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Interview, Audio: David Lowery, Writer & Director of ‘A Ghost Story’

CHICAGO – Not all supernatural tales are meant to scare, and writer/director David Lowery haunts in a different way with his new film, “A Ghost Story.” Using the classic “white sheet” costume, with actor Casey Affleck underneath it for most of the film, Lowery creates a spirit with both emotion and a contemplation of its fate.

Film Feature: Best & Worst of 2017 So Far by HollywoodChicago.com

CHICAGO – The 4th of July holiday is over and the second half of the year looms before us, so what better time than to assess 2017 so far, with the best and worst films of the first half of the year. The film critic contributors of HollywoodChicago.com – Patrick McDonald, Jon Espino and Spike Walters – offer up their choices for BEST and WORST.

Live Music Performance Video: Ben Rector at Summerfest 2017

Ben Rector at Summerfest on July 7, 2017

CHICAGO – Singer/songwriter/pianist Ben Rector performs his hit song “When a Heart Breaks” live in Milwaukee on July 7, 2017 at Summerfest, the world’s largest musical festival.

Film News: Chicago Media Project Kicks Off ‘Dinner & Docs @ The Davis’ on July 13, 2017

City of Ghosts

CHICAGO – The Chicago Media Project is starting a new and exciting quarterly program called “Dinner & Docs at The Davis.” The “dinner” is offered by Chef Gil Langlois of the new Carbon Arc Restaurant at The Davis Theatre in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood (link to details below). The “doc” is the new documentary feature “City of Ghosts,” directed by Matthew Heineman, to be screened after the dinner at in The Davis Theatre. The screening will be followed by a Skype appearance by director Heineman, discussing the film with panelists Kerry Peterson (Committee to Protect Journalists) and Lina Sergie Attar (The Syrian Campaign).

Interview, Audio: Haroula Rose, Creator of ‘Tribeca: TV’ Finalist ‘Lost & Found’

Haroula Rose

CHICAGO – The 2017 Tribeca Film Festival was not all about film. Besides showcasing Immersive and Virtual Reality programming, this edition of the festival opened up submissions from independent television pilot creators for the first time. One of the four finalists that were accepted to the “Tribeca: TV” portion of the festival was “Lost & Found,” created and directed by Haroula Rose, who is from the nearby Chicago suburb of Lincolnwood, Ill.

Entertainment News: Howard Fagenholz, Entertainer at Chicago’s Marigold Bowl, Dies at 88

Howard Fagenholz

CHICAGO – He was all Chicago, from his birth on the West Side to his passing on the North Side, blocks from Wrigley Field and his beloved Chicago Cubs. Howard Fagenholz’s family owned the Marigold Bowl near the corner of Grace and Broadway from 1941 through 2004. He was a lifelong entertainer at the bowling alley, combining his bellicose and sentimental virtues as a bartender and counter worker there, which earned him the nickname “Uncle Howard.” Fagenholz died in his sleep of natural causes on June 30th, 2017. He was 88.

Film Review: Sofia Coppola Creates a Masterwork with ‘The Beguiled’

CHICAGO – The human-ness of being human never changes, fundamentally. The mating season arrives, and the effect makes for both great connections and bad decisions. Director Sofia Coppola emphasizes this in a reverent film production of the story called “The Beguiled.”

Film Review: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Spins a Web of Fun

CHICAGO – Summer movies should be fun, and the superhero craze has Marvel Studios combining their adventures with a little joy. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” mostly contains that big high spirit, with Tom Holland portraying the title character with youthful zeal and energy.

Interview, Audio: Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon of ‘The Big Sick’

CHICAGO – One the hottest films to come out of the Sundance Film Festival in January was “The Big Sick,” which was written by Kumail Nanjiani (Dinesh in “Silicon Valley”) and his wife Emily V. Gordon. It is the based-on-truth story of the couple’s initial meeting, and the circumstances surrounding their early dating life.

Podcast Talk: Director James Choi on the Chicago Premiere of ‘Empty Space’ on July 1, 2017

Empty Spaces

CHICAGO – The combination of two different souls with two different problems – isolated in rural Illinois – was the story that director James Choi knew he wanted to produce as his next film project. So armed with a micro budget, a four man production crew and a cast of passionate actors, Choi created “Empty Space.” The film is making its Chicago premiere at the Windy City Film Festival on Saturday, July 1st, 2017.

Film Review: ‘Despicable Me 3’ Reemerges as Despicably Dull

CHICAGO – This is it. The point where Gru and his Minions went from mildly irritating to excruciating. The series will undoubtedly entertain the children it’s intended for, my twins probably would have liked it if they had been able to come. But pity the poor parents who have to sit through another film full of Minion fart noises… which seems to last for roughly three whole days.

Interview, Audio: Matthew Strauss, Video Services EVP at Comcast

Matt Strauss, Exec VP at Comcast

CHICAGO – It’s difficult to keep up with the choices for television these days, and what if it was your job? Matthew “Matt” Strauss of Comcast is Executive Vice President and General Manager of their Video Services, and oversees a division where innovation and technology has reinvented TV watching, and how it is delivered.

Film Review: ‘Baby Driver’ Runs on the Fast Track of Movieland

CHICAGO – While it may seem that we’ve seen this type of tough-guy robbery gang film before, “Baby Driver” lives in its own universe, that of the movieland of movies. It is rich in squealing tires, bang-bang guns synched to the soundtrack, and a mystery cool boy creating his own star-crossed romance.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Wonder Woman

    CHICAGO – There are few films in 2017 that are as historically important as they are cinematically well-crafted. Of those, there is only one I saw three times in theaters. That honor comes in the form of the revolutionary “Wonder Woman,” which not only shows huge promise for the future of DC Comics films but for comic book-based films as a whole.

  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

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