Category Archives: Art

Will Disney’s Bid For Fox Properties Mean Another Monopoly For The Cable Industry?

disney fox merger

Walt Disney Pictures has come a long way from making full-length animated features like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, and Peter Pan. In the 21st century, the company has reinvented itself with live-action blockbusters like Pirates of the Caribbean, state-of-the-art computer animated films like Cars and Frozen, and adaptations of children’s literary classics like Roald Dahl’s The BFG and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time (out in theaters this March). In recent years, Disney has expanded into more lucrative markets like comic book blockbusters (ie. Marvel comics) and, of course, the Star Wars franchise. The latest Star Wars entry, The Last Jedi, hit the $1 billion mark in worldwide box office sales barely three weeks after its US theatrical release. With a plethora of material to work with, and plenty of money coming in, one would think Disney is far passed its tipping point, but that might not be the case at all. Continue reading

Annual Spoken-Word Poetry Competition, Louder Than A Bomb, Gives A Voice To Young Poets

In 2001, shortly after the World Trade Center attacks on September 11th, two Chicago-based educators, Kevin Coval and Anna West, decided to create an outlet for young high school students to express themselves through spoken-word poetry. Nearly 20 years later, Louder Than A Bomb has grown from a small number of local high school teams to a full-scale competition made up of 120 teams from high schools all over Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. The success of the program has inspired educators to form spoken-word poetry competitions in 13 cities across the country, and even in Canada. Today, Louder Than A Bomb (LTAB) prides itself on being the largest youth poetry festival in the world. The success of the program, as well as the students and educators involved with organizing it every year, was the subject of a 2011 documentary, Louder Than A Bomb, by filmmakers Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel.

Jacobs and Siskel followed four individuals competing in the 2011 competition to paint a portrait of youth outlook on world events, social climate, politics, and their own personal stories. The film not only received praise at the Chicago International Film Festival, but also at film festivals all over the country, including Milwaukee, Cleveland, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Portland. Prelims for the upcoming 2018 festival are being held at Columbia College starting on February 21st-22nd. You can check eligibility rules and sign your team up on the Young Chicago Authors website. Louder Than A Bomb is available on Amazon Prime, and if you have an account I would definitely add it to your Watchlist.

Has The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Changed In The Years Since #OscarsSoWhite

2018 oscars

The nominations for the 90th Annual Academy Awards were released last week and met with mixed reactions. Some were ecstatic, others were disappointed, but how many were surprised? The Academy has been attempting to present itself in a new light in the years since a slew of all-white nominees was presented in the Best Actor category at the 2015 ceremony. Despite the #OscarsSoWhite movement that followed, the same thing happened the next year, sending organizers into a furor that found them completely revamping the membership list in the hopes of getting more diversified nominations. Although the 89th ceremony saw some changes in terms of the voting body, it seemed more like a desperate attempt to show change rather than a legitimate attempt to actually change. Now, in the age of #MeToo, this year’s nominees also fell shy of expectations. Continue reading

Sundance Film Festival 2018 Kicks Off In Wake Of #MeToo Movement and Hollywood Purge

sundance film festival 18

The 2018 Sundance Film Festival kicked off yesterday in Park City, Utah, at the Sundance Mountain Resort. Every year the festival plays host to an impressive array of independent films, both foreign and domestic, and has featured such successful films as Blood Simple, Hoosiers, Reservoir Dogs, Clerks, Memento, 28 Days Later, SuperSize Me, Boyhood, and more recent notables like Dope, Mudbound, and Wind River (just to name a few!). Sundance not only presents feature-length films but also shorts and documentaries, and presents awards in such categories as acting, cinematography, screenwriting, directing, and short-filmmaking. The 2018 celebration will showcase 110 feature-length films from 29 countries; 47 of those films come from first-time filmmakers, out of a pool of 13,468 total submissions, including features, shorts, and documentaries. Some of this years more anticipated entries include Juliet Naked, Wildlife, Heart Beats Loud, The Catcher Was a Spy, and documentaries like Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock, and Our New President. The 2018 celebration, however, comes at the helm of the whirlwind that was 2017. Continue reading

Does ‘The Post’ Seek To Glorify The Press In The Era of Fake News?

Steven Spielberg’s latest drama, The Post, may be a celebration of the free press, but in the age of “fake news” it feels more like an attempt to glorify the press rather than focus on its habit of misrepresentation. The Post tells the story of the The Washington Post and its publishing of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. The Pentagon Papers (as they came to be called) was a series of documents detailing the extent of the US involvement in the Vietnam War. Upon learning of the atrocities of the war, military analyst Daniel Ellsberg secretly copied and leaked the documents to the press in the hopes that the public would be made aware of the truth.

