WBEZ | Movies http://www.wbez.org/tags/movies-0 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 11 alternative Christmas movies to watch this year http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-12/11-alternative-christmas-movies-watch-year-109384 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img 20th="" alt="" century="" class="image-original_image" edward="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Edward-Scissorhands-movie-still.jpg" style="height: 342px; width: 620px;" title="A still from &quot;Edward Scissorhands.&quot; (AP Photo/20th Century Fox)" /></div><p>Ah, Christmas movies. Everyone has a favorite, whether it be an old classic&mdash;the Rankin/Bass version of &quot;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xqACmJvqaU" target="_blank">Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer</a>&quot;&nbsp;comes to mind&mdash;or a newer addition, like Jim Carrey&#39;s &quot;How the Grinch Stole Christmas&quot; or Will Ferrell&#39;s &quot;Elf.&quot;</p><p>I will admit that a few traditional Christmas films still hold my heart, particularly &quot;It&#39;s A Wonderful Life&quot; (because I love Jimmy Stewart) and &quot;A Muppet Chistmas Carol&quot; (because I love Michael Caine as Scrooge, plus muppets), but my tastes have changed considerably over the years.</p><p>Once I began to realize that schmaltz-fests like &quot;The Family Stone&quot; were unfulfilling, and garish clunkers like &quot;Jingle All the Way&quot; were actually&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/jingle-all-the-way-1996" target="_blank">materialism incarnate</a>, I made a conscious decision to venture outside the Hallmark Channel-approved box for my holiday viewing.&nbsp;</p><p>I started watching movies set at Christmastime, often with plots still somewhat impacted by or connected to seasonal tropes, but that also contained much weirder, darker, and more complex themes than the simpler stories I enjoyed as a child. (I blame you, film school.)</p><p>Then there are those beloved holiday staples that toe the line, but never quite cross it. For example, &quot;A Christmas Story&quot; has enough acerbic wit to balance out the nostalgia, but also plays to the masses for <a href="http://www.tbs.com/stories/story/0,,97568,00.html" target="_blank">24 hours on TBS</a>. National Lampoon&#39;s &quot;Christmas Vacation&quot; may veer hilariously towards the irreverent, but stops short of real oddball territory due to the near universal accessibility of writer John Hughes.</p><p>If you&#39;re looking for a new yuletide tradition that doesn&#39;t involve endless rounds of carol-singing, or if you&#39;ve simply had your fill of Bing Crosby and &quot;Frosty the Snowman,&quot; then I suggest treating yourself to a Christmas movie with a little more bite.&nbsp;</p><p>Here are my Top 11:</p><p><strong>11. &quot;Brazil&quot; (1985)</strong></p><p>Terry Gilliam&#39;s &quot;Brazil&quot; is one of the most bizarre movies I&#39;ve ever seen; and consequently, one of my all-time favorites. The warped Christmas setting, though completely random and unexplained, is a perfect match for the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Wh2b1eZFUM" target="_blank">dystopian terror</a> of a society utterly devoid of holiday spirit. Plus, if you ever wanted to see Jonathon Pryce, Jim Broadbent, Peter Vaughn, Katherine Helmond, and Robert DeNiro in a film together&mdash;or rather, spiraling out of control in a wacky, retro-future Orwellian universe&mdash;herein lies your opportunity.</p><p><strong>10. &quot;Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy&quot; (2011)</strong></p><p>A Cold War<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aco15ScXCwA" target="_blank"> espionage thriller</a> starring Gary Oldman may not sound very Christmasy, but factor in a holiday office party as the scene that frames the movie&mdash;with gaudy &#39;70s suits, clouds of cigarette smoke, and a discordant sing-along to the Soviet Anthem, no less&mdash;and the idea of seasonal communion is turned wickedly on its head, like a wind-up doll gone deliriously mad. Meanwhile, in yet another sinister detail from director Tomas Alfredson (&quot;Let the Right One In&quot;), the singing is conducted by a eldritch-looking Santa Claus in a Lenin mask.