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Thursday
Jul072016

F Breast Cancer!

It would be really nice if the only “Big C” in the world was “Cinema”, but the universe is full of cruel, unpredictable garbage, like cancer. Fortunately, there are noble souls like Patrick and Erika Bromley out there, who use their talents to make things better for everyone.

Not only is Patrick the proprietor of F This Movie, one of the internet’s most consistent (and consistently obsessive) movie-review sites, he’s also the kind of guy who would enlist family and friends for an 18-hour film podcast to benefit cancer survivors and promote awareness.

That’s right, beginning at 8am CST this Saturday, July 9, F This Movie kicks off almost a full day of incredible, live movie talk,* which will double as a drive to support The Magnolia Tree Foundation. Magnolia Tree was the vision of Alexa Rodheim Cutler, a teacher and water polo coach at Elk Grove, IL’s Elk Grove High School. A friend and inspiration to many, including the Bromleys, Alexa passed away in March of 2016 after a courageous two-year battle with triple negative, BRCA1 positive breast cancer. The mission of The Magnolia Tree Foundation is to educate and provide financial assistance to those affected by the BRCA mutation.

F This Movie and Magnolia Tree are accepting donations via a GoFundMe campaign, which you can contribute to now and throughout the show. All donations, small to not-so-small, go directly to the Foundation, and are greatly appreciated. And if you’re listening at 4pm, you might just hear a certain seat-kicker on F This Movie’s critics round table, discussing the ins and outs of the craft!

For anyone who has fought cancer or fought alongside someone fighting cancer, this fun, uplifting, and important event is not to be missed!

See you Saturday!

*The show will stream directly from F This Movie's website.

Friday
Jun032016

30 Years of Ferris Bueller with WDCB's Brian O'Keefe!

Ferris Bueller taught us the ins and outs of epic hooky nearly thirty years ago. I spoke with WDCB's Brian O'Keefe recently about why John Hughes' love letter to Chicago and youthful rebellion still resonates. Enjoy!

 

Friday
May272016

WILDERPEOPLE Wows at CCFF!

THE CHICAGO FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION announces Winner of Audience Award of THE 4th ANNUAL CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Taika Waititi-directed comedy, “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” is the top choice of attendees of the just-completed film festival.

“Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” the uproarious and engaging comedy from writer-director Taika Waititi (“What We Do In the Shadows”) about a rebellious boy (Julian Dennison) and his foster uncle (Sam Neill) whose disappearance into the New Zealand bush following a tragedy inspires a national manhunt, was the favorite of audiences at the 4th Chicago Critics Film Festival. The film, which was among the most popular of the recently completed weeklong program of titles from around the globe curated entirely by members of the Chicago Film Critics Association, was named the winner of the Audience Choice award.

Created by the Chicago Film Critics Association in 2013 and held once again at Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre, the festival offered a selection of films comprised of recent festival favorites and as-yet-undistributed works covering a wide variety of genres from a wide variety of filmmakers ranging from award winners to talented newcomers chosen exclusively by members of the organization, the only current example of a major film critics group hosting its own festival. Audiences were given ballots before each screening in order to present their opinions of the programming choices afterwards and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” which is scheduled to be released commercially on June 24, 2016, proved to be the favorite amidst heavy competition.

About The Music Box Theatre

For 30 years, the Music Box Theatre has been the premier venue in Chicago for independent and foreign films, festivals and some of the greatest cinematic events in Chicago. It currently has the largest cinema space operated full-time in the city. The Music Box Theatre is independently owned & operated by the Southport Music Box Corporation. SMBC, through its Music Box Films division, also distributes foreign and independent films in the theatrical, DVD and television markets throughout the United States. For additional information, please visit www.musicboxtheatre.com

Friday
May202016

Herman Yau to Receive Asian Pop-Up Cinema Pinnacle Award!

Herman Yau Lai-To will be the first recipient of the Asian Pop-Up Cinema Pinnacle Award – a career achievement award in recognition of Herman Yau's distinctive voice in Asian cinema.

As part of the celebration of Herman Yau's three decades of prolific career as a film director, actor, cinematographer, scriptwriter, and producer, guests will enjoy a feature presentation of one of his recent celebrated works:  IP MAN: THE FINAL FIGHT followed by an on-stage “Conversation With The Director” moderated by Chicago’s own film critic and entertainment writer, Patrick McDonald.

We thank Cathay Pacific Airways for their generous support in flying our honoree Herman Yau to Chicago for Asian Pop-Up Cinema’s end of season festivities.  

Located at the beautiful VenueSix10 at 610 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, the Gala evening festivities include:

6:00 - 7:15 PM Cocktail Reception at Landing featuring:  

Signature “Pinnacle” cocktail created with sake from “Tozai ‘Snow Maiden’ Junmai Nigori, Kyoto” by mixologist from Vine Connections; Hong Kong style dim sum, prepared by Hing Kee Restaurant from Chicago’s Chinatown.  While sipping wine from City Winery, guests can enjoy live performance by Swiss Composer/Guitarist/Bandleader:  Samuel Mosching.  

7:15 PM seated at the Feinberg Auditorium:  
Judy Hsu, Co-Anchor of ABC7 News in the Morning followed by our Emcee, Susan Blumberg-Kason (Author of “Good Chinese Wife”), other distinguished guests from the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York and the Chicago Film Office will make their opening remarks.

