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HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 30 Pairs of Passes to ‘Before I Go to Sleep’ With Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth

11 hours ago

Chicago – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 30 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new mystery “Before I Go to Sleep” starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth!

Before I Go to Sleep,” which opens on Oct. 31, 2014 and is rated “R,” also stars Mark Strong, Ben Crompton, Anne-Marie Duff, Adam Levy, Gabriel Strong, Flynn MacArthur and Dean-Charles Chapman from writer and director Rowan Joffe based on the international best-selling novel by S.J. Watson. Note: You must be 17+ to win and attend this “R”-rated screening.

To win your free “Before I Go to Sleep” passes courtesy of HollywoodChicago.com, just get interactive with our social media widget below. That’s it! This screening is on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014 at 7 p.m. in downtown Chicago. The more social actions you complete, the more points you score and the higher yours odds of winning! Completing these social actions »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: The Worst Horror Film of 2014, ‘Ouija’ is ‘Mama’ From 11 Narcoleptic Producers

24 October 2014 6:52 PM, PDT

Chicago – Out of respect for the filmmakers and actors, I don’t walk out on films. I hold true to that even when I know in the first 10 minutes the film’s not for me. Perhaps the second act could surprise me. Maybe the whole film is a flop but it redeems itself with shock and awe in the last 5 minutes.

Rating: 1.0/5.0

But let’s be honest: As much as you can tell yourself you’ll walk into “Ouija” with an open mind, it’s impossible to have high hopes about this latest “horror” film in a tiresome string of formulaic attempts. You’re not expecting Oscar-caliber performances and that’s why these kinds of films can get away with casting no one you’ve ever heard of.

This time, Olivia Cooke takes center stage. You might remember her if you saw this year’s sci-fi flop “The Signal” with Laurence Fishburne. »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: Racial Satire ‘Dear White People’ is Heated, Hilarious

24 October 2014 4:53 PM, PDT

Chicago – A new voice has everyone’s attention with the shaking-head comedy “Dear White People,” a necessary “Wake Up!” to a melting pot nation that still needs to get itself together, even if a black president is in the White House.

Razor-sharp satire is the weapon that debut writer/director Justin Simien aims at a society that still exhibits behavior both unconsciously and consciously, both embarrassing (fascination with black hair) and grotesque (the party life’s appropriation of blackface). Equally heated and hilarious, “Dear White People” shares with a wide audience necessary criticism in the never-ending discussion about race.

Rating: 4.0/5.0

The microcosm of “Dear White People” is an Ivy League school, where four black students are confronted with situations of self vs. identity. Sam (Tessa Thompson) is an outspoken student who challenges her fellow students through her schoolwork (a short film titled “Rebirth of a Nation”) and radio show of »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: Keanu Reeves in Ludicrous Premise as ‘John Wick’

24 October 2014 2:41 PM, PDT

Chicago – Keanu Reeves has been in a lot of dogs over the years, but rarely has he left such a high body count while avenging one of them. “John Wick” is a brutal revenge thriller where Reeves is a ex-mob enforcer who goes on a murderous rampage leaving blood on every doorstep to avenge the death of his dog.

Despite that chuckle-inducing premise, “John Wick” isn’t the dog I expected, but then again that’s not saying much.

Rating: 2.0/5.0

Wick is another of those crime thrillers that begins at the end. We see Keanu crash his SUV, stumble out bleeding and then watch a video on his phone and pass out, and flashbacks ensue. In the interest of time we skip over his wife dying in a terse 5 minutes or so, while the next 20 are consumed by the sights of Reeves making coffee, grieving, and then getting a farewell »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 35 Pairs of Passes to ‘Nightcrawler’ With Jake Gyllenhaal

24 October 2014 8:56 AM, PDT

Chicago – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 35 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new highly anticipated new thriller “Nightcrawler” starring Jake Gyllenhaal!

Nightcrawler,” which opens on Oct. 31, 2014 and is rated “R,” also stars Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, Michael Papajohn, Marco Rodríguez, James Huang, Kent Shocknek, Pat Harvey, Sharon Tay, Rick Garcia and Leah Fredkin from writer and director Dan Gilroy (“The Bourne Legacy,” “Real Steel”). Note: You must be 17+ to win and attend this “R”-rated screening.

