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Entries in Chicago (27)

Friday
May222015

Weekend Suggestions - Got Any Plans? 

Some people plan weeks in advance but if you're a 'what shall we do this weekend?' last minute type like, my, uh, friend... who never has any firm plans until the last second even on holiday weekends... Here are some suggestions depending on where you live!

NEW YORK CITY
This weekend the Walter Reade has an Italian film program. You can see the Alain Deloin (mmmm) drama The Professor (1972) tonight and I personally don't plan to miss Sophia Loren's Oscar winning Two Women (1961) on Sunday (two showings) since that one is very difficult to find a good print DVD of and it's a rare chance to see it on the big screen. The Maysles Cinema in Harlem is showing Iris (2015), Albert Maysles' last film, all week long with a few Q&As scheduled. The Museum of the Moving image has a Masaki Kobayashi retrospective starting this weekend and you can see the Oscar nominated Kwaidan (1964) on Sunday. Make sure to time your visit so that you can see MoMI's great expansive Mad Men exhibit. I already want to go back to it.

If you're not in the cinema mood (gasp), see one of the Tony nominees. Several of them are super expensive / sold out but you can still get discount tickets for arguable Best Play frontrunner The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, and the gorgeous dance musical An American in Paris (reviewed). The cheapest discount tickets that are 100% worthwhile are Chita Rivera in The Visit (the music is gorgeous and it may well be your last chance to see this legend live - she's 82!) and the exuberant funny On the Town (reviewed) but I apologize in advance should you become greatly obsessed with Tony Yazbeck; It can't be helped really, you will. Great sources for discounts are Today's Tix and TDF

CHICAGO
Tonight at 7:45 PM TFE favorite David Dastmalchian will be at the Gene Siskel Film Center to discuss his new film Animals, a tough but teary romantic drama about two small time grifters / addicts. So buy a ticket, won't you? I personally love it when actors create their own work to show Hollywood that they're more than just whatever they've been typecast as.

LOS ANGELES
Always the perfect weather there, right? And they make use of it with several outdoor screenings. This weekend Almost Famous, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Rear Window, and Dazed and Confused at various locations.  

SAN FRANCISCO
The Roxie theater has a double feature of The Talented Mr Ripley (1999) and The American Friend (1977) as part of their "copy & paste" series on remakes and reimaginings. That could be fun.  The Castro has a 85th birthday celebration for Harvey Milk with a screening and fireside chat of The Times of Harvey Milk (1984), the Oscar winning documentary that is one of the greatest documentaries I've personally ever seen. Selling fast apparently so if you're free tonight

LONDON 
There's a "Bollywood Fever" festival at the OXO Tower Wharf today through Monday with 15 different films, a few of which are sold out already.

I freely admit that if I were anywhere near London I wouldn't rest till I'd seen Imelda Staunton doing "Mama Rose" in Gypsy (extended through November!)

EVERYWHERE
Movies available to rent or download from iTunes that are also in theaters OR skipped them altogether are the aforementioned Animals from friend of TFE Dastmalchian and a movie you might not have heard of called Ask Me Anything. I haven't seen it yet but full disclosure, I know people involved: a friend of mine produced it and it won Best Actress at the Nashville Film Festival last year (which I've attended as a jury member a couple of times)! Put it in your curiousity pile if you enjoy Britt Robertson. She's already headlined a few small pictures before her mainstream breakthrough-bid this year (Tomorrowland and The Longest Ride) and this one, about a girl between high school and college chronicling her life on an anonymous blog, is the most recent of them. It was even cited by Taste of Cinema as one of the ten most underappreciated indies of recent year.

 

Sunday
May172015

The Age of Mad Max's Perfect Pitch

"We're Back Pitches!"

Actually EVERYONE was back this weekend in the sequel-saturated landscape. The nice surprise is that it was totally infused with girl power. The real kind, not just the lip service kind with "Strong Female Characters" that the boys then rescue. OK, The Scarlet Witch is rescued by The Vision in Age of Ultron, but she brings it in the power department overall and the film just passed the one billion mark worldwide and became the top grosser of 2015 (in the US). But the top two this week were newer 'old' ones. Anna Kendrick and her harmonizing family The Barden Bellas returned to rescue themselves as they headed toward graduation and the world championships. Meanwhile Mad Max: Fury Road won the hearts of critics with its surprisingly feminist storyline and ambitous action setpieces. The film essentially has two title characters because the story may start with Mad Max but it's Imperator Furiosa in the driver's seat and she's taking this franchise down roads it's never been down before. Charlize Theron once again reminds the world that she's every bit as strong an action star as any man (and considering that Blunt, Jolie, and Johansson are also aces in this department, there are surely others who could carry an action picture if given the chance these actresses have had). 

And "They" say nobody will go see female superheroes. That's what all of these bitches are, you regressive studio execs! WAKE UP. Fund more female-driven movies. 

