HollywoodChicago.com Arts & Entertainment News

Podtalk: Erica Duffy Introduces Rebooted Midwest Film Festival in Chicago on Feb. 22, 2020

CHICAGO – Facing extinction, the Midwest Independent Film Festival was resurrected through the efforts of new Executive Director Erica Duffy, who will introduce the rebooted “Midwest Film Festival” to Chicago on February 22nd, 2020.

Exclusive Photo: Jessica Simpson for Her New ‘Open Book’

CHICAGO – When your life is an open book, it’s appropriate to finally get around to putting it on paper. Jessica Simpson – singer, actress, reality TV star, fashion designer and now author – has just released her new memoir “Open Book,” and it has shot to number one on the New York Times Best Seller list.

Interview: Matthew Weinstein on ‘A Missed Connection’ at Beloit Film Fest, Feb. 21-22, 2020

Matthew Weinstein, 'A Missed Connection'

CHICAGO – Writer/director Matthew Weinstein is bringing a bit of Chicago to the Beloit (Wisconsin) International Film Festival this upcoming weekend (February 21st and 22nd) as he presents his short made-in-Chicago film, “A Missed Connection.” Featuring a couple, a chance encounter and a meditation on the past, more information on the screening is available by

Film Review: ’Sonic the Hedgehog’ is Fast & Furry But Not Funny

CHICAGO – It may be damning with faint praise, but I can assure you that “Sonic the Hedgehog” is no longer the stuff of nightmares. The-Island-of-Dr-Moreau-like creation which seemed half human and half hedgehog in the film’s first trailer, has been replaced by something more akin to the Sonic we know from video games and cartoons. He’s cute. He’s fast. But he’s not particularly funny.

Film News: ‘Parasite’ Makes History at 92nd Academy Awards

CHICAGO – In a surprising sweep, the South Korean film “Parasite” – created through the vision of director Bong Joon Ho – won all the major creative categories, including Best Original Screenplay and Director, as well as securing Best International Film and making Oscar history as the first non-English-speaking Best Picture.

Podtalk: Director Lulu Wang on ‘The Farewell,’ 2020 Independent Spirit Best Picture

Lulu Wang of THE FAREWELL

CHICAGO – One of the hottest films from the first half 2019 festival season was an emotional story about family, and scored the Best Picture at the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 8th. “The Farewell” is a breakout for both the lead actor Awkwafina (“Crazy Rich Asians”), Zhao Shuzhen (who won the Indie Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress) and their director Lulu Wang. Wang’s story of her grandmother became a universal spirit about our relative connections.

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com 2020 Oscar Predictions

CHICAGO – Let’s make this important! The 92nd Academy Awards are on Sunday, February 9th, 2020, and HC.com film/entertainment contributors Patrick McDonald, Michael “Spike” Walters and Jon Lennon Espino are ready to add their Swami-like powers to eight major categories, plus three wild cards. Let the predicting begin.

Film News: Champion Movie Star Kirk Douglas Dies at 103

Kirk Douglas

LOS ANGELES – From his chiseled-from-marble good looks to his actor intensity on screen, Kirk Douglas defined the very concept of Movie Star. The actor also broke records for longevity, living to the ripe old age of 103. Kirk Douglas died of natural causes on February 5th, 2020, at his home in Los Angeles.

Podtalk: Writer/Director Kitty Green Reveals ‘The Assistant’

CHICAGO – Gratefully, we live in a post-Weinstein environment of #metoo, and one of the first films to comment upon it is “The Assistant,” written and directed by Kitty Green. Coming off its run at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, the film explores a low level female production assistant (PA) as she navigates an office overwhelmed by a successful-but-abusive bossman.

Podtalk: Singer Kevin Pollack Brings His Swing to ‘Holiday’

CHICAGO – When we last talked to Kevin Pollack, Chicago’s answer to the Sultan of Swing, he was embarking on his once-a-month song reveal for the fall of 2019. The whole thing culminated in the release of “Holiday,” a feeling-the-vibe celebration of taking a break.



Podtalk: Director Richard Stanley Finds ‘Color Out of Space’

CHICAGO – Richard Stanley has finally steered clear from one of the most infamous chapters of movie history. His new narrative feature film is “Color Out of Space.” It is his first since being let go from the 1996 “The Island of Dr. Moreau.” After much gnashing of teeth and a documentary about it later, Stanley went back to his childhood roots for “Color,” a horror sci-fi epic featuring Nicolas Cage.

Entertainment News: Monty Pythoner Terry Jones Dies at 77

LONDON – Co-founding one of the most influential comedy troupes in history just wasn’t enough for Terry Jones, of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” He also had to become one of the foremost amateur medieval history scholars in the world, among his many achievements as author, director and comic sketch creator. Jones passed away in London on January 21st, 2020. He was 77.

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