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Film Review: ‘As Above/So Below’ Scrapes The Bottom Of The Barrel

CHICAGO – “As Above/So Below” is strictly the pits. It’s a found footage horror film set in the Paris catacombs that defies logic, and relentlessly keeps digging itself into a hole until it’s dragged everyone in the audience down with it.

Interview: Rujanee Mahakanjana, Producer of ‘Shortcut 100 Film Festival’

Short 100 Film Festival

CHICAGO – The short film gets its due this upcoming weekend, as the 2014 “Shortcut 100 Film Festival,” produced by Nebula Creatives, unreels on August 31st at the Chicago Filmmakers Loft, on Clark Street in the Andersonville neighborhood. Rujanee Mahakanjana is one of the producers of the festival, and the founder of Nebula Creatives.

Film Review: Celebrating the Ordinary Couple in ‘Love is Strange’

CHICAGO – It is a time, and the time is now. Leave it to filmmaker Ira Sachs to break a barrier simply by having the right timing. Exploring a long time gay couple, right at the cusp of their now-legal marriage, opens the door to an odd series of ordinary circumstances in “Love is Strange.”

Interview: ‘Joel Murray & Friends’ at the New iO Chicago Venue

CHICAGO – iO Chicago continues the Grand Opening at its new venue with one of its most famous alumni – the illustrious Joel Murray. Besides opening the seventh season of “Mad Men” with a brilliant monologue as Freddy Rumsen, Murray brings his “Joel Murray & Friends” show to the new iO Chicago on August 30th.

Film Review: ‘The November Man’ a Stealthy Late Summer Spy Thriller

CHICAGO – “The November Man” is better than its bland title and late August release date would suggest. It’s no gem, but it gets as far as it does almost solely on the strength of Pierce Brosnan’s breezy performance as an ex-CIA agent called back into duty for one last job.

Interview: Director Ira Sachs Reminds Us ‘Love is Strange’

CHICAGO – One of the notable films to kick off the autumn film season is writer/director Ira Sach’s “Love is Strange.” The story of two men in a longtime gay relationship, who finally can marry – but whose lives go off track unexpectedly – features brilliant performances from veterans John LIthgow and Alfred Molina.

TV News: ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘Modern Family’ Top 2014 Emmy Awards

LOS ANGELES – It was one more lap around the victory track for the AMC-TV show ‘Breakling Bad,’ as the gritty drama about a teacher turned meth dealer took home six Primetime Emmy Awards at the 66th ceremony on August 25th. ‘Modern Family’ took home the statue for Outstanding Comedy Series for a a fifth straight year.

Exclusive Portraits: Michael Rooker of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

CHICAGO – “Guardians of the Galaxy” returned to the top of the box office this weekend, and Michael Rooker – as Yondu Undonta – was a vital part of the film. Rooker also was in Chicago recently, to promote the Illinois Department of Transportation video campaign, “The Driving Dead,” which refers to TV’s “The Walking Dead.”

Film Review: ‘Are You Here’ Feels Like Mashup of Two Different Films

Are You Here

CHICAGO – You would think that a film written and directed by Matthew Weiner – the creator of “Mad Men” – would be worthwhile company, especially when the cast includes Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson and Amy Poehler. It is disappointing to note that not only was this cliché-ridden mess unpalatable, but it also switched gears two-thirds of the way through to evoke a different mood, and that schizophrenia didn’t help the overall product.

Film Review: ‘When the Game Stands Tall’ a Sermonizing Snooze

CHICAGO – “When The Game Stands Tall” has more sermons than a month of Sundays. Its heart is in the right place, but it’s more likely to put its audience to sleep than bring it to its feet. By now the tropes of the inspirational sports drama have become as familiar as the West Coast Offense, but this film can’t effectively figure out how to execute them.

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  • Emmy Awards, Bryan Cranston

    LOS ANGELES – It was one more lap around the victory track for the AMC-TV show ‘Breakling Bad,’ as the gritty drama about a teacher turned meth dealer took home six Primetime Emmy Awards at the 66th ceremony on August 25th. ‘Modern Family’ took home the statue for Outstanding Comedy Series for a a fifth straight year.

  • Knick, The

    CHICAGO – Cinemax’s ominous new series “The Knick” is a hospital drama that’s very much in the voice of its director, Steven Soderbergh. Set in New York City at the turn of the 20th century, the series presents the medical world as it inches closer and closer to modernity, while making contemporary parallels to the desperate hustle by surgery room clients and their doctors alike regarding treatment of the human body. What has changed in the politics of medicine? What hasn’t?

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