TOP TEN BOX OFFICE
May 15-17 Weekend
01 Pitch Perfect 2 $70.3 NEW
02 Mad Max: Fury Road $44.4 NEW Review
03 Avengers: Age of Ultron $38.8 (cum. $372)  Review & Marathon & Podcast
04 Hot Pursuit $5.7 (cum. $23.5) Review
05 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 $3.6 (cum. $62.9)
06 Furious 7 $3.6 (cum. $343.8)  Review 
07 Age of Adaline $3.2 (cum. $37) 
08 Home $2.7 (cum. $165.6)
09 Ex Machina $2.1 (cum. $19.5)  Review
10 Far From the Madding Crowd $1.3 (cum. $2.6) 

NEW LIMITED RELEASES
May 15-17 Weekend
01 Where Hope Grows $490,000 (276 Theaters)
02 Good Kill $17,000 (2 Theaters)
03 I'll See You in My Dreams $16,000 (3 Theaters)
04 In the Name of My Daughter $14,000 (3 Theaters)
05 Animals $12,000 (10 Theaters)
06 The Connection $9,800 (2 Theaters)

In truly perplexing news, who is still buying tickets to Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 when there are this many good movies in theaters of pretty much all genres !?

In 'Less Likely To Be At a Theater Near You' news, Far From the Madding Crowd had a great weekend, vaulting into the top ten with an expansion despite still being in a few thousand less theaters than everything else in the top ten. 

Kim Shaw and David Dastmalchian in "Animals"

Of the other new releases, we hope y'all will go see ANIMALS. It's true we're biased in favor of the movie since the film's screenwriter/star David Dastmalchian guest blogged here just recently and I had the pleasure of moderating their Q&A here in NYC this weekend at the Village East cinema. But you don't have to take my word for it since it was a big hit at SXSW and also has the thumbs up from critics. It's currently available for download and playing theatrically in NYC, Atlanta, Kansas City, Detroit, Seattle, Phoenix, Miami, Columbus, and Los Angeles. Next week it adds Chicago, where it was filmed and where many of its actors are from, to the list so if you live in Chicago head to the Gene Siskel next weekend! I told Dastmalchian that it seems terribly fitting that I went to the movie specifically to see him work a rare leading role and I came out appreciating not just him but actors I wasn't yet familiar with in other much smaller roles, the kind he used to get noticed for.

Monday
May042015

David What?

Please join us in welcoming the fine actor David Dastmalchian, a busy actor we've been loving since we first spotted him in The Dark Knight (2008) and who you'll soon see this summer in both Ant-Man (2015) and Animals (2015). He's the first of our special guest blogging actors this summer!
- Editor. 

David Dastmalchian © Caleb Condit

Hi!  I’m thrilled to be guest blogging for Nathaniel this week.  I'll take over tomorrow for a day. I’ve been following the the site for a long time and was thrilled when he asked me to Guest Star in anticipation of the upcoming release of Animals (2015) on May 15th.  (Guest Starring is SO much better than Co-starring FYI)   

Let’s see – you may or may not recognize me from my roles in some pretty cool films, some TV shows, a few hamburger commercials… on stage???  I’ve definitely played my fair share of what some may describe as “bad guys” (my sister calls them “psychos”) though I prefer to think of them all as misunderstood innocents trapped in circumstances beyond their control.  

In Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight (2008)I was playing “Guard” and “Montano” in a production of ‘Othello’ at a wonderful regional theater in Chicago (Writer’s Theater) when I had a chance to audition for a bank-robbing clown in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.  By a stroke of miraculous luck, I was cast as The Joker’s schizophrenic henchman, Thomas, and my journey as an actor changed – my dream of working in film began to materialize and I hit the road.  I was in NYC long enough to meet the love of my life and then moved to Los Angeles where I’ve lived since 2011. 

Tomorrow I’m gonna really open up and pour my soul all over these digital pages – or at least hopefully do fun posts and tell you more about Animals.

And most importantly – teach you how to properly pronounce my name.  David (Day-vid) Dastmalchian (Dast-mol-chin).  The phonetic trick for my last name is to imagine you’re saying “This small chin” but really fast.  Go ahead, try it…

On the set of Prisoners (2013) © Wilson Webb

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday
Mar182015

Link Block Tango

HAPPY HANGOVER DAY. I kid I kid. I never drink on St Patrick's Day because who wants to be a cliche? I was too caught up in The Quiet Man but I also got stuck on a subway for hours. Oy so I'm off to a very late start today and last night's roundup post didn't go as well and I missed a few. So make sure to check that out again for all the updates. Definitely check out I/fwp because we always love it when we get a newbie set of eyeballs to this series, so here's a loving cinephile husband on this movie that he wouldn't have seen if not for his wife.