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>9. &quot;Eyes Wide Shut&quot; (1999)</strong></p><p>In acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick&#39;s <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXEziyz9duA" target="_blank">final film</a>, which premiered shortly after Kubrick&#39;s sudden death&nbsp;from a heart attack, then-married couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman play a charged game of art imitating life. Here is a husband and wife who attend holiday parties together, then seperate, and fleetingly experience sordid lives outside their own. But when their wildest dreams turn to nightmares, notice the perverted symbolism: a Christmas tree (or related seasonal bauble) appears in almost every scene.</p><p><strong>8. &quot;The Apartment&quot; (1960)</strong></p><p>Leave it to filmmaker Billy Wilder (&quot;Some Like It Hot,&quot; &quot;The Lost Weekend&quot;) to write and direct a movie that focuses on the very darkest chasms of the human heart come Christmastime. Jack Lemmon plays the antihero, C.C. &quot;Bud&quot; Baxter: a lonely insurance salesman who decides to drown his sorrows in booze on Christmas Eve. He meets a fellow lonely heart at his neighborhood bar, and then brings her up to his apartment for a little more forgetting. But in a startling twist, they find that Shirley MacLaine&#39;s character is already there, passed out on his bed from a drug overdose. This sequence of events is beyond unfortunate, but also painfully true to life: a mirror reflecting back on those of us who know all too well how <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CufD9Tu1uLE" target="_blank">soul-crushing</a> the holidays can be, and how forced that &quot;cheer&quot; can often feel.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>7. &quot;Gremlins&quot; (1984)</strong></p><p>If you haven&#39;t seen this cult classic about evil little monsters going beserk on Christmas, then I am slightly jealous of your good fortune. The very &#39;80s&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoK0BzYUTrU" target="_blank">black comedy horror film</a>, directed by Chris Columbus (&quot;Home Alone,&quot; &quot;Harry Potter&quot;) and produced by Steven Spielberg, centers on a teenage boy who gets a critter called a Mogwai for Christmas. His dad found the thing in Chinatown, of all places, and he must follow three rules to care for it properly: never expose it to bright light; never get it wet; and most importantly, never feed it after midnight. Of course, the boy does not follow these instructions, and his cuddly little pet, whom he calls Gizmo, eventually mulitiplies into a horde of scary reptilian gremlins that begin terrorizing his small town. Honestly, I always feared that my Furby would do the same thing.</p><p><strong>6. &quot;Batman Returns&quot; (1992)</strong></p><p>Tim Burton&#39;s first appearance on this list, with his second and last entry into the live-action &quot;Batman&quot; franchise of the &#39;90s, is also perhaps the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman_Returns" target="_blank">most Christmasy superhero film</a> in recent memory. Corrupt businessman Max Schreck (Christopher Walken) is described as &quot;Gotham&#39;s own Santa Claus,&quot; Michelle Pfieffer&#39;s Catwoman kisses Michael Keaton&#39;s Batman under the mistletoe, and Danny DeVito&#39;s deranged Penguin wreaks havoc on a snow-covered Gotham City. Ironically, the movie also enjoyed a successful June release in theatres, giving it the highest opening weekend&nbsp;of any film up to that point.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>5. &quot;Kiss Kiss Bang Bang&quot; (2005)</strong></p><p>In this underrated crime caper from writer/director Shane Black, a theatrical thief (Robert Downey Jr.) teams up with a gay detective (Val Kilmer) to solve a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-ekNtkhLjs" target="_blank">murder mystery</a> at Christmastime. Downey and Kilmer have surprisingly great comedic chemistry, likely aided by the kitsch romanticism of a snowless LA with plastic trees and Christmas lights. An actress also entagled in the crime (Michelle Monaghan) even shows up in a sexy Santa costume at one point.