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Category Archives: TV & Movies

CIFF 2020: Black Perspectives Program Highlights Diverse Voices

Founded in 1997 by Alisa Stars and Bob Scarpelli in collaboration with Spike Lee, the Black Perspectives program at the Chicago International Film Festival has been highlighting films from the African and African American perspective for over two decades. The program premiered “I Will Follow” by Ava DuVernay in 2010, and has highlighted works by…

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Rhonda Fleming: 1923-2020

With her flaming red hair and lush figure, Rhonda Fleming was one of the most beautiful women in movies in the 1950s. She was sometimes known, like her fellow redhead Maureen O’Hara, as the Queen of Technicolor, a label she found limiting, though Fleming herself said that she preferred color to the black and white…

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Martin Eden

There’s a lovely little old-school manual typewriter in “Martin Eden,” director Pietro Marcello’s adaptation of Jack London’s semi-autobiographical novel. The protagonist of the title sits behind the mechanical device while transferring his innermost thoughts to the page. As Martin (Luca Marinelli of “The Old Guard”) hammered away at the keys, I was reminded how much…

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The Devil Has a Name

This movie’s opening scene is a scenery-chewing feast. Kate Bosworth’s Gigi comes swaggering into a boardroom at Houston’s Shore Oil, wearing a duster that maybe she picked up in the costume trailer for a spaghetti Western, and sets a flask in front of her not too long after sitting down. Across from her sits Alfred…

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The Opening Act

“Any comic who says they’ve never bombed onstage, they’re not being real about what we do.” – Cedric the Entertainer Some fathers and sons bond through sports. Some bond through fishing. Some bond about books, cars, opera. It doesn’t matter, as long as bonding happens! In “The Opening Act,” written and directed by comedian Steve…

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What the Constitution Means to Me

The word “timely” has gotten a hell of a workout over the last several years. That’s what comes of living on a knife’s-blade moment in history. We balance, teetering, on a thin slip of stability, diamond-sharp and diamond-precious. At such times, stories cannot help but take on new resonance. Yet in this moment, in which…

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