What to Watch: Mar. 11-24, 2014

An Oscar winner, a major Oscar nominee, two more pieces of Oscar bait, and a few movies that never got anywhere near Oscar. Welcome to What to Watch. We don’t play favorites. Oh, wait, yes we do. You should definitely rent or buy the titles on this first page. The second page is more optional.


Photo credit: Disney


The best Disney movie since “The Lion King” (Disney, not Pixar), “Frozen” gets the lavish Mouse House treatment. There’s no better studio for family releases and they’re not about to slack on one of the biggest moneymakers of their existence. We are Just getting started with “Frozen”. You know how “Beauty & The Beast” and “The Lion King” became industries unto themselves? Spawning Broadway musicals, theme park rides, new shows, straight-to-dvd sequels, etc.? “Frozen” will end up the same way. If you have a kid, you won’t
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Final day of Austin City Limits canceled due to severe weather

  • Hitfix
Austin, Texas (AP) — Heavy rain showers and thunderstorms with some flash flooding have canceled the final day of Austin City Limits Music Festival. Organizers posted on the festival's website Sunday that a third of ticket price will be refunded based on original price paid. Festival promoter spokeswoman Shelby Meade said in the post that the safety of fans, staff and artists "always comes first." National Weather Service meteorologist Pat McDonald said areas near downtown Austin received 10.6 inches of rain in 12 hours. More than 40 acts were to perform Sunday, including headliners Lionel Richie and Atoms for Peace, the...
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What to Watch: Sept. 24-30, 2013 – Film Edition

Chicago – We’re back with the new releases on Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming services from the last week that we think are the most interesting. Our fearless leader, Adam Fendelman, will have a lot to say about “Mr. Nobody,” now On Demand, in coming weeks and we’ll include that in next week’s What to Watch, but these are the four new Blu-ray/DVD releases that are most likely to grab your attention.

Room 237

Photo credit: IFC Films

Room 237

Room 237” is a brilliant documentary because it’s not just about people who obsessively dissect film but actually recreates that feeling of going down the rabbit hole with them into their mindsets. “The Shining” is one of the most beloved horror movies ever made and any genre film with that kind of following is bound to engender detailed analysis. How detailed? You have No idea. A great
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Film News: Indie Outlook Spotlights Charming Doc ‘Beauty is Embarrassing’

Chicago – Hollywood Chicago staff writer Matt Fagerholm’s independent film blog, Indie Outlook, published an exclusive review of Neil Berkeley’s charming documentary, “Beauty is Embarrassing,” which opened Friday, December 14th, at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The film explores the life and career of eccentric artist Wayne White, best known for his Emmy-winning set design on “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.”

Also featured on the Indie Outlook site is a podcast focusing on the work of Woody Allen. Fagerholm is joined by his fellow Hollywood Chicago colleague and Allen super-fan Pat McDonald for an in-depth discussion on the prolific auteur’s weakest work to date. Both critics rank their respective lists of Allen’s Top 5 Worst Films, while still managing to savor their momentary flashes of brilliance. The next podcast scheduled for publication is a lively interview with Windy City Times critic Richard Knight, Jr., who recently co-directed “Scrooge & Marley,” a
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Film News: Corey Feldman Chats Up ‘6 Degrees of Hell’ on Indie Outlook

Chicago – Actor Corey Feldman, the star of iconic films such as “The Goonies,” “Stand by Me” and “The Lost Boys,” took part in an exclusive interview with Indie Outlook, the independent film blog launched by Hollywood Chicago staff writer Matt Fagerholm. Feldman discussed his new role in Joe Raffa’s supernatural thriller, “6 Degrees of Hell,” which is now available on DVD.

Fagerholm will return to Vocalo 89.5Fm on Friday, November 30th, for the third installment of its Indie Outlook series highlighting the hottest cinematic tickets in town. Hollywood Chicago’s own Pat McDonald appeared on the most recent Indie Outlook podcast for an in-depth dissection of two new biopics offering a backstage glimpse of the undisputed Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. Sacha Gervasi’s theatrically released trifle, “Hitchcock,” serves up a witty yet watered down version of Hitch (played with droll glee by Anthony Hopkins), while Julian Jarrold’s “The Girl
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‘Joyful Noise’ interview with actor/singer Jeremy Jordan

A musical theater student from Ithaca College, Jeremy Jordan has risen from a lead understudy in a Broadway production of “Rock of Ages” to a supporting actor in his first film, the gospel musical Joyful Noise. Directed by Todd Graff, who may be known to many musical theater students for his cult favorite Camp, the film features Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah as competitive gospel choir members. Jordan plays the grandson of Parton’s character, who falls for Latifah’s daughter (played by Akeelah and the Bee’s Keke Palmer).

I sat down with Jeremy Jordan in a roundtable interview (with my friend, Pat McDonald from Hollywood Chicago) to discuss how the Broadway actor found his way onto a set with Dolly and The Queen, the unique manner in which the film presents race, and more.

Joyful Noise is now playing in theaters.

Tell me your singing background, and how
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Blu-Ray Review: Meditative, Excellent ‘The American’ With George Clooney

Chicago – A movie that comes closer to the lyrical and meditative style of Michelangelo Antonioni than any other in years, Anton Corbijn’s “The American,” now on Blu-ray and DVD, is a nearly-brilliant drama that found a respectable audience in theaters even if it wasn’t quite the right one.

Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0

Universal/Focus sold the film as an action-packed thriller, a variation on the Jason Bourne trilogy, and ended up with over $35 million, a number that would have been impossible if the movie has been presented as the philosophical art house gem that it truly is. Audiences in the multiplex may have been pissed that the film has more bare breasts than gun shots but the tragedy is that discerning movie goers may have written it off as escapist fare. It’s not. It’s complex, daring stuff with one of George Clooney’s best performances. Do yourself a
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‘Up in the Air,’ ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ Lead Nominations By Chicago Film Critics Association

Chicago – The Chicago Film Critics Association, of which writers Brian Tallerico, Adam Fendelman, and Pat McDonald are all voting members, announced their nominees for the best of 2009 this morning. “Up in the Air” and “Where the Wild Things Are” led the way with six nominations each, closely followed by “The Hurt Locker” and “Inglourious Basterds,” each with five.

Up in the Air” and “Where the Wild Things Are” each scored nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. “The Hurt Locker” and “Inglourious Basterds” scored a similar trifecta of Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. The fifth Best Picture slot went to the latest work by Joel & Ethan Coen, “A Serious Man,” a pair who were also nominated for Best Director. The Coen’s “Fargo” and “No Country For Old Men” are previous Best Picture winners of the Cfca. “A Serious Man” also landed
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See also

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