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>4. &quot;The Shop Around the Corner&quot; (1940)</strong></p><p>Two employees at a Budapest gift shop (Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan, respectively) can barely stand one another; and yet, unbeknownst to both of them, are falling in love through the post as each other&#39;s anonymous pen pal. But as fate would have it, Christmas is ultimately what brings these squabbling soulmates together. In the film&#39;s memorable final scene, Stewart puts a red carnation on his lapel&mdash;thus revealing his identity to Sullivan as her longtime mystery correspondent&mdash;and the two share a passionate embrace on Christmas Eve. Does this <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033045/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1" target="_blank">oft-repeated romantic comedy</a> scenario sound familiar? Watch &quot;You&#39;ve Got Mail&quot; (the 1998 Nora Ephron-directed remake starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks), relive the nostalgia of AOL dial-up, and feel old.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>3. &quot;Edward Scissorhands&quot; (1990)</strong></p><p>Magical is the first word that comes to mind when I think of &quot;Edward Scissorhands,&quot; which is exactly the spirit that director Tim Burton conjures up in every fairy-tale frame. Johnny Depp&#39;s impressive silent film actor performance is another revelation (how could one not fall in love with his sweet, gentle, sadly<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099487/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1" target="_blank"> scissor-handed hero</a>?) and the bizarro world that the rest of the characters inhabit looks positively ethereal once the snow starts to fall. In fact, Winona Ryder twirling like an angel admist snowflakes and ice sculptures is perhaps the purest embodiment of Christmas I have ever seen put to film: an exultation of whimsy, wonder, and most of all, hope.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>2. &quot;The Nightmare Before Christmas&quot; (1993)</strong></p><p>Yes, Christmas features prominently into the plot, but Tim Burton&#39;s story is just as much about Halloweenteen and its delightfully creepy inhabitants as it is about what Jack Skellington discovers in the land of elves and Santy Claus. Plus, the incredible <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-LXKoNOMj0" target="_blank">stop motion animation</a> from director Henry Selick (&quot;James and the Giant Peach,&quot; &quot;Coraline&quot;) remains as mind-blowing today as it was when the film was first released.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>1. &quot;Die Hard&quot; (1988)</strong></p><p>I don&#39;t care what <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/katienotopoulos/here-is-an-opinion-that-is-not-as-clever-as-you-might-think" target="_blank">Buzzfeed</a> says; this movie is the epitome of yuletide joy. If you don&#39;t believe in miracles after watching Bruce Willis bungee jump through explosions on a fire hose, what hope is there for the world? Also, as a card-carrying member of the Alan Rickman fan club, I simply cannot fathom why audiences tout his role in &quot;Love Actually&quot; (quite possibly the most overrated holiday film of all time, in which he plays one of the most unlikeable characters) over his turn in this priceless gem. Old standbys like &quot;Miracle on 34th Street&quot; and &quot;Home Alone&quot; aside, &quot;Die Hard&quot; reigns as the ultimate Christmas movie.</p><p><strong>What are your favorite unconventional Christmas films?</strong></p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about art and popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 19 Dec 2013 09:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-12/11-alternative-christmas-movies-watch-year-109384 Who's behind those eyes? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/whos-behind-those-eyes-108882 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/115479411&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Editor&#39;s note: This presentation and its accompanying interview were published in 2013. The Chicago International Film Festival is set to celebrate its 50th anniversary in October 2014.&nbsp;</em></p><p>The <a href="http://www.chicagofilmfestival.com/">Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF)</a> is fast approaching the mid-century mark.</p><p>This year is the 49th outing of the longest running competitive film festival in North America.</p><p>So what accounts for its longevity? The commitment to showcasing work by new directors? A Midwestern audience starved for non-Hollywood movies?</p><p>Or could it be that alluring logo?