THE LINKS
W Magazine Alicia Vikander photoshoot by Willy Vanderperre. I'm so anxious to see her in Ex-Machina. Loved her breakout parts in Anna Karenina, A Royal Affair. Can she keep it up?
Playbill a new TV sitcom for Megan Hilty in which she plays a former Tony-winning musical star adapting to life as a soccer mom. Ummm... unless she sings every episode this will make me crazy
BBC wonders if sexual fantasy can be filmed looking at 50 Shades of Grey, The Duke of Burgundy, Eyes Wide Shut and more
A Fistful of Films looks back for his birthday to his formative films in this epic post. I love personal blogging like this 

In Contention with Suffragette and The Danish Girl, will Focus Features on the forthcoming Oscar season?
Variety John Williams is not doing Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies due to a health issue "that's been resolved". But then why is he also not doing the new Star Wars (with Alexandre Desplat taking over). John Williams is 83 years old so this worries. Best wishes for a speedy recoveries.
The Dissolve looks at The Jinx and wonders why Andrew Jarecki's Robert Durst fascination worked so much better than it did back in All Good Things (2010). I didn't watch The Jinx because a) I'm not that into documentaries, b) I didn't like All Good Things and c) I'll miss Kirsten Dunst too much who was so excellent in Jarecki's first attempt at the story
Pajiba predicts the date of the end of the superhero craze. Ostensibly this post is about Jason Momoa and silly comic book wards
Variety on the Paley Center's celebration of the women in American Horror Story. Connie Britton and Kathy Bates quotes
Empire because Hollywood cannot leave the 80s alone we'll soon have a remake of that Roy Scheider helicopter movie Blue Thunder. This is not what that article is about but it's what we're always about: the one subsection of 80s hits that the studios don't seem to be mining for remakes are all the the actressy ones, you know the Goldie Hawn / Sally Field / Debra Winger / Kathleen Turner type blockbusters.
The Guardian on Disney's Princess franchise box office and the strong first weeks of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
cinematically insane on The Smartest Girl in Town (1936) and Pre-Code love (though this one isn't) in general.

MNPP celebrates Jai Courtney. Confession: My favorite part of Jai Courtney (and there are a lot of good parts) is Jai Courtney's nose. I was sad that it lived to smell no more after the plane crash in Unbroken.
MNPP actually Jason celebrates Jai Courtney twice over. But in this second link it's Jai Courtney celebrating Jai Courtney but Jai Courtney isn't focused on his nose. How many times do you think I can type Jai Courtney in this post? Jai Courtney.

Speaky of hunky deliciousness.. two more takeaways. The first is a new quad teaser poster for 007's next outing Spectre. Craig's first three outing got him in a bathing suit at least once. (Or wait, did Quantum of Solace skip that? -- if so, no wonder it's the worst of the three) but will Spectre? 

Finally...
From the annual Broadway Backwards concert, which raised almost half a million dollars, an all male rendition of Chicago's classic "Cell Block Tango" -- Pop! Six! Squish! Uh uh, Cicero, Lipschitz!

My favorite is #17 the Spread Eagle but L-O-V-E the linguistic swish/switch-up to "uh uh" -hee!

 

Sunday
Dec212014

Stage Door: "Side Show" Brings Out the Auteur in Bill Condon

Jose here. Last week as I sat in the audience for Side Show on Broadway, I was suddenly struck by the fact that beyond the show’s obvious brilliance and many charms, I was also witnessing the apotheosis of Bill Condon as a true auteur of screen and stage. Now bear with me as I make my points...

Condon is perhaps best known for his work as a screenwriter, his adaptation of Chicago having earned him an Academy Award nomination, and his meticulous work in Gods and Monsters having won him an Oscar for the Best Adapted Screenplay of 1998. Some of his other notable projects have included writing and directing Kinsey, Dreamgirls and also the last two installments of The Twilight Saga. If you take all of his important works and analyze them, it’s clear that in bringing Side Show back to Broadway, he has finally found the one project where he finds all of his obsessions unified.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec202014

Critical Consensus: Boyhood or Birdman?

Birdman and Boyhood continue to split regional trophies. This round tips in Birdman's favor for a change though. I'm becoming more and more curious to see who SAG selects as "Outstanding Cast". Will they opt for the heartfelt dedication of 4 actors who spent a few weeks each year for over a decade making the same intimate masterpiece, or will they go with a very exciting movie that's about acting to a significant degree with the lively interactions of movie stars pretending to be theater stars who are actually acting together in frame in a way you rarely see in the movies but see all the time in theater where this is no camera and editing to distract you.

It's a tough predictive call though my vote goes to Birdman because there's far more acting with each other (and more consistency in the quality of each performance) something that is pure pleasure if you're a lover of the art of acting as interacting.

Results and commentary from Florida, Las Vegas, Utah and St Louis after the jump...

Click to read more ...