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HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to ‘Dracula Untold’ With Luke Evans

27 September 2014 1:30 PM, PDT

Chicago – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated new fantasy film “Dracula Untold” starring Luke Evans and Dominic Cooper!

Dracula Untold,” which opens on Oct. 10, 2014 and is rated “PG-13,” also stars Sarah Gadon, Charles Dance, Art Parkinson, Diarmaid Murtagh, Paul Kaye and William Houston from director Gary Shore, writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless and producer Michael De Luca.

To win your free “Dracula Untold” passes courtesy of HollywoodChicago.com, just get interactive with our social media widget below. That’s it! This screening is on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 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!

Preferably, use your computer to enter rather than your smartphone. »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Exclusive Portrait: ‘Grumpy Cat’ Gains a Voice in Lifetime TV Movie

27 September 2014 8:47 AM, PDT

Chicago – What began as an internet meme has become a celebrity sensation. “Grumpy Cat,” Aka Tardar Sauce the cat, has built a career for herself and her owners as a magazine cover girl and brand name. Aubrey Plaza (“Parks and Recreation”) has just been named as the voice of Grumpy Cat for an upcoming Lifetime TV Movie, “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.” The famous feline recently appeared at Barnes & Noble Old Orchard in Skokie, Illinois, to promote her new book “The Grumpy Guide to Life: Observations from Grumpy Cat.”

Grumpy Cat began her run as a picture that was posted to the social news website Reddit, and that image was passed around with “memes” – humorous sayings that went along with her grumpy face. The owners, siblings Bryan and Tabatha Bundensen, patented the image for use on products, and the rest is brand history. She has appeared on the cover »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: Animated ‘The Boxtrolls’ Has British Comic Tone

26 September 2014 8:06 PM, PDT

Chicago – Monty Python, Peter Cook & Dudley Moore, Peter Sellers, Mr. Bean, Alan Partridge – all are examples of British comedy, that off-kilter “are you in on the joke?” point of view. That comic tone has arrived in an animated film, within the stop motion world of “The Boxtrolls.”

Rating: 3.5/5.0

From the same studio that brought the twisted entertainments of “Coraline” and “ParaNorman” – Laika Entertainment – “The Boxtrolls” continue their comic tradition of subtle jabs and visual humor. Full of scenic invention, it paints their characters in the film with traits that are neither good nor bad, they just have a weird sense of a different mentality. The story also celebrates the notion of being yourself, despite any background circumstances, and staying away from greed and false terror and idolatry. Take that, “Frozen”!

Based on the British storybook, “Here Be Monsters!” the story centers on a boy named Eggs (voice of Isaac Hemstead-Wright »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: An Experimental Experience in Non-Biopic ‘Jimi: All is By My Side’

26 September 2014 3:06 PM, PDT

Chicago – “Jimi: All Is by My Side” shows the Jimi Hendrix experience without having the rights to the Jimi Hendrix Experience. It’s an unofficial rumination that doesn’t have any Hendrix songs, and it focuses on a more day-in-the-life perspective of the rock star, albeit in a career period that would be scooted over through montage in any other film. The endeavor is ambitious in its desires, and stands out most of all for its experimental nature than it does for trying to achieve a truth higher than fact.

Rating: 3.0/5.0

The time is between 1966 and 1967, before Hendrix stormed Monterey Pop Festival, and the place is London. Jimi (played by André Benjamin, known as André 3000 in Outkast) has been discovered by a girlfriend of Keith Richards named Linda Keith (Imogen Poots), who sees the potential in a guitarist one night that is only adding color to a soul band. »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: Overall Story of ‘The Equalizer’ Doesn’t Add Up

26 September 2014 10:28 AM, PDT

Chicago – You could call “The Equalizer” a bit of an underachiever. It re-teams Oscar winner Denzel Washington with his “Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua for a movie remake of a 1980’s TV show with a cult following, but the film as a whole adds up to less than the sum of its parts.

