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6 articles


Video Game Review: ‘Journey’ Achieves Perfection Again on PlayStation 4

8 hours ago

Chicago – “Journey” is a gentle breeze. It approaches gradually – alighting your skin and igniting your thoughts with its poetic brilliance. It’s as much a game as it’s an exercise in interpretive storytelling and emotional art design, and everybody – gamer and non-gamer alike – should play it.

Video Game Rating: 5.0/5.0

Crushed!

There’s simply no telling what any single player will glean from “Journey“‘s three-hour adventure. Personally, both times I played it (once on PS3 and now on PS4), I was floored by the sheer beauty of the visuals and left pondering the game’s meaning long after the credits rolled.

Developer ThatGameCompany takes great strides to ensure an untainted gaming experience. You begin the eponymous journey as a cloth-like humanoid figure in the heart of a sun-sprinkled desert. Only a few buttons dictate your moves and your actions and not a word is spoken throughout. You trudge forward »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Interview: Rebecca Ferguson of ‘Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation’

16 hours ago

Chicago – When it comes to keeping up with the boys, actress Rebecca Ferguson is equal to any task in the upcoming “Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation.” She portrays Ilsa, an undercover spy who could be going rogue, and treats the audience to her signature leg clamp, motorcycle skills and action-based heroism.

Rebecca Ferguson is equal to all these characteristics, in her approach to career and performance. Born and raised in Sweden, she attended an arts high school in Stockholm, where she studied music. She broke into show business with a Swedish soap opera “Nya tider,” which gained her huge popularity in her native country. After more television roles, she was cast in the 2013 BBC miniseries, “The White Queen.” Her portrayal of the 15th century Queen Elizabeth garnered her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Miniseries. She made her American film debut opposite Dwayne Johnson in “Hercules” (2014), and »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Interview: Actor Omar Sy Tackles Immigrant Issues in ‘Samba’

28 July 2015 3:39 PM, PDT

Chicago – The situation with in-country immigrants is not just an issue in the United States. The new French film “Samba” focuses on the ongoing status of immigrants in Paris, who often do menial jobs while surviving under the radar of immigration laws. French Actor Omar Sy portrays the title character with insight and humor.

This is Sy’s (pronounced “see”) second film with co-writer/directors Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, after the well-received “The Intouchables’ in 2011. The French born actor – of parents who emigrated from Senegal in Africa – has an background that is similar to the characters he has portrayed for Nakache and Toledano, and he adds a touch of realism, in addition to redemption, to these roles. He recently broke into American films in a huge way, with prominent appearances in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and this summer’s “Jurassic World.”

Omar Sy is the Title Character in »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: Tartan Prancer – Yes, a Fictional Albanian Car – Steals the Otherwise Borrowed Show in ‘Vacation’

28 July 2015 3:12 PM, PDT

Chicago – Retreads from classics are often as weary as having to write that they are almost never as good as the original. And here we go again with the Ed Helms-led “Vacation,” which fails to capitalize on the beloved Chevy Chase film “National Lampoon’s Vacation” from 1983.

Rating: 2.5/5.0

Lacking the soul and whimsy of the original, this modern-day take on the Harold Ramis and John Hughes classic attempts to recreate the charm with actors who know how to read the lines but don’t embody the characters. And they’re forced to speak within a lazily written story that doesn’t add enough to justify coming back.

The decision by Ed Helms to take his family to Walley World – just like his father (Chevy Chase) did with his family – feels forced for the film to have a reason for being. It feels like it went down like this: “Hey, »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Preview: Jennifer Hudson to Perform at Art Van’s Grand Opening on July 30, 2015 in Downers Grove, Ill.

28 July 2015 9:51 AM, PDT

Chicago – Jennifer Hudson has won an Academy Award and a Grammy. Not bad for the 33-year-old singer and actress who was discovered as a runner-up on “American Idol.” She will perform in Downers Grove, Ill. this Thursday, July 30, 2015 at Art Van Furniture’s grand-opening event “The Art of Wow!”

Jennifer Hudson Will Perform at the Downers Grove (Illinois) Art Van Store Grand Opening on July 30, 2015

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

Hudson was born in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago in 1981, and started her career in the city with Righteous Records. She was released from the label to participate on “American Idol” in 2004, and placed seventh in the third season of the popular singing competition. One year later, Hudson was cast as Effie White in the film version of “Dreamgirls,” and won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for that role in February of 2007. Her appropriately titled »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: Two Women Create a Human Connection in ‘Unexpected’

27 July 2015 9:20 AM, PDT

Chicago – Providing human life to this planet is the dominion of women, given that they gestate new existence through to birth. It was refreshing to see that gender point of view carried to expressive terms in “Unexpected,” the latest film by Chicagoan Kris Swanberg, and featuring Cobie Smulders.

Rating: 4.0/5.0

The story is played out in contrast – a white middle class teacher in Chicago and her achieving African American student both find themselves unexpectedly pregnant. There are obvious different issues on the reflective sides of this coin, and the film does an exceptional job bringing them to light without being stereotypical or preachy. The tight screenplay – by director Kris Swanberg – and the achingly organic performances by the two expectant woman plays like a real scenario, allowing the events to unfold with a satisfying natural rhythm.

Samantha (Cobie Smulders) is a teacher and counselor at a mid-level Chicago high school. Her world »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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