To win your free “Nightcrawler” passes courtesy of HollywoodChicago.com, just get interactive with our social media widget below. That’s it! This screening is on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014 at 7 p.m. in downtown Chicago. The more social actions you complete, the more points you score and the higher yours odds of winning! Completing these social actions only increases your odds of winning; this doesn’t intensify your competition! »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: Michael Keaton Soars in Mesmerizing ‘Birdman’

23 October 2014 4:01 PM, PDT

Chicago – There are parts of “Birdman” that are absolutely breathtaking, in dialogue, performance and visual acumen. Even its subtitle, “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance” has a wonderful payoff. Michael Keaton provides an Oscar worthy performance as the title character.

Rating: 4.5/5.0

The film is cut as if it were one long take, with cinematic coolness from director Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Babel”). If you’ve heard about the film, with Michael Keaton portraying a character that once starred in a huge superhero franchise, then you may think it’s autobiographical – substitute Batman for Birdman. But this is a fully realized and complex character that is mostly unlike the real life and affable Keaton. The performance is up close and personal, it goes places that are both dark and light, it mingles with the energy of the supporting cast with vivid and glorious insight. This is the Michael Keaton that proves he can »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Slideshow: Exclusive Red-Carpet Portraits at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival

23 October 2014 12:58 PM, PDT

Previous | Image 1 of 11 | NextFilmmaker and activist Michael Moore introduced ‘Roger and Me.’

Chicago – As the 2014 edition of the 50th Chicago International Film Festival ends on October 23rd, HollywoodChicago.com spotlights the Red Carpet events with a collection of Exclusive Portraits from photographer Joe Arce. Directors are highlighted, as filmmakers ranging from Oliver Stone to Michael Moore are featured.

Click “Next” and “Previous” to scan through the slideshow or jump directly to individual photos with the captioned links below. All images © Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com.

CIFF1: Filmmaker and activist Michael Moore introduced ‘Roger and Me.’ CIFF2: Actress Kathleen Turner at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival. CIFF3: Oliver Stone introduced his films ‘Natural Born Killers’ & ‘Alexander.’ CIFF4: Director Taylor Hackford presented his film ‘White Nights.’ CIFF5: Director Richard Lagravenese debuted ‘The Last 5 Years.’ CIFF6: Director Margarethe Von Trotta served on the International Feature Film jury. »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Interview: Kathleen Turner on the Red Carpet at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival

23 October 2014 11:21 AM, PDT

Chicago – She was the Queen of 1980’s femme fatales, who later became a memorable stage and character actress. Kathleen Turner wowed audiences back in the day with hits including “Body Heat,” “Romancing the Stone,” “Prizzi’s Honor,” “Peggy Sue Got Married” and “War of the Roses.”

’An Evening with Kathleen Turner’ at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival

Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

Ms. Turner was the chairperson of the International Feature Film Competition Jury, which awarded the Gold Hugo – the top prize – to “The President,” from Iranian director Moheen Makhmalbaf. The actress was also honored with a showcase on October 14th, “An Evening with Kathleen Turner.” Before that event, HollywoodChicago.com got to ask her a couple questions on the Red Carpet, and photographer Joe Arce captured this Exclusive Portrait.

HollywoodChicago.com: Film actress Lauren Bacall just passed away, and you were always favorably compared to her, »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: Humdrum Documentation of Bigfoot in Found-Footage Horror ‘Exists’

22 October 2014 4:31 PM, PDT

Chicago – Director Eduardo Sánchez has found one bizarre way to commemorate the rogue nature of his horror film “The Blair Witch Project” for its 15-year-anniversary - by crafting an analogously lesser movie with the very rulebook he defied in 1999. In turn, his new Bigfoot found footage film “Exists” becomes a minimal horror project for the GoPro camera era that doesn’t have much of a life of its own outside of its “Blair Witch Project” context.

Rating: 1.5/5.0

The text from the very beginning of the “Exists” clues audiences into the number of recorded sightings regarding Bigfoot, a statistic that could be as fudged as when “Blair Witch Project” actor Joshua Leonard was reported as “missing, presumed dead” on his IMDb page. Sanchez has a generic batch of attractive and camera-savvy twenty-somethings (Dora Madison Burge, Denise Williamson, Roger Edwards, Samuel Davis, Chris Osborn) encounter this woods creature pretty quickly in the movie, »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Interview: Oliver Stone on the Red Carpet at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival

22 October 2014 9:16 AM, PDT

Chicago – Love him or not, Oliver Stone is one of the most important directors of the last generation. The creator of “Born on the Fourth of July,” “JFK,” “Platoon,” “Nixon” and “Any Given Sunday” was at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival to introduce his director’s cut for “Alexander” and “Natural Born Killers.”