Kay Graham (portrayed by Meryl Streep in Spielberg’s film) was the acting publisher of The Washington Post at the time. She inherited the role of sole proprietor following her husband’s untimely death by suicide. Graham not only faced a board of all-male stock holders who were ready to oust her at any moment, but also a more hostile-than-friendly editor named Ben Bradlee (portrayed by Tom Hanks), who reportedly informed her that he’d give his left nut to run the Post, himself. Shortly after Graham came into her new position, Martin Weil (Better Call Saul‘s Bob Odenkirk) was sent to meet with Ellsberg to collect the top secret documents in Boston and transport them safely back to Washington. Continue reading

Mixed Reviews For ‘The Disaster Artist’ As Film Receives Theatrical Expansion

As Variety’s Peter Debruge hails The Disaster Artist as James Franco achieving “what could become his most iconic role,” others like The New Yorker’s Richard Brody have claimed it’s a good movie, but Franco missed the mark; The Room is a better movie. Truth be told, reviews are always mixed for any movie, but when you compare a new theatrical film to what’s become known as the worst movie ever made, that’s saying something. The Disaster Artist, which is directed by, and stars James Franco, along with his brother Dave and long time collaborator Seth Rogan, follows the making of The Room, known to many as the worst movie ever made. The Room was a production-disaster-turned-cult-classic that was the lifeblood of two aspiring filmmakers, Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero. The two met and, realizing their dreams of filmmaking, decided to go to Hollywood to make their masterpiece. A $6 billion bill, countless horrendous reviews, and an opening weekend of only 200 ticket sales, however, seemed to literally spell disaster for the young filmmakers. But sometime after the initial release, something unexpected began to happen. Continue reading

Bodega Boys- EP91: “Goonuber”

The Bodega Boys are back with this week’s art. Just like that we’re only 9 episodes away from their 100th episode. Whether you’ve been here from the beginning or you’re more familiar with their show on VICELAND, the BRAND is clearly STRONG. Check out episode 91 above and be on the look out for the next installment.

Oscar Contender ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ Is Now Playing In Theaters

Writer/director Martin McDonagh’s latest dramatic dark-comedy, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri drew mass acclaim on the film festival circuit this season, winning awards at BIFA, and the Venice Film and Toronto International Film Festivals. McDonagh, along with lead cast members Frances McDormand (Fargo, Almost Famous) and Woody Harrelson (No Country For Old Men, Zombieland) are already expected to receive Oscar nominations for their telling of a mid-Western mother (Mildred Hayes) who abruptly calls out the local sheriffs department for failing to resolve their investigation into her daughter’s brutal murder. Supporting actor Sam Rockwell (The Green Mile, Moon) is also being praised for his role as second-in-command Officer Dixon, in a film Woody Harrelson describes in the Hollywood Reporter as, “Super Troopers meets Seven Psychopaths,” (the latter another of McDonagh’s feature films).

Three Billboards was a huge hit at the British Independent Film Awards, winning for Best Music and Best Editing and receiving nominations for Best Director, Best Actress (McDormand), Best Supporting Actor (Harrelson and Rockwell), Best Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. Additionally, Three Billboards won the Feature Film award at the Denver International Film Festival, as well as Best Screenplay (Venice Film Festival), Gala/Special Presentations for McDonagh (TIFF), Overall Winner (Leeds), and Supporting Actor of the Year for Rockwell (Hollywood Film Awards). The trailer is nothing short of mesmerizing, and all bets say this one will be one of the top contenders of the Holiday season, so be sure to see it on the big screen before all the theaters are teeming with Star Wars fanatics.

Hebru Brantley

Hebru
Hebru 1
Hebru 2

When I first arrived in Chicago at the back end of 2008 i had absolutely no clue who Hebru Brantley was. I remember cruising along Milwaukee Avenue and seeing huge graffiti style murals of futuristic looking children wearing goggles, and wondering to myself “who the hell makes these?”. One day a friend of mine put me on to an art show and boom the connection was made, i now knew his name but the research had just began. A few years later and the man, the myth continues to be an internationally acclaimed artist with backing from some very prestigious people/companies: Jay Z, Nike, Lollapalooza and Life+Times to name a few. The South side native most recently was involved with a Nike sponsored pop up shop featuring his clothing line in conjunction with Lollapalooza weekend. One of the coolest things about Hebru is that he’s so in tune with the streets of Chicago and what’s going on in his city, i still have no idea how many of his pieces are sprinkled around the city; but it’s still amazing every time i stumble upon one. If you’ve never heard of Hebru Brantley click the link below and check out his website and stay tuned for his next event.

Hebru Brantley

Harry Dean Stanton Gives His Last Great Performance In New Drama ‘Lucky’

Harry Dean Stanton, the legendary character-actor who’s appeared in countless Hollywood productions, passed away on September 15th at the age of 91. Stanton got his start taking small roles in television productions like Bonanza, Rawhide, The Fugitive, and Gunsmoke in the 1950s and ’60s. He has since appeared in more than 100 films, including Cool Hand Luke, Kelly’s Heros, The Godfather Part II, Alien, Escape From New York, Repo Man, Pretty in Pink, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and The Green Mile. Now fans will have one more chance to see him in his first (and last) leading role since 1984’s Paris, Texas in what should prove to be a touching tribute.

Lucky is a drama from actor-turned-director John Carrol Lynch (Gran Torino, The Founder) that follows Lucky, a chain-smoking atheist and World War II veteran who must come to grips with his own mortality. The script comes from screenwriters Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja, and reunites Stanton with Twin Peaks creator David Lynch. Also appearing in the film are actors Ron Livingston (Office Space, Band of Brothers), Tom Skerritt (Top Gun, Steel Magnolias), James Darren (Gidget, The Guns of Navarone), and Yvonne Huff. Check your local listings for showings in your area, and if you’re not in the mood for killer clowns or Tom Cruise, make this one your go-to for the weekend. And of course, rest in peace Mr. Stanton!