Category: Entertainment: Film and TV

New movie watch-from-home recommendation: "Driveways" (2019), starring Brian Dennehy

“Driveways,” a 2019 film that was just released on-line early this month, is a small, quiet movie about loss in our lives, death, and how we make it through somehow, with help from connections, to family and friends. The plot involves a mother, Cathy, and her young son, Cody, who travel to the home of... Read more »

Stay-at-home movie recommendation: Kirk Douglas in "The Bad and the Beautiful"

With so many of us now under shelter-in-place orders due to the coronavirus pandemic, I have a recommendation for a stay-at-home movie you can easily rent through YouTube for a mere $2 or so: “The Bad and the Beautiful,” a 1952 Vincente Minnelli drama starring Kirk Douglas as a scheming, charming movie producer hated and... Read more »

Elton John new biopic "Rocketman" is a wild, fun ride

“Rocketman,” the new film about Elton John from Paramount Pictures, is a wild, fun ride. With Sir Elton himself as one of the executive producers, the movie is full of color, and, of course, great music. At times, it seems like a true biographical examination of the life of the rock and pop superstar who... Read more »

"A Star is Born" shines brightly

Movies about show business are as old as the medium itself. From Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in the 1930’s telling their teenage friends, “Let’s put on a show, guys!,” to the Broadway dancers of “A Chorus Line” (1985), there’s something inherently entertaining about watching performers perform as performers. In its fourth Hollywood version over... Read more »

Chicago-made short film "Tranheist" will aim to show personal side of being transgender

“She told me what it was like being a trans woman.” Filmmaker Maureen Maundu, 32, was talking to me the other day about Lila Star, the lead actress in Maundu’s upcoming short film, “Tranheist.” “Lila’s great.” Maundu said. “She completely understood who Morgan was.” Morgan is the film’s lead character, a transexual woman desperate for reassignment... Read more »

"Stepping Out," starring Liza Minnelli, is a song-and-dance delight from 1991

“Stepping Out,” starring Liza Minnelli, may be the kind of movie you’re a bit ashamed of for loving. It’s an old-fashioned “let’s-put-on-a-show” musical, including plenty of singing and dancing. Here’s the story: Mavis Turner, played by Minnelli, is a dancer who once appeared on Broadway, mostly in choruses. Several years before the film’s opening, in... Read more »

Woody Allen's new film, "Wonder Wheel," is a thoughtful, dramatic delight

The new film written and directed by Woody Allen, “Wonder Wheel,” is a  delight. It’s filled with full-bodied, real characters, and great themes. Colorful and creative,  it perks along with the kind of syncopated rhythm (and jazz music) that seems just right for its Coney Island, New York, setting in the 1950’s. The 82-year old Allen was... Read more »

Chicago independent film "Lakeshore Drive" gives a short, haunting ride along the iconic roadway

On Saturday afternoon, Sept. 23, a new, short independent film called “Lakeshore Drive” premiered at Chicago’s venerable 400 Theater, 6746 N. Sheridan Rd., in the city’s Rogers Park neighborhood. Directed by 33-year old Peter Bowse — who lives just a few blocks north of the 400 — the film, described as “neo-noir” in a press... Read more »

Jerry Lewis's last film, "Max Rose," is a quiet work worth checking out on-line

Jerry Lewis, the incomparable comic actor, who died on August 20, was best known for loud antics and crazy voices. However, his final film, “Max Rose” (2013), is a quiet, restrained work about an elderly man whose wife and soul mate of 65 years has just died. “Max Rose” was released in the U.S. in... Read more »

"Fences," now available on-line, is a powerful film about family and responsibility

“Fences,” the 2016 film about an African-American family in 1950s Pittsburgh, is now available on-line. For those who have not yet seen the film, and who enjoy substantive drama, with excellent writing and top-notch acting, I heartily recommend this movie. Fire up the old laptop, desktop or smart TV, pour yourself a glass of wine,... Read more »