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Podtalk: Brett & Jason Butler on Their Film ‘Unfriending’

Unfriending

CHICAGO – Currently touring the film festival circuit, the new film “Unfriending” … by writer/director/brothers Brett and Jason Butler … is a pitch black comedy on our weirdly filtered world today. The Canadian filmmakers are veterans of five features, and have been building their reputations since the mid-2000s.

Podtalk: Aneesh Chaganty & Sev Ohanian Start ‘Searching’

CHICAGO – Face it, fellow modernists, we live on our screens. It was inevitable that entire films would soon be set there, and the latest is “Searching.” Combining the nightmare of a missing teenager with the abilities of social media, cameras and devices, filmmakers Aneesh Chaganty and Sev Ohanian “screen it” to the max.

Film Review: Awkward & Difficult is Played Out in ‘Eighth Grade’

Eighth Grade

CHICAGO – We’ve all been there. Depending on what school structure you lived through, everyone had issues in “Eighth Grade.” Writer/director Bo Burnham puts those universal issues in a modern context (social media, online video), and portrays them through a girl struggling to belong while navigating the choppy waters of adolescence. It’s difficult, awkward and representative.

Podtalk: ‘Liquid Truth’ at the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival

Liquid Truth

CHICAGO – In a story that could be happening right now, Brazilian director Carolina Jabor adapted a stage play into “Liquid Truth,” about a swim teacher (portrayed by Daniel de Oliveira) who experiences a smear campaign by a parent on social media after being accused of being too familiar with of his students.

Film Review: Aubrey Plaza Steers the Unsettling ‘Ingrid Goes West’

CHICAGO – Aubrey Plaza (“Parks and Recreation”) is an actor who always seems to do something memorable in her performances. In “Ingrid Goes West,” she carries an entire movie on her quirky and sometimes disturbing character… that of a bipolar stalker who can’t find balance.

Slideshow: Maddie Ziegler’s New Book ‘The Maddie Diaries’ in Chicagoland

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Maddie Ziegler promotes ‘The Maddie Diaries’ for Anderson’s Book Shop.

CHICAGO – Maddie Ziegler is a shooting star right now, included in Time Magazine’s “30 Most Influential Teens” in both 2015 and 2016. The dancer, model and actress first gained attention as a child on “Dance Moms” in 2011, and has ascended since then to social media and online fame, including her featured roles in five music videos by the pop artist Sia. She was in Naperville (Ill.) – in an appearance sponsored by Anderson’s Book Shop – to promote her book “The Maddie Diaries: A Memoir,’ which has become a New York Times Bestseller. And if that wasn’t enough, she will make her film debut this summer opposite Naomi Watts in “The Book of Henry.”

Film Review: Ain’t That America in New Documentary ‘Weiner’

CHICAGO – It’s almost impossible to invent any punishment that former Congressman Anthony Weiner hasn’t inflicted upon himself. According to modern media, his indiscretions are the ultimate sin, but the media hacks are also the rock throwers in the glass houses. It’s all in the new doc, “Weiner.”

Film Review: Whole Truth Becomes a Modern-Era Reality in ‘Catfish’

Catfish Nev on the Road

CHICAGO – “Catfish” is a real oddball of a film, set in the Twilight Zone of our own virtual cyberspace. Three twentysomething men navigate through the mysterious rigors of a journey they never expected to take. Nev Schulman is the main subject and directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost provide the video exposition in this true story.

Interviews: Nev Schulman, Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost of ‘Catfish’

Catfish

CHICAGO – One of the most provocative new films of 2010 is the strange and beautiful “Catfish.” As a testament to the current age of on-camera exploration, the true story focuses on New York photographer Nev Schulman, as he receives a package in the mail, which begins a journey that takes him to a relationship he thought he’d never have. Brother Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost are the “directors.”

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  • Importance of Being Earnest, The, Strawdog Theatre

    CHICAGO – Just in time for Pride Month, Strawdog Theatre Co. presents an updated staging of the Oscar Wilde classic, “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Strawdog policy … the tickets are FREE (donations encouraged), but you must put in a reservation by clicking EARNEST.

  • Prodigal Daughter, The

    CHICAGO – One of the open secrets of Chicago is its horrible racist past, which remains like an echo. Playwright Joshua Allen has been exploring this theme in his Grand Boulevard Trilogy – the last chapter talking place during the infamous 1919 race riots – in Raven Theatre’s “The Prodigal Daughter.” For tickets and info, click TPD.

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