7:30 PM Presentation of Pinnacle Award to Honoree Herman Yau Lai-To

7:40 - 9:15 PM  IP MAN: THE FINAL FIGHT Special Feature presentation

9:15 – 9:45 PM Conversation with the Director:  

Moderated by Patrick McDonald, film critic and entertainment writer of Hollywoodchicago.com.

Guests of the Gala will enjoy the inaugural launch of "ACTION....CUT" Film Panel

Tickets are $125 per person.  Please click here to buy tickets.  
(Net proceeds from this event will benefit Asian Pop-Up Cinema's general operating expenses for its semiannual film festivals planned for the spring and fall of each year.)

Dress Code:  Creative Cocktail

Discounted Parking available for VENUE SIX10 guests:
$11 discounted parking for up to 12 hours is available with VENUE SIX10 validation (from the front security desk at VENUE SIX10) 
at The Essex Inn
(2 blocks south of Venue SIX10).  

Additional sponsors and supporters for the second season of Asian Pop-Up Cinema include: Japan Foundation NY, The Thai Trade Center, The Whitehall Hotel, Athena Design Group, Walton J. Newton & Co., AMC Independent, The Wilmette Theatre and many generous individual donors.  

ABOUT HONG KONG ECONOMIC AND TRADE OFFICE, NEW YORK

The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York is the office of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Regional Government tasked to promote business and cultural links between Hong Kong and the 31 eastern states of the U.S.A.  As the world’s freest economy, Hong Kong is a leading international business and financial center, as well as a regional transportation and logistics hub.  It is the gateway to China and remains a choice location for international companies to oversee and manage their regional operations.  Based in New York, the Office comprises an InvestHK team that provides free consultancy services to American business interested in establishing a presence in Hong Kong.  Follow them on Facebook, “Hong Kong Meets America.”

HERMAN YAU LAI-TO was born in Hong Kong in 1961 and holds a Master’s Degree and a PhD in cultural studies from Lingnan University, Hong Kong. Throughout his career, Yau has photographed, produced and directed over 100 films, which include: The Untold Story (1993) and Ebola Syndrome (1996) both regarded as cult classics by many European and American critics; From the Queen to the Chief Executive (2001) was the opening film in the Panorama section of the 51st Berlin International Film Festival and was awarded the Golden Torch Award by the International Catholic Organization for Cinema and Audiovisual. 

In 2007, Yau was honored as the Director in Focus by the 31st Hong Kong International Film Festival. That year, he was selected Fanta Master at the 11th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival. In 2014, Ip Man: The Final Fight won the Bronze Prize at the Udine Far East Film Festival, and in 2015, Charlene Choi won the Special Mention Award at the 10th Osaka Asian Film Festival for her role in Sara (2014).  The Mobfathers is Yau’s 2nd film released in 2016 after Nessun Dorma, a suspense thriller. Both of these films had their world premieres recently in March at the 40th Edition of Hong Kong International Film Festival.  Yau is currently working on two more projects to be completed before end of the year. 

PATRICK MCDONALD has been a film critic and entertainment writer for eight years, and currently appears on HollywoodChicago.com and FilmAutonomy.com. He has been chief tour guide for the Chicago Film Tour for seven seasons, and is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association. He has made appearances on behalf of the film tour and general film topics on WGN Radio (semi-regular, Bill & Wendy Show), Fox32 News, WGN-TV Morning News and “190 North” on ABC7 in Chicago.  Twitter: @ubercritic

ABOUT SOPHIA’S CHOICE AND ASIAN POP-UP CINEMA

Since its inauguration in September 2015, Asian Pop-Up Cinema has presented 2 North American premieres, 12 Chicago premieres and a total of 18 contemporary Asian titles including films from Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam in 24 showtimes. Artists in attendance at Asian Pop-Up Cinema include:  Directors Yuichi Satoh and Yukinori Makabe from Japan; Director Tom Lin Shu-Yu from Taiwan; Pinnacle Award Honoree Herman Yau Lai-To from Hong Kong; and Japanese Cinema specialist Mark Schilling from Tokyo.  All films are shown in their original language with English subtitles.  Each screening is followed by a Q&A session with a visiting or local Asian specialist, film critic and/or talent from the film.  Highly rated, respected associate professor of Cinema + Arts of Columbia College Chicago, Ron Falzone, hosts the post-film Q&A.

Wednesday
Apr062016

The Music Box Presents: THE INVITATION w/ Karyn Kusama!

Beginning next Friday, April 15, The Music Box Theatre presents a one-week engagement of director Karyn Kusama's deeply unsettling new thriller, The Invitation. I'll review the film soon, but trust me: this is the kind of resonant, deftly crafted horror experience adults have been waiting for.

Starring Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, and John Carroll Lynch, The Invitation unfolds over the course of one harrowing evening as a man attends a dinner party in his former home, hosted by his ex-wife and her new husband. Is this gathering meant to heal broken relationships, or are there sinister intentions at play? The answers await at the Music Box, and you'll definitely want to see this with friends--to keep each other from climbing the walls in panic!

To sweeten the deal, Kusama and Invitation co-writer Phil Hay will be on-hand for a Q&A following the 7pm screening on opening night! You can learn more about the event and purchase tickets at the Music Box website.