Rating: 2.0/5.0

Washington stars as an ex-cia agent now living the quiet life by day working in a Home Depot-like store. In contrast, by night he often uses his particular set of skills to help underdogs in need. He gets to be a good guy, while being the baddest badass on the planet. The Equalizer is the kind of guy who could literally mop the floor with half the cast of “The Expendables.”

Yet he certainly takes his time getting going. For the first 25 minutes or so we see him as a combination father figure and life coach – offering helpful advice, »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: Luminous Story of Disconnection in Organic ‘Tracks’

26 September 2014 10:26 AM, PDT

Chicago – “Do you ever wonder if the things that are meant to connect us … actually disconnect us?” This cheesy hypothesis as found in many millennial dramas has only caused the film world go to in circles about the quandary of handheld screens and social media. With its cool air, John Curran’s low-key adventure “Tracks” takes a line straight through that argument, providing a story of disconnection from distraction as set in a world when Apple products were only gadgets on re-runs of “Star Trek.”

Rating: 4.0/5.0

The story of “Tracks” is a true one, and follows free-spirit Robyn Davidson (Mia Wasikowska), a young woman in 1970s Australia who dreams of crossing 1,7000 miles through the western desert with four camels and her dog, while carrying only the necessities, like a compass. To get funding for the venture, she appeals to National Geographic Magazine, who agrees to fund her ambitious venture so »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Interview: Directors of ‘The Boxtrolls’ on Their Animated Life

25 September 2014 6:07 PM, PDT

Chicago – How do you interpret an odd British storybook called “Here Be Monsters!” into a mainstream animated film? By taking the main characters – called ‘The Boxtrolls’ – and putting them up front. Animation veterans and co-directors Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi got the assignment, and deliver the goods.

Both creators have been around the animation block, but this is Annable’s first major animation directorial effort. He cut his teeth as a comic book artist and video game director, and was a story artist on the recent “ParaNorman.” Stacchi was previously a co-director on “Open Season” (2006), and started his animation career as a story artist on the classic “Antz” (1998). He also worked on visual effects for the classics “Back to the Future” (1985), “Ghost” (1990) and “Hook” (1991). The animation of ‘The Boxtrolls’ was produced by Laika Entertainment, who also produced the stop motion films “Coraline’” and the aforementioned “ParaNorman.”

Characters Looks in ‘The Boxtrolls, »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 15 Pairs of Passes to ‘Gone Girl’ With Ben Affleck

24 September 2014 10:15 PM, PDT

Chicago – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 15 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated mystery “Gone Girl” starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike from director David Fincher!

Gone Girl,” which opens in Chicago on Oct. 3, 2014 and is rated “R,” also stars Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Patrick Fugit, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, David Clennon, Lisa Banes and Missi Pyle from the “Fight Club” and “The Social Network” director David Fincher. The film is based on the novel by Gillian Flynn. Note: As this film is rated “R,” you must be 17+ to win this Hookup.

To win your free “Gone Girl” passes courtesy of HollywoodChicago.com, just get interactive with our social media widget below. That’s it! This screening is on Thursday, Oct. 2, 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! »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 100 Pairs of Passes to ‘Men, Women & Children’ From ‘Juno’ Director

23 September 2014 9:42 PM, PDT

Chicago – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 100 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new dramedy “Men, Women & Children” from the “Juno” director starring Jennifer Garner and Adam Sandler!

“Men, Women & Children,” which opens in Chicago on Oct. 3, 2014 and is rated “R,” also stars Kaitlyn Dever, Ansel Elgort, Emma Thompson, J.K. Simmons, Rosemarie DeWitt, Judy Greer, Dennis Haysbert, Elena Kampouris and Olivia Crocicchia from “Juno” and “Up in the Air” director Jason Reitman and writer Jason Reitman based on the novel by Chad Kultgen. Note: As this film is rated “R,” you must be 17+ to win this Hookup.

