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Film Feature: The Importance of the Quiet Revolution of ‘In the Heights’

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When I used to have cable television (when I lived with my parents and they paid for it), there was this section of one hundred or so music channels, each with a different music style to explore. I remember stumbling across it one day when I was younger, in complete awe that there was even that variety of music in the world.

Film Review: ‘The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It’ is Haunted By Its Past

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CHICAGOThe Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is our third official, not-counting-the-spinoffs foray into the “based on true events” shenanigans of Ed and Lorraine Warren, and it’s starting to show. If you’re a tea drinker and equally as frugal as I am, you have reused a tea bag to make a second (sometimes even a third) cup of tea.

Film Review: The Tone-Deaf, Formulaic Approach Murders 'The Little Things'

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CHICAGO – There are over 500 episodes of “Law and Order” but I’m not about to embarrass myself publicly by revealing just how many of those I’ve seen; let’s leave it at “a lot.” In the age of binge television, I know I’m not the only one that has taken a deep dive into the show and other long-running shows like it, but I know we can all agree why we continue watching them: they keep things fresh. Like any television series that has aspirations of longevity, they can’t stay the same over time, especially when it comes to detective procedurals. The Little Things pays homage to everything we love from an old-fashioned detective procedural but aside from being socially tone-deaf, it also has the misfortune of doing it a couple decades too late.

Film Review: Mint Condition! On-Air Review of ‘Wonder Woman 1984’

CHICAGO – Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com appears on “The Morning Mess” with Scott Thompson on WBGR-FM (Monroe, Wisconsin) on December 24th, 2020, reviewing the new film “Wonder Woman 1984,” in select theaters and streaming on HBO MAX on December 25th, 2020.

Now On VOD: 'Birds of Prey' Soars High Above Our Expectations

CHICAGO – Comic book fatigue is real, and not just because there is an embarrassment of riches in screened content but because more than a few of them take the predictable approach. That’s what sank films like “Justice League” and “Suicide Squad”, and used to threaten the future of the DC cinematic universe, but no longer. I’m happy to report that “Birds of Prey” is no lame duck.

Film Review: ‘The Kitchen’ is Once Upon a Time in New York City

CHICAGO – It’s the ladies turn to harken back to the badass 1970s, more precisely 1977 in Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City. In an adaptation of a DC Vertigo comic series, “The Kitchen” features Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss finding their destiny in taking over mobster duties.

Film Review: Horror is Worth a Visit in 'Annabelle Comes Home'

CHICAGO – There is such an unnerving quality to older dolls, which is why they lend themselves so perfectly to horror stories. There’s just an unsettling feeling when looking at their static expression, usually plastered with a permanent smile that gives me terrible flashbacks to when I worked retail.

Film Review: Sandra Bullock & Heist Crew Con Us in ‘Ocean’s 8’

CHICAGO – In “Ocean’s 8,” a diamond necklace at the Met Gala isn’t the only thing getting ripped off. This all female knock off provides a reasonable facsimile of a facsimile of the original’s suave swagger, but doesn’t have anything else to go on. “Oceans 11” is a movie that never should have gotten a sequel, much less become some kind of a franchise.

Film Review: Melissa McCarthy is the Charming ‘Life of the Party’

CHICAGO – Melissa McCarthy is a comedic force to be reckoned with, able to wring laughs improbably out of the stingiest of material. She always manages to find the funny, which helps elevate everyone around her, and so she slips easily in the durable friendly constructs of the campus comedy in “Life Of The Party.”

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.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Chicago Party Aunt

    CHICAGO – The funny meter of Netflix went off the scale last week, as the animated series “Chicago Party Aunt” made its debut on September 17th. What began as a Twitter account by comic actor Chris Witaske (who also provides his voice talent) has morphed into the cartoon adventures of Aunt Diane Dumbowski, her nephew Daniel, and an array of familiar Chicago-isms and characters.

  • Factory Theater, The

    CHICAGO – It’s time again for live theater in Chicago, and The Factory Theater – in anticipation of their 2021-22 Season – is launching “Quiet Please! It’s A Silent Auction,” an online silent auction through the month of August (the 1st-31st). An amazing array of goods and services are available for bidding, and can be accessed by clicking here.

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