Posts in category "Entertainment: Film and TV"

"The Martian," starring Matt Damon, is a wild cinematic ride

Literally days before Twentieth-Century Fox opened its new blockbuster movie “The Martian” nationwide, NASA announced that it had solid evidence of flowing water on Mars. Talk about PR help from the heavens! (Those guys at Fox must be sending their prayers to the right cloud.) Anyway, the news from NASA is a blast, and it... Read more »

Woody Allen's latest film, "Irrational Man," is flawed but expertly-crafted

Woody Allen has been making a film a year since 1969, every 12 months or so releasing another cinematic meditation on life, love, and humor. His latest effort, “Irrational Man,” which opened in Chicago on July 22, certainly shows that Allen has become an expert filmmaker. Working with the Iranian cinematographer Darius Khondji, Allen has... Read more »

“Danny Collins,” starring Al Pacino, is a great little movie

“Danny Collins,” the newest Al Pacino flick, is a great little movie. Can those words, “great” and “little,” co-exist in the same sentence? Yes, in this instance, they can. Like the kind of old Warner Brothers dramas you used to find on late-night television, “Danny Collins” is a well-crafted character study that reaches beyond even... Read more »

These "Maps to the Stars" lead to a stirring film

Some movies stay with me for awhile after I’ve seen them, their images lighting up the darkened theater of my mind. David Cronenberg’s new film, “Maps to the Stars,” is one of these kinds of films. I couldn’t quite shake off some of its images when I left the movie theater. The film, directed by... Read more »

Chicago-filmed "Empire" brings classy melodrama to the music business

There’s nothing subtle about the new Fox TV hit “Empire.” Airing on Wednesday nights at 9 Eastern/8 Central, the show is a classy melodrama about the music business. The patriarch of a rich label – much like Detroit’s “Motown” – is slowly dying of ALS, and his three sons and ex-wife and current wife and... Read more »

Actress Nsenga Wilson discusses making "The Love Betrayal"

In mid-January, I had the good fortune to attend a script-reading for a new independent movie being made in Chicago. The movie, “The Love Betrayal,” deals with the effects of domestic violence on one Brandi Wilson, who has just been released from prison after serving time for the involuntary manslaughter of her abusive husband. The... Read more »

Watching a movie take shape on the South Side of Chicago

Most of us, to varying degrees, enjoy watching movies. And I am certainly part of that group. So it was a special thrill recently when I took a trip to the South Side of Chicago and attended a  script-reading for a new movie being made in our city. The reading was on the second floor... Read more »

Jean-Luc Godard's latest film, "Goodbye to Language," has a language all its own

Frenchman Jean-Luc Godard’s latest film, “Goodbye to Language” (“Adieu au langage”) is a wild ride. Bright-colored, 3D images fill the screen in a succession of conventional narrative and off-beat rhythms. People leisurely look through and then discard books at a kiosk in a public square. A dog with a mournful look in his eyes peers... Read more »

The "Tavis Smiley" Show is One of the Smartest Shows on TV

The “Tavis Smiley” show is one of the smartest shows on television. It also may be unknown to many people. This 30-minute, Los Angeles-based talk show features an engaging, intelligent host, a wide array of interesting guests, and, sometimes, music. But in Chicago, where I live, the program is only available on a small PBS... Read more »

"SNL" is the Best Comedy/Music Show on Broadcast TV

“Saturday Night Live” has been entertaining Americans for almost 40 years. Created in 1975 by Canadian writer/producer Lorne Michaels, “SNL” has become a kind of television institution, offering viewers ninety minutes of absurdist humor and cutting-edge musical entertainment each Saturday night on NBC, starting at 11:30 Eastern . All of those years since ’75 —... Read more »