</p><p>That&rsquo;s what caught the eye of John Laffler, who founded <a href="http://www.offcolorbrewing.com/home">Off Color Brewing</a>, one of the many craft beer ventures upping Chicago&rsquo;s reputations for great suds.</p><p>Laffler&rsquo;s never even been to CIFF. But he was well aware of the festival&rsquo;s presence when he asked Curious City:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Whose ubiquitous eyes are those on the Chicago International Film Festival posters? Is she single?</em></p><p>Now I&rsquo;ll be honest. This wasn&rsquo;t the most challenging Curious City assignment. All it took was a peek at the CIFF&nbsp;website to answer Laffler&rsquo;s question.</p><p>But <a href="http://www.chicagofilmfestival.com/history/">never mind</a> &mdash; there&rsquo;s always more to a good story!</p><p>So I brought Laffler together with Michael Kutza, who founded CIFF (and still runs it). He created the logo in 1967.</p><p>Laffler said a bit more about those &ldquo;ubiquitous&rdquo; eyes.</p><p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;re so catching, so seductive and nuanced,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s an amazing logo and I just never knew who it was.&rdquo;</p><p>Well, in this <a href="https://soundcloud.com/curiouscity/whos-behind-the-eyes-in-the" target="_blank">interview </a>Kutza explains that it took a while to come up with the logo. In 1965 he had a simpler concept: an image of a globe and a reel of film side by side.</p><p>The next year he turned to photographer <a href="http://skrebneskiphotographs.com/home.html">Victor Skrebneski</a> to &ldquo;sexy&rdquo; things up. That&rsquo;s where the image of this sixties <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_girl">&ldquo;it girl&rdquo;</a>, all shaggy bangs and mysterious shades, comes from.<a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/CIF/01+Colleen+Moore+INSPIRATION+CIFF.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CROPPED Colleen Moore INSPIRATION CIFF.jpg" style="height: 228px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Colleen Moore, silent film star and inspiration for the CIFF logo. Click to enlarge. (Image courtesy of Michael Kutza)" /></a></p><p>But it was an &quot;it girl&quot; from a much earlier generation who inspired the final design: <a href="http://www.colleenmoore.org/">Colleen Moore.</a></p><p>&ldquo;She was in the &#39;20s the most successful comedian in silent film,&rdquo; said Kutza. &ldquo;She was part of the D. W. Griffith and Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford era of film.&rdquo;</p><p>Moore, famous for personifying the flapper, saw her career flounder in the transition to sound.</p><p>After retiring she married Homer Hargrave and <a href="http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1955&amp;dat=19690320&amp;id=b5AjAAAAIBAJ&amp;sjid=s6AFAAAAIBAJ&amp;pg=4832,3716722">made Chicago a home for over 30 years.</a></p><p>Kutza says he met Moore through legendary<em> Chicago Sun-Times</em> gossip columnist <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/June-2004/The-Lost-World-of-Kup/">Irv &ldquo;Kup&rdquo; Kupcinet</a>.</p><p><a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/CIF/01+cif+large.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/01 cif.jpg" style="height: 181px; width: 140px; float: left;" title="The Chicago International Film Festival Program, 1965. The original logo. Click to enlarge. (Image courtesy of Michael Kutza)" /></a>After Moore&rsquo;s husband died in 1964, Kup thought she needed someone to pull her out of her &ldquo;widow role&rdquo; and predicted she and Kutza would be a good team. And he was right.</p><p>&ldquo;She helped me with the first film festival and introduced me to some amazing people who were her buddies in the old days,&rdquo; recalled Kutza. &ldquo;Lillian Gish came through. Myrna Loy, Joan Crawford, they&rsquo;re all hanging out with this lady Colleen Moore, at the Pump Room.&rdquo;</p><p>Kutza says it was the iconic look of the silent era that inspired the final logo.</p><p>&ldquo;<a href="http://thehairpin.com/2013/01/scandals-of-classic-hollywood-the-most-wicked-face-of-theda-bara">Theda Bara</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mae_Murray">Mae Murray</a>, they all had the same look!&rdquo; said Kutza. &ldquo;But you put them together, and take the eyes, the hair and &lsquo;the this.&rsquo; You come up with the symbol.