Oliver Stone at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival

Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

HollywoodChicago.com was on the Red Carpet – with photographer Joe Arce – to get a few questions with the amazing Mr. Stone, and as usual he delivers the goods.

HollywoodChicago.com: What is it about Chicago and the Chicago International Film Festival that is ideal to showcase your director’s cuts of ‘Alexander’ and ‘Natural Born Killers’?

Oliver Stone: The festival idea from [Founder] Michael Kutza means that Chicago was the forerunner of other big city film festivals, »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Interviews: Short Film Directors at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival

21 October 2014 8:31 PM, PDT

Chicago – The opportunity to sample new filmmakers is one of the true pleasures of the 50th Chicago International Film Festival, and this year’s crop of City & State short films, made in either Chicago or Illinois, was no exception. Directors Lonnie Edwards, Joel Benjamin, Meghann Artes and Robert Carnilius represented the area.

Lonnie Edwards, Director of “Parietal Guidance

Parietal Guidance

Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

Parietal Guidance” was a shot across the bow of the difficulties facing certain neighborhoods in Chicago told through the filter of a young girl just trying to walk home without harassment.

HollywoodChicago.com: What was the incident, or series of incidences, that inspired your film?

Lonnie Edwards: I’m a single father, and take my kids to school every morning. I just started to observe interactions between them and other kids. And while my kids and I are close, there are some things »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 20 Pairs of Guaranteed Anytime Passes to ‘The Conjuring’ Prequel ‘Annabelle’

21 October 2014 7:33 PM, PDT

Chicago – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 20 pairs of guaranteed anytime movie tickets up for grabs to “The Conjuring” prequel “Annabelle”! Pick your own local movie theatre and time throughout Chicago(land)!

Annabelle,” which opened on Oct. 3, 2014 and is rated “R,” stars Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton and Alfre Woodard from writer Gary Dauberman and director John Leonetti. The film is produced by James Wan (“Saw,” “The Conjuring,” “Insidious: Chapter 2”) and Peter Safran and is executive produced by Richard Brener, Walter Hamada, Dave Neustadter and Hans Ritter. Note: You must be 17+ to win and attend this “R”-rated film.

These anytime Hollywood Movie Money passes are valid now at Chicago(land) theaters through Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. These passes are valid at most commercial chains (excluding AMC) and some independent cinemas. These passes will be snail mailed to our winners. Directions are on the back of the passes where »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Blu-ray Review: Bowling Comedy ‘Kingpin’ Rolls Onto Blu-ray

21 October 2014 11:24 AM, PDT

Chicago – Before 1998’s “The Big Lebowski” there was 1996’s “Kingpin”, the Farrelly brothers bowling comedy that didn’t have the narrative intricacies of the Coen brothers’ classic, but had plenty of jokes about middle-aged men playing the sport. Today finds the release of “Kingpin” to Blu-ray for the first time, coming with only one new special feature.

Rating: 2.5/5.0

The occasion of “Kingpin” is related less to marking a point in American cinematic history than to note the upcoming release of “Dumb and Dumber To,” the next film from the Farrelly brothers and their bizarre set of Hollywood gross outs. This bowling movie was a followup to “Dumb & Dumber,” and certainly saw the filmmaking duo following some of the same course (by literally making a buddy road movie), with the gross-out humor that became huge of them. With films like “There’s Something About Mary” and “Me, Myself & Irene” coming after it, »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: Direction Proves a Problem For Open Mic Drama ‘Rudderless’

20 October 2014 7:37 PM, PDT

Chicago – Actor William H. Macy’s directorial debut “Rudderless” is a film of open mic songwriting that tackles a recovery from grief with neat lyrics and easy metaphors. Instead of standing out, Macy has provided another sap’s ballad that has the cuteness of “Kumbaya”, one that aims to please the crowd without challenging emotions, only presenting them.

Rating: 2.0/5.0

Rudderless” is indeed the story of a man finding his direction, albeit through the music and lyrics of his late son Joshua (Miles Heizer). Two years after losing his son to a school shooting, disillusioned father and ex-husband Sam (Billy Crudup) lives alone on a boat that indeed does not have a rudder. He has abandoned his fancy corporate job to become a house painter. When his ex-wife Emily (Felicity Huffman) gives him the remaining items belonging to their son, Sam discovers a batch of demos made by Josh that no one has ever heard before. »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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