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Podtalk: Director Gigi Saul Guerrero Previews ‘Culture Shock’ at Cinepocalypse Film Fest

Culture Shock

CHICAGO – She calls her style of grindhouse and gore films “Tex Mex,” and you won’t find a better femme fatale producing a better debut film in that genre. Director Gigi Saul Guerrero gave Chicago audiences a sneak preview – at the Cinepocalypse Film Festival at the Music Box Theatre – of her debut “Culture Shock,” which will premiere for Hulu on July 4th, 2019, part of their “Into the Dark” series of horror films through Blumhouse Television.

Film News: Closing Night of 2019 Cinepocalypse in Chicago is ‘Airheads’ on June 20, 2019

Airheads

CHICAGO – Has it been a week already? Has it been 25 years already? The 2019 Cinepocalypse Film Festival is drawing to a close with the film “Airheads” (1994), celebrating its 25th Anniversary. The All-Star cast, in their younger days, includes Brendan Frasier, Steve Buscemi, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Joe Mantegna and Judd Nelson. Director Michael Lehmann (“Heathers”) will appear on behalf of the film at the historic Music Box Theatre in Chicago, with a Closing Night after party to follow. For more information and tickets, click here.

Film Review: Another Winner from the Creative Team of ‘Toy Story 4’

CHICAGO – When you’ve brought to life one of the greatest animation series ever produced, there is not much to prove. The “Toy Story” series has relied on the strong and emotional stories since 1995, and after a nine year break comes back for one more intriguing spin for their characters, finding a new path in “Toy Story 4.”

Film Review: 'The Dead Don't Die' Offers Full-On Horror Homage But Little Else

dead don't die

CHICAGO – Before Jordan Peele, before Mike Flanagan, before James Wan, and especially before all of Blumhouse, there were other masters of horror who paved the way for the filmmakers we know today. The Carpenters, the Cravens, and the Argentos of the world helped turn horror into the thriving genre it is today. Jim Jarmusch’s “The Dead Don’t Die” openly acknowledges this with their love letter approach to the genre itself.

Podtalk: Singer NORAA is Ready to Break Through in the USA

CHICAGO – One the most exciting moments in the culture of music is the anticipated new talent sensation. Warner Music Group’s Elektra France recently discovered a German-born singer known as NORAA – who was supplementing her music career by working as a school teacher – and took her out of the classroom and into the recording studio. She has already made in-roads in her native European scene, and now is poised to conquer the USA. Her first single, “Lie to Me,” was released in April, and is already made its way to radio station and streaming playlists in Europe and America … with virtually no promotion.

Podtalk: Filmmaker Scott Powers on ‘Insomnium,’ with VOD Release on June 18, 2019

Insomnium

CHICAGO – The supernatural thriller, where unseen forces begin to permeate the normalcy of life, has been a staple in the “scary movie” genre since telling stories on film began. The debut of filmmaker Scott Powers, the aptly titled “Insomnium,” is one of those types of supernatural film, combining sleep deprivation with the connective spirits of something not quite right. The film is releasing on Video-On-Demand (VOD) through various outlets on June 18th, 2019. See below for a special offer for readers of HollywoodChicago.com. For the trailer of “Insomnium, click here.

Theater Review: Brown Paper Box Co. ‘Grace, Or the Art of Climbing’ thru July 7, 2019

Grace, Or the Art of Climbing

CHICAGO – What is life but a constant climb? The Brown Paper Box Co., one of the most vital storefront theater groups in Chicago, asks that question and more in the significant “Grace, Or the Art of Climbing.” Using a woman’s journey through some difficult situations, the parallels of “the climb” become a artfully performed story that is all inspiration and uplift. The play runs through July 7th, 2019, at Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District in Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

Podtalk: Chicago Short Film ‘The Orchestra’ at 2019 Cinepocalypse on June 16, 2019

Orchestra, The

CHICAGO – As the 2019 Cinepocalypse Film Fest rolls on through June 20th, short films take center stage. On Sunday, June 16th (9:30pm), the “Shorts Block 1: Shadows Within” takes the screen at the historic Music Box Theatre. Chicago is represented in this block through “The Orchestra,” written and directed by Curtis J. Matzke. For more information and tickets, click here.

Podtalk: Reflecting on ‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’

CHICAGO – San Francisco is dying. Not from blight or fault lines, but by the excess of new tech money that has been buying the city block by block. The diversity that made the town is also going away, and this circumstance is poignantly rendered in the new film “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.”

Film Review: ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ Feels More Like a Cat Nap Than Catnip

pets 2-1

CHICAGO – As a pet owner, I know firsthand that I want an exciting life for my guinea pigs. When I’m off at work, I’d like to think that they throw parties or have some sort of hangouts with other guinea pigs or pets in the area. The alternative being the sad realization that they are stuck in their cage while I’m away, probably bored out of their little minds. “The Secret Life of Pets” franchise continues to brings the fantasy to life, even if the sequel feels too tame.

Film Review: Boot This Reboot of ‘Men In Black International’

CHICAGO – “Men in Black International” is less a reboot than a frantic attempt at CPR for the once viable franchise … which never should have made it to a fourth installment. That’s not to say this is totally unwatchable. But it’s a kind of okay not-that-great-not-that-awful iteration which neither reminds us why we liked the series in the first place nor has much of a reason to exist.

Film News: Elevated Films Chicago Presents ‘Saint Frances’ on June 13th, 2019

Saint Frances

CHICAGO – After making its sensational opening night local debut at the Chicago Critics Film Festival in May, the film “Saint Frances” – directed by Alex Thompson and written by (also lead actor) Kelly O’Sullivan – will kick off the the fifth season of the Elevated Films Chicago series on Thursday, June 13th (7:30pm), at the Ace Hotel Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

Film News: Opening Night of 2019 Cinepocalypse in Chicago is ‘Verotika’ on June 13, 2019

2019 Cinepocalypse

CHICAGO – Genre films, those categories of movies that have specific themes – horror, thriller, comedy – but remain undefined in their unique qualities, is exactly what the Cinepocalypse Film Festival is all about. The week-long 2019 edition of the fest kicks off on Thursday, June 13th, at Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre with the World Premiere of “Verotika,” written and directed by Glenn Danzig, founder and vocalist of the legendary band Misfits. Danzig will appear on behalf of the film. For more information and tickets, click here.

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  • Grace, Or the Art of Climbing

    CHICAGO – What is life but a constant climb? The Brown Paper Box Co., one of the most vital storefront theater groups in Chicago, asks that question and more in the significant “Grace, Or the Art of Climbing.” Using a woman’s journey through some difficult situations, the parallels of “the climb” become a artfully performed story that is all inspiration and uplift. The play runs through July 7th, 2019, at Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District in Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Elizabeth Laidlaw

    CHICAGO – The recent limited series “The Red Line” on CBS-TV was notable for a couple elements – it was set in Chicago and it featured Chicago actors in major roles. Creators Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss (from here), cast their Chi-town colleague Elizabeth Laidlaw, who portrayed police officer “Vic” Renna.

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