&rdquo;</p><p><a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/CIF/02+cif+large.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/02 cif.jpg" style="height: 192px; width: 150px; float: right;" title="The Chicago International Film Festival Program, 1966. A sexier version. Click to enlarge. (Image courtesy of Michael Kutza)" /></a>Kutza says the logo doesn&rsquo;t refer to a real person; instead, it distills the general power of film.</p><p>Still, Moore lent her very real star power to jump starting CIFF.</p><p>&ldquo;From the very first film festival here in Chicago, we had Betty Davis and King Vidor, you name it,&rdquo; Kutza recalled. &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t have an audience but we had movie stars.&rdquo;</p><p>The audience did grow. But save for minor tweaks, the logo has remained the same.</p><p><a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/CIF/03+cif+large.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/03 cif.jpg" style="float: left; height: 196px; width: 150px;" title="The Chicago International Film Festival Program, 1967. Those ubiquitous eyes finally appear for the festival’s third outing. Click to enlarge. (Image courtesy of Michael Kutza)" /></a>Sadly, not many of Colleen Moore&rsquo;s films have survived, though here&rsquo;s a snippet from her most famous role <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88PMhS1oYjs">Flaming Youth</a>.</p><p>She does leave another legacy in Chicago: Her fantastical, fabulous &ldquo;Fairy Castle,&rdquo; a dollhouse she had built over seven years. It now resides in the Museum of Science and Industry: Take a tour <a href="http://www.msichicago.org/whats-here/exhibits/fairycastle/history-of-the-fairy-castle/">here.</a></p><p><em>The 49th Chicago International Film Festival runs October 10-24.</em></p><p><em><a href=" http://www.wbez.org/users/acuddy-0" rel="author">Alison Cuddy </a> is the Arts and Culture reporter at WBEZ. You can follow her on <a href=" https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy"> Twitter</a>, <a href=" https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison"> Facebook </a> and <a href=" http://instagram.com/cuddyreport"> Instagram</a></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 09 Oct 2013 16:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/whos-behind-those-eyes-108882 Morning Shift: Is it fair for established filmmakers to use Kickstarter? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-14/morning-shift-it-fair-established-filmmakers-use <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Spike Lee-Flickr- thomas.rome_.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Kickstarter originally began as a way to get the average person&#39;s project out of the shadows, but now bigwigs are using it to fund their pet projects. Is this fair? Also, a chat with R&amp;B and blues artist Syleena Johnson.</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-43.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-43" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Is it fair for established filmmakers to use Kickstarter?" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Wed, 14 Aug 2013 08:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-14/morning-shift-it-fair-established-filmmakers-use The Lone Ranger comes home to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-06/lone-ranger-comes-home-chicago-107602 <p><p>A new Lone Ranger movie is being released next month. That brings to mind the masked man&rsquo;s Chicago connection.</p><p>The best-known Lone Ranger was Clayton Moore, a Chicagoan. Born in the city in 1914, he attended Hayt Elementary, then dropped out of Senn High School to become a circus acrobat. In 1938 Moore began working in movies as a stuntman and bit player. By the late &lsquo;40s he&rsquo;d become a familiar face in low-budget Hollywood epics.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/06-11--The%20Lone%20Ranger%20Unsmasked.jpg" title="Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger--pre-digital imagining (author's collection)" /></div><p>In 1949 the Lone Ranger radio program was making the transition to TV. Moore was cast in the title role because he sounded like the actor who played the Ranger on the radio. The radio guy was considered too bulky to make a convincing action hero.</p><p>Clayton Moore made the Lone Ranger role his own. He appeared in 169 TV episodes and two feature films. After the show was cancelled in 1957 he continued to travel the country, making personal appearances.