To win your free “Men, Women & Children” passes courtesy of HollywoodChicago.com, just get interactive with our social media widget below. That’s it! This screening is on Monday, Sept. 29, 2014 at 7 p.m. in Chicago. The more social actions you complete, the more points you score »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Interviews: Red-Carpet Opening Night for Reeling32 Film Festival

23 September 2014 4:32 PM, PDT

Chicago – Reeling32, the Chicago International Lgbt Film Festival, had a sensational Opening Night on Thursday, September 18th, 2014. The festival began with “Boy Meets Girl,” featuring Michelle Hendley in her debut performance, and directed by Eric Schaeffer. Both star and director attended the Opening Night.

Boy Meets Girl” tells the story of Ricky (Hendley), a transgender girl from a small town, who accepts the world as it is around her. Hendley is a transgender actor, and brought a perfect balance of humor and valor to the role. Eric Schaeffer is a veteran director of television and film, including the indie favorites “If Lucy Fell” (1996) and “Mind the Gap” (2004). This is his ninth feature film.

“Reeling32,” the 2014 Chicago Lgbt International Film Festival has an incredible line-up of films, events and parties until closing night on Thursday, September 25th. Theater venues include the historic Music Box Theater, Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema and Chicago Filmmakers. »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film News: Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com to Host ‘Breaking Away’

23 September 2014 2:41 PM, PDT

Chicago – “Breaking Away,” the classic Oscar-winning film of 1979, will be shown on the big screen at Studio Movie Grill in Wheaton, Ill. – on Wednesday, September 24th, 2014, at 7:30pm (click on the link below to purchase tickets). It will be hosted by Film Critic Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com. McDonald is also an alumnus of Indiana University, where “Breaking Away” was filmed, and the event is co-presented by the Chicago Film Critics Association, the Indiana University Alumni Association Chicago Chapter and the Studio Movie Grill.

Breaking Away’ Will Be Presented at the Studio Movie Grill

Photo credit: Chicago Film Critics Association

Breaking Away” is a hilarious and bittersweet comedy about four 19 year old guys from Bloomington, Indiana – where the Indiana University campus is located – who seem stuck at an age in which a college campus surrounds them, but can’t get rid of the feeling that they don’t belong there. »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: Lives Interact in ‘The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them’

22 September 2014 12:09 PM, PDT

Chicago – There was something blank within “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them,” although it dealt with the issues of loss, family and reconciliation. The all star cast, including Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy and William Hurt, add their performing spins to the story.

Rating: 3.5/5.0

Character dramas with some juice is a rare bird in the cinema, so “Rigby” gets points for adding some emotion to this film going experience. But the theme of loss and the hope for redemption becomes redundant as the film progresses, and it goes from one scene to another, pairing the characters in conversation as if they’re in a therapy session, with none of those talks hitting the jugular vein of revelation. This probably mirrors real life more closely, but doesn’t resolve the drama of the screenplay. However, the film is a worthwhile happening – two more films were done about the main couple in their »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Film Review: ‘A Walk Among the Tombstones’ Solidifies Desire for Liam Neeson to Be Your Dad

21 September 2014 10:19 PM, PDT

Chicago – I don’t know about your dad, but mine – love him as I do – isn’t Jason Bourne, James Bond or Bryan Mills. At the age of 62, Liam Neeson somehow still kicks ass as Bryan Mills in “Taken” and fans everywhere love riding every minute of his butt-kicking thrill rides.

Rating: 3.0/5.0

Denzel Washington, Daniel Craig and Matt Damon are certainly a close second for who your fantasy dad would be, but really the winner is Liam Neeson every time. And I don’t just mean for those of us with daddy issues.

Liam would play baseball or My Little Pony with you, teach you wise life lessons, make you laugh and send you on your merry way in life. All the while, he’d be protecting you in the shadows if ever enemies find reason to harm you. He’s scary to bad guys even without a gun as »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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