICAGO – One of the specialities of HollywoodChicago.com is the film and personality interview. The majority of these chats came through me, Patrick McDonald, and I couldn’t narrow it down to a top 10 or even a top 20. For 2014, there were 25 top interviews, and it is a diverse range of voices.

Blu-ray Review: Richard Linklater’s 2014 Classic ‘Boyhood’


CHICAGO – I remember when Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” was just a rare credit on IMDb, a project listed as “in production” for many years, while the director’s other completed work passed through. The curiosity of Linklater’s unparalleled experiment was certainly fulfilled by its release, which comes full circle today as it hits home video, an award season epilogue in sight.

Film News: Chicago Film Critics Association Names ‘Boyhood’ as 2014’s Best Picture

CHICAGO – ‘Boyhood,’ director Richard Linklater’s story of a boy maturing from age 6 to age 18 – using the same actor over 12 years – was designated Best Picture by the Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) at a ceremony on December 15th, 2014.

Film News: ‘Birdman’ Tops Chicago Film Critics Association 2014 Best Film Nominees

CFCA logo

CHICAGO – The best movies of 2014 were on display as the Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) announced their nominees in several categories of film excellence. Leading the pack was director Alejandro G. Inarritu’s “Birdman,” Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and newcomer Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash.” The best in each category will be announced on Monday, December 15th.

Film Review: Circumstances of Life, Truth Exist in ‘Boyhood’

CHICAGO – Life is made up of moments, as the philosophy of the new Richard Linklater film wants to convey. What formulates a person’s ideals and soul, born in a certain place and time? Over 12 years, the writer and director created a fictional family using the same actors in “Boyhood.”

Interview: Director Richard Linklater Kept Going Back to ‘Boyhood’

CHICAGO – Director Richard Linklater is a great American storyteller. In 2002, he embarked on a filmmaking journey that would be twelve years long, and conceived a fictional tale of a boy as he ages from age six to 18. Using the same actors over all those years, the result is the epic and philosophical “Boyhood.”

Film Feature: The 10 Best Films of Sundance 2014

The instant-response nature of our media has forced a bizarre question on nearly every minute of the Sundance Film Festival — “Is it a GOOD year?” Journalists and festival goers talk in hushed tones about the first time they saw beloved Sundance films like “Clerks,” “Bottle Rocket,” “Winter’s Bone,” or “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and wonder if there’s anything this year to compare. Personally, I had a spectacular year.

Blu-ray Review: Striking Honesty of Brilliant ‘Before Midnight’

Before Midnight

CHICAGO – As the excellent year in film winds to a close, I’m going to be writing a lot about a drama I saw almost ten months ago in Park City, Utah, and is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming services — the amazing “Before Midnight.” Building on the romantic foundation of “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset,” Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, & Julie Delpy examine the truth of what happens after the grand gestures of romance we often see in cinema. It’s a masterpiece, a film that deserves comparison with the work of John Cassavetes in the way it captures pain, beauty, regret, and love in the same moment. There are a few weeks left but it’s still my choice for the best film of the year.

Blu-ray Review: Criterion Remaster of Richard Linklater’s ‘Slacker’


CHICAGO – Richard Linklater’s “Slacker” is one of the most important films of the ’90s. Appearing at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival, this incredibly low-budget piece of work helped launch the indie film movement of the decade, teaching people that anyone could make a movie. Shot on 16MM for less than $25k, “Slacker” ushered in an era of DIY filmmaking. Kevin Smith has said that “Clerks” wouldn’t exist without it. And the ironic thing is that you can now watch one of the most influential low-budget films on the high-definition format of Blu-ray, courtesy of The Criterion Collection.

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  • Punk Punk

    CHICAGO – For theater that is audaciously in-the-now and generates a sparkle of life, there are few better storefront (garage, gothic gathering place) groups than “Nothing Without a Company.” Their latest, eclectic kick-in-the-head production is the intensely diverting and weirdly fun “Punk Punk.”

  • Assassination Theater

    CHICAGO – There are two dates in modern American History that ring in the heads of certain generations. Of course, there is September 11th, 2001, but the granddaddy of that date is November 22nd, 1963. That is when an American president, John F. Kennedy, was shot point blank in the head and killed on the street of an American city. The official proclamation from the government is that a lone assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, fired those shots. In a new Chicago play, “Assassination Theater,” subtitled “Chicago’s Role in the Crime of the Century,” the jury is still decidedly out.


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