</p><p>Moore returned to his hometown for a series of shows in June 1976. He checked in at the Lincolnwood Hyatt. His van was too big for the regular lot, so he was told to park outside. He was concerned about leaving the vehicle unattended, but figured, what could happen in Lincolnwood?</p><p>The next morning Moore found the van had been forced open. Several items had been stolen. The biggest loss was an antique Remington firearm, valued at $1200.</p><p>&ldquo;Lone Ranger Robbed in Chicago Suburb!&rdquo; the headlines read. Moore was livid&mdash;&ldquo;There will be retribution!&rdquo; he thundered. But the Remington and the rest were never recovered.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/06-11--Lincolnwood%20Hyatt.JPG" title="Lincolnwood Hyatt--now The Purple Hotel" /></div><p>A few years later, the producer of a new Lone Ranger movie got a court order to prevent Moore from wearing his trademark mask in personal appearances. Moore responded by substituting a pair of wrap-around sun glasses. The dispute was eventually settled, and Moore went on as the masked man until his death in 1999.</p><p>The 2013 Lone Ranger film stars Johnny Depp. But Depp is playing the &ldquo;faithful Indian sidekick&rdquo; named Tonto. The Ranger is portrayed by Armie Hammer.</p><p>Why didn&rsquo;t Depp take the title role? You don&rsquo;t compete with a legend. The one and only Lone Ranger will always be Chicago&rsquo;s own Clayton Moore.</p><p>Hi-yo, Silver&mdash;away!&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 11 Jun 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-06/lone-ranger-comes-home-chicago-107602 Michael Phillips: Why Go to the Movies? http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/michael-phillips-why-go-movies-107086 <p><p>In an age when any blockbuster or indie film can be summoned up to your computer, TV or smart phone, are we witnessing the end of a favorite American pastime&mdash;going to the movies? On Thursday, April 25, <em>Chicago Tribune</em>&nbsp;film critic <strong>Michael Phillips</strong> explored film-industry trends, the impact of technology, and what it all means for Hollywood and the rest of us.</p><div>In addition to his work at the <em>Tribune</em>, Phillips was co-host of the long-running, nationally syndicated TV show &quot;At the Movies&quot; in its final season, after filling in for host Roger Ebert off and on since 2006. Phillips also covers movies for CLTV and can be heard most Fridays on WGN-AM. He guest-hosted the popular Filmspotting podcast (broadcast on WBEZ-91.5 FM), and has been a guest on a variety of programs including &quot;Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,&quot; &ldquo;Entourage,&quot; &quot;The View,&quot; &quot;Charlie Rose,&quot; BBC radio, MSNBC and Chicago&#39;s ABC-TV Channel 7.</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/EC-webstory_16.jpg" title="" /></div></div><p>Recorded live on April 25, 2013 at Elmhurst College.</p></p> Thu, 25 Apr 2013 15:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/michael-phillips-why-go-movies-107086 CNN's Ohio rape trial coverage ridiculed http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-03/cnns-ohio-rape-trial-coverage-ridiculed-106133 <p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="169" scrolling="no" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/MvUdyNko8LQ?rel=0" width="300"></iframe></span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>&#39;ANYONE WOULD FIND THEMSELVES ON THE SIDE OF ... THESE POOR YOUNG MEN, WHO WERE VERY GOOD AT TAKING TESTS AND PLAYING SPORTS WHEN THEY WERE NOT RAPING ...&#39;</strong> <em>Gawker</em> ridicules&nbsp;<a href="http://gawker.com/5991003/cnn-reports-on-the-promising-future-of-the-steubenville-rapists-who-are-very-good-students" target="_blank">CNN&#39;s coverage of the Steubenville, Ohio, trial of &quot;star football players.&quot;</a><br />*<em> The Atlantic: </em>&quot;<a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/03/cnns-not-only-one-peddling-sympathy-steubenville-rapists/63204/" target="_blank">CNN&#39;s not the only one peddling sympathy</a>&quot; for rapists.<br />* HyperVocal.com: <a href="http://hypervocal.com/news/2013/cnn-rape-apology-onion-sportsdome/" target="_blank"><em>Onion&nbsp;</em>parody perfectly anticipated CNN&#39;s coverage -- two years ago</a>.