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Interview: Director Huaug Hsin-yao on ‘The Great Buddha +’ at Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema

Great Buddha +, The

CHICAGO – Season Six is one of the most successful for Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema (APUC), as they present gems from the Asian film world that provide mind and cultural expansion. Recently, as part of their Taiwan Cinema Days, APUC brought in director Huang Hsin-yao of “The Great Buddha +,” a meditation on class, religion and the ever present eye-in-the-sky video of the current era.

Podtalk: Brian Zahm on ‘Tea Party’ at Chicago’s Sound of Silent Film Fest on April 14, 2018

2018 Sound of Silent Film Festival

CHICAGO – Chicago has a wealth of film festivals this spring, and one of the coolest ones will take place on Saturday, April 14th, 2018, at the historic Davis Theater. The 13th Sound of Silent Film Festival combines cutting edge filmmakers – like Brian Zahm of “Tea Party” – and pairs their short works with Chicago-area musicians in all styles, who will provide live in-theater accompaniment. There are two shows, 7pm and 9:30pm, and to purchase tickets to one or both click here.

Film Review: There Are Just Enough Reasons to Go Ape Over ‘Rampage’

CHICAGO - As a whole, we have a fascination with watching destruction in front of us. It provides a catharsis from our heavily stressed lives, especially in the Trump era. It provides a necessary release of aggression, the same way video games do for people. “Rampage” scratches that itch, but only if you aren’t also looking to be intellectually stimulated or care about plot coherence.

Podtalk: Malin Akerman of ‘Rampage’ on Michigan Avenue Cover

CHICAGO – The restaurant Katana, in the River North neighborhood of Chicago, was the setting for the unveiling of Michigan Avenue Magazine’s latest cover on April 3rd… their 2018 Spring Style issue. Actress Malin Akerman (“Billions,” “The Heartbreak Kid”), whose latest film is “Rampage,” graced the front of the issue.

Interview: ‘Silvia’ at the 34th Chicago Latino Film Festival on April 11, 2018

Silvia

CHICAGO – Discovering new filmmaking talent often starts with the short film, and the 34th Chicago Latino Film Festival is showcasing shorts before many of their feature films during the fest. Local Chicago director Diego Bolivar has submitted “Silvia,” a dreamy thesis on the decisions that many immigrants have to make while residing in America. The film will be shown with the feature film Translucid/Translúcudo on April 11th, 2018. Click here for more details.

Film Review: ‘Beirut’ is a Superbly Tense Geopolitical Thriller

CHICAGO – The psychological desperation of life-or-death decisions are in play within “Beirut,” the new geopolitical thriller featuring Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”). The various mazes within the story, set during the Lebanon civil war of the 1980s, is comparative to “Casablanca,” especially through the world-weary expression of Hamm’s character.

Interview: ‘Perfect Revolution' at Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema on April 11, 2018

Perfect Revolution

CHICAGO – Japan is up for this week’s feature in Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema (APUC) series… and what a great film it is. “Perfect Revolution,’ directed by Junpei Matsumoto, is about handicaps… both physical and mental. The film features Japanese actors Lily Franky and Nana Seino, in a odd coupling that’s a relationship experience. The film will be presented on Wednesday, April 11th, at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, with director Matumoto San appearing at the screening. For more details, click here.

Film News: Chicago’s DOC 10 Closing Night with Elvis in ‘THE KING’ on April 8, 2018

The King

CHICAGO – Elvis is everywhere and the new documentary “THE KING” proves it. There can’t be a better Closing Night film at Chicago’s DOC 10 Film Festival – April 8th, 2018, at the Davis Theater in the Lincoln Square neighborhood – then this amazing document of Elvis and the American Dream, which was directed by Eugene Jarecki (“Why We Fight”). It’s a must see. For more information, ticket info, click here.

Interview: Daphne Maxwell Reid from MLK Jr. to the Fresh Prince

CHICAGO – This week marks the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and funeral, but locally it was one month later – May 3rd, 1968 – that a “sit-in” took place at Northwestern University near Chicago, as protesting African American students sought change. Future actor Daphne Maxwell Reid was a participant.

Podtalk: J. Wilder Konschak & Stirling McLaughlin on Digital Release of ‘Cold War’

Cold War

CHICAGO – Local filmmaking is thriving, thanks to the many creators who choose to make independent movies in Chicago. Co-directors Stirling McLaughlin and J. Wilder Konschak (also writer) brought their cast and crew to the Windy City to make their comedy, “Cold War.” The film made its digital debut on April 6th, 2018, and will be available on iTunes, Google Play, FandangoNow, Amazon, Vudu and more.

Podtalk: ‘Murder in the Woods,’ at the 34th Chicago Latino Film Festival on April 9, 2018

Murder in the Woods

CHICAGO – The 34th Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF) is underway, after a successful Opening Night on April 5th, 2018. One of the showcase films will have its Midwest Premiere on Saturday, April 7th, the horror tale “Murder in the Woods.” Directed by Luis Iga and written by Yelyna De Leon, the film features “Machete” star Danny Trejo and young Latino actors portraying teens that are being killed in mysterious circumstances during a cabin getaway. For information about the Red Carpet and premiere, click here.

Film Review: Bottom Line is ‘Blockers’ Has Some Decent Laughs

CHICAGO – Comedy is purely subjective, and the new film ‘Blockers’ sets out to prove it, by expectorating joke after joke in all categories of sophistication. Physical pratfalls, witty asides, gross-out, sex, nudity, drugs, surrealism and more are all on the humor buffet, so pick, choose and laugh, as they pile it on.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Not One Batu

    CHICAGO – The State of Hawaii may be one of the most misunderstood in America. Because of its reputation as a tourist mecca, the fact that native peoples live and work there like any other place is hard to imagine. Also unimaginable is the drug use of island residents, but playwright and Hawaiian native Hannah li-Epstein wrote about it in her stage play “Not One Batu,” now in its Premiere Chicago run at the Berger Park Coach House through July 28th, 2018. For more information, including tickets, click here.

  • Cher Show, The

    CHICAGO – Has anybody in show business had more “comebacks” than Cher… or if you added her many last names Cher Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman? All of the triumphs and downturns are shoehorned into “The Cher Show,” now in Chicago in a pre-Broadway run through July 15, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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