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Film News: Midwest Independent Film Festival ‘Best of the Midwest’ Awardees

2017 Best of the Midwest Awardees

CHICAGO – The votes were tallied – from internet surveys and the awards committee – and the Midwest Independent Film Festival “Best of the Midwest” (BMA) Awards were given out on Tuesday, December 5th, 2017.

Film Review: Woody Allen Has Run Out of Ideas with ‘Wonder Wheel’

CHICAGO – Woody Allen emptied out his junk drawer of discarded script ideas and somehow managed to convince Kate Winslet to star in it. That’s the gist of the latest “serious Woody” entry in the Oscar winner’s long running career. Woody Allen has had some timeless triumphs, but lately he’s been more about quantity than quality.

Interview, Audio: Gary Oldman is Winston Churchill in ‘Darkest Hour’

CHICAGO – Gary Oldman has been generating memorable film portrayals since he broke through in the 1980s. From Sid Vicious (“Sid and Nancy”) to Lee Harvey Oswald (“JFK”) to Jim Gordon (Dark Knight Series), Oldman is a consummate actor. That is expressed in his latest role, as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.”

Interview, Audio: Veteran Screenwriters of ‘The Disaster Artist’

CHICAGO – The screenwriting team of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber have had many adventures plying their trade, ever since their breakthrough “500 Days of Summer” in 2009. Their latest assignment was adapting “The Disaster Artist” for director and lead actor James Franco.

Exclusive Photo: Happy Birthday to Supermodel Lisa Marie

CHICAGO – She was the creative muse for one of the most famous photographers in history, she inspired a notable film director with her unique look and she was the face for Calvin Klein’s Obsession. Supermodel and actor Lisa Marie is celebrating her birthday on December 5th, 2017.

Film News: Midwest Independent Film Festival’s Best of the Midwest on Dec. 5, 2017

2017 Best of the Midwest

CHICAGO – On Tuesday, December 5th, the Midwest Independent Film Festival will award their 2017 “Best of the Midwest” honors with a ceremony at Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Chicago at 7pm. Nominees include the feature films “Dave Made a Maze,” “Halfway,” “Signature Move,” “The Legend of Swee’ Pea” and “The View From Tall.”

Podtalk: Brad Riddell & Anna Maria Hozian of Web Series ‘Other People’s Children’

Other People's Children

CHICAGO – The education system of America has been ripe over the years for comedic skewering… and with today’s overindulgent parenting style, it’s never been a better time for those knowing laughs. The focus on parent teacher/conferences is the subject of the latest comedy web series, shot in Chicago, called “Other People’s Children.” (OPC).

Film Review: Funny ‘The Disaster Artist’ Takes Us Back to ‘The Room’

CHICAGO – “The Room” is a post-millennial cult movie that plays the midnight and college movie circuit, entertaining audiences with its sheer badness. Its story is told in the “The Disaster Artist,” featuring James Franco as the director of “The Room,” and he also directed the film. Very meta.

Exclusive Photo: Gabrielle Union for ‘We’re Going to Need More Wine’

CHICAGO – Actor Gabrielle Union is pulling no punches in her first book, “We’re Going to Need More Wine.” The memoir includes Union’s account of rape when she was a teenager. And at her book event sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville (Ill.), she spoke of her experiences with sexual harassment in her career.

Film News: Oakton Community College Pop-Up Film Festival Through Dec. 1, 2017

Oakton CC Pop-Up Film Festival 2017

CHICAGO – There is a cinematic event in Des Plaines, Illinois, that celebrated its 4th year last night with the opening night film Signature Move. The Oakton Community College Pop-Up Film Festival is the brainchild of film professor Michael Glover Smith, who also has a film in the festival entitled “Mercury in Retrograde” (Thursday, November 30th, 2017). The second night film, on November 29th, is “Porto,’ directed by Gabe Klinger. Admission for all the screenings is FREE and open to the public. For complete information regarding the festival, click here.

Film Review: Art & Real World Taken to Task in Angular ‘The Square’

Square, The

CHICAGO – Recently, the record for highest bid ever on a work of art was shattered – $450 million for Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvador Mundi’ – and the ownership of a canvas, for the price of supporting a small country, calls into question the meaning of art and collecting. All of this, and everything more, is generated in the cinematic rendering of “The Square.”

Exclusive Photos: Comedian Denis Leary’s New Book ‘Why We Don’t Suck’

Denis Leary, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – Leave it to acerbic comedian Denis Leary to cut through our times with a new book, “Why We Don’t Suck,” which is subtitled “And How All of Us Need to Stop Being Such Partisan Little Bitches.” Whether he is the man to stop it all remains to be seen, but he was in Chicagoland in early November to promote the book through Anderson’s Bookshop.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 10th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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