<br />* Former porn star Traci Lords says she and her mother were <a href="http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/world/porn-star-raped-in-stupidville/story-fnd134gw-1226598635684" target="_blank">also raped in Steubenville</a>.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>SPEAKING OF OHIO ...</strong>&nbsp;Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has reversed his opposition to gay marriage after his own son came out; but Speaker John Boehner, also from Ohio, says he <a href="http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/boehner-i-cant-imagine-ever-supporting-gay-marriage" target="_blank">&quot;can&#39;t imagine&quot; ever changing his position</a>.<br />* Satire from Andy Borowitz: Other Republicans inspired &quot;<a href="http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2013/03/portman-inspires-other-republicans-to-stop-speaking-to-their-children.html" target="_blank">to stop speaking to their children</a>.&quot;<br />* U. of C. law school prof: &quot;Those who think that the marriage of same-sex couples is incompatible with their religious beliefs ... <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/geoffrey-r-stone/same-sex-marriage-in-illi_b_2883601.html?utm_hp_ref=chicago&amp;ir=Chicago" target="_blank">cannot legitimately or with a proper respect for the American system of law and justice attempt to impose those beliefs on those who disagree</a>.&quot;</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>CTA FARES CONFUSING? HERE&#39;S HELP.&nbsp;</strong>With even some board members seemingly bewildered by <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/automotive/ct-met-getting-around-0318-20130318,0,3127194.column" target="_blank">the plan they approved last week</a>, the <em>Tribune</em> serves up <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/media/acrobat/2013-03/74876853-17200729.pdf" target="_blank">a chart translating&nbsp;<em>how you pay now</em> to <em>how you&#39;ll pay under the incoming Ventra system</em></a>.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>THE STORY OBAMA, REPUBLICANS &#39;DON&#39;T DARE TALK ABOUT.&#39;</strong> In another time, another political climate, you might expect President Obama or his opposition to brag about the Dow&#39;s stratospheric rise. But&nbsp;writing for <em>Mediaite</em>, Joe Concha&nbsp;says <a href="http://www.mediaite.com/online/stock-market-soars-to-new-heights-the-big-story-the-president-gop-don%E2%80%99t-dare-talk-about/" target="_blank">both sides are quiet</a>: Obama, to avoid compromising his rep as &quot;champion for Main Street&quot;; Republicans, to avoid suggesting &quot;any good economic news ... going into the midterm election season.&quot;<br />* Sarah Palin makes fun of Obama&#39;s teleprompter reliance ...&nbsp;<a href="http://wonkette.com/506795/wonkette-infiltrates-cpac-as-sarah-palin-reads-joke-about-obamas-teleprompter-from-teleprompter" target="_blank">while reading from a teleprompter</a>.<br />* ABC contributor Matthew Dowd says Palin and the rest of the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/03/matthew-dowd-cpac-reminds-me-of-going-to-the-land-before-time/" target="_blank">reminded him of &quot;a &#39;Flintstones&#39; episode.&quot;</a></span></p><hr /><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 18px;"><em><span style="color: rgb(165, 42, 42);">Looking for Friday&#39;s WBEZ Meyerson News Quiz?&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/news-quiz" target="_blank">Here you go</a>.</em></span></span></p><hr /><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>&#39;EARTH HOUR TEACHES ALL THE WRONG LESSONS.&#39;</strong> An adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School says this Saturday&#39;s environmental awareness-raising festivities will in fact <a href="http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/earth-hour-s-counterproductive-symbolism-by-bj-rn-lomborg" target="_blank">increase the world&#39;s carbon dioxide emissions</a>.<br />* Following undercover video showing cows struggling to stand as they were prodded to slaughter by forklifts, new legislation in states across the country seeks to <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/bills-seek-end-farm-animal-abuse-videos" target="_blank">end farm-animal abuse ... (wait for it) ... <em>videos</em></a>.