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Film Review: For Better or Worse, ‘Ready Player One’ is Nostalgia at its Purest

CHICAGO – Just in time for Easter, there’s a film filled with enough Easter eggs to drown a small country. “Ready Player One” is a “Where’s Waldo” of mostly 80’s pop culture references that are meant to trigger our (and especially filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s) sentimental, nostalgic cores by bombarding us with reminders of our childhood. These trips down memory lane are fun until they’re not.

Podtalk: Voice Artist Rob Paulsen on Steven Spielberg, Gordie Howe and the Cartoon Life

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CHICAGO – If the words, “We’re Animaniacs…” immediately makes you think, “While Bill Clinton pays the sax…” then you’ll want to experience voiceover artist Rob Paulsen, the iconic character of Yakko on that series, as well as Pinky (“Pinky and The Brain”) and Donatello/Raphael (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”), among many other cartoon legends. Rob, with Animaniacs composer Randy Rogel, will be appearing in “Animaniacs Live!” at the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts in Grayslake, Ill., on Saturday, March 3rd, 2018 (click link below for details).

Interview: Voice Artist Rob Paulsen on ‘Pinky and the Brain,’ Mel Blanc and Podcasting

Rob Paulsen, PART Two

CHICAGO – If the words, “We’re Animaniacs…” immediately makes you think, “We have pay for play contracts…” then you’ll want to experience voiceover artist Rob Paulsen, the iconic character of Yakko on that series, as well as Pinky (“Pinky and The Brain”) and Donatello/Raphael (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”), among many other cartoon legends. Rob, with Animaniacs composer Randy Rogel, will be appearing in “Animaniacs Live!” at the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts in Grayslake, Ill., on Saturday, March 3rd, 2018 (click link below for details).

Interview: Voice Artist Rob Paulsen on ‘Animaniacs Live!’ in Grayslake, Ill. on March 3, 2018

Rob Paulsen, "Animaniacs"

CHICAGO – If the words, “We’re Animaniacs…” immediately makes you think, “There’s baloney in our slacks…” then you’ll want to experience voiceover artist Rob Paulsen, the iconic character of Yakko on that series, as well as the voice of Pinky (“Pinky and The Brain”) and Donatello/Raphael (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”), among many other cartoon legends. Rob, with Animaniacs composer Randy Rogel, will be appearing in “Animaniacs Live!” at the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts in Grayslake, Ill., on Saturday, March 3rd, 2018 (click link below for details).

Film Review: ‘The Post’ Illuminates the Skills of Meryl Streep

CHICAGO – For all the films Meryl Streep is privileged to make – which is remarkable considering the industry’s attitude toward older actresses – she has even admitted that the audience may be tired of seeing her. But as publisher Katherine Graham in ‘The Post’, she nails yet another great performance.

Podtalk: Richard Dreyfuss of ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’

CHICAGO – The 40th anniversary edition of ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind,’ directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Richard Dreyfuss, is in a limited run in theaters now. What better time to resurrect a 2009 HollywoodChicago.com interview with Dreyfuss, and publish it as a podcast talk.

Film Review: Sweetness & Light is the Character of ‘The BFG’

CHICAGO – One observation…when ‘The BFG” was written in 1982 by iconic children’s author Roald Dahl, little did he know that acronyms would become the way we talk. When I first saw that title, I wondered what that “F” stood for. It’s “Friendly,” by the way, which is perfect for this 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: 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.”

Interview: ‘Mud’ Director Jeff Nichols Drives the ‘Midnight Special’

CHICAGO – Writer/Director Jeff Nichols is a pure American voice, understanding the dreams of the U.S. culture, and how those dreams interact with the morality they create. After breaking out with the films “Take Shelter” and “Mud,” he is back with his latest cinema vision, “Midnight Special.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • ThroatPunch

    CHICAGO – The provocative title of Nothing Without a Company’s new world premiere 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 show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through June 3rd, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Jesus Christ Superstar, Lyric Opera

    CHICAGO – As a wee lad, I would often go into my parent’s record collection. One day, out of the blue, that brown double album with the gold embossed angels appeared, like a gift from the divine. “Jesus Christ Superstar” began as a record album “rock opera” in 1970, evolved to a Broadway show and film, and then was interpreted through a myriad of stage revivals over the years. The latest is an exciting piece of stagecraft at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The show has a various evening/matinee run through May 20th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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