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><a href="http://readwrite.com/2013/03/17/how-saving-veronica-mars-could-destroy-the-movie-industry" target="_blank"><img alt="'Veronica Mars'" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/VeronicaMars.jpg" style="float: right; height: 150px; width: 150px;" title="'Veronica Mars'" /></a><strong>&#39;HOW I SAVED VERONICA MARS AND DESTROYED THE MOVIE INDUSTRY.&#39;</strong> Reflecting on the Kickstarter campaign that seems set to <a href="http://readwrite.com/2013/03/17/how-saving-veronica-mars-could-destroy-the-movie-industry" target="_blank">revive the TV show starring <strong>Kristen Bell</strong></a>, Brian S Hall&nbsp;says he did it with &quot;technology I carry around with with me everyday.&quot;<br />* Is New York-based startup <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/business/media/barry-dillers-aereo-service-challenges-cable-television.html?_r=0" target="_blank">a cable TV killer</a>?</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>QUESTIONS MOST OFTEN ANSWERED WRONG IN <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-03/habemus-news-quiz-x-106101" target="_blank">FRIDAY&#39;S NEWS QUIZ</a>.</strong></span></p><blockquote><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><em>A national survey finds that, over the last 40 years, in all regions of the country, the percentage of U.S. homes with guns is _____ (up, down, unchanged).</em></span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><em>Which of these events now holds the record for most tweets per minute? (Pope Francis&#39; 2013 election,&nbsp;Barack Obama&#39;s 2012 reelection,&nbsp;Barack Obama&#39;s 2008 election,&nbsp;The Britney-Madonna kiss at the VMAs.)</em></span></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;">Now it&#39;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-03/habemus-news-quiz-x-106101" target="_blank">your turn to avenge those who guessed incorrectly</a>.</span></p><hr /><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><em><strong>ANNOUNCEMENTS.</strong></em><br /><em>* Suggestions for this blog?&nbsp;<a href="mailto:cmeyerson@wbez.org?subject=Things%20and%20stuff">Email anytime</a>.<br />* Get this blog by email, free. <a href="http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=feedburner/AELk&amp;amp;loc=en_US" target="_blank">Sign up here</a>.</em><br /><em>* Follow us on Twitter:&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/wbez" target="_blank">@WBEZ</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/meyerson" target="_blank">@Meyerson</a>.</em></span></p></p> Mon, 18 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-03/cnns-ohio-rape-trial-coverage-ridiculed-106133 'City That Never Sleeps' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-02/city-never-sleeps-105574 <p><p>Academy Awards this Sunday! While we&rsquo;re in the movie mood, let&rsquo;s talk about a minor bit of Chicago <em>film-noir</em> called <em>City That Never Sleeps.&nbsp;</em></p><p>This 1953 movie opens with a tracking shot of the&nbsp;Chicago skyline at dusk. Then comes an echoing voice, seemingly from heaven: &ldquo;I am the city. Hub and Heart of America. Melting pot of every race, creed, color, and religion in humanity . . . .&rdquo; And so on.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2-22-City.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 411px; float: left;" title="Hollywood looks at Chicago, 1953 (author's collection)" />This is the Voice of Chicago, courtesy of veteran actor Chill Wills. So the film begins with a major mystery&ndash;why did the producers hire someone with such an unmistakable Texas accent?&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Now we are introduced to the characters in the drama. Johnny Kelly (Gig Young) is an unhappy cop who wants to quit the force and dump his wife. He talks about running off to California with Angel Face (Mala Powers). She came to Chicago intending to be a ballerina, and wound up as a stripper.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">That&#39;s the recurring theme&ndash;everybody wants to be something else. A performance artist known as The Mechanical Man (Wally Cassell) wanted to be an actor. A thug (William Talman) wanted to be a magician. The thug&rsquo;s lady love (Marie Windsor) has achieved her ambition of becoming a trophy wife, but now is tired of the job.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">There is also Biddel (Edward Arnold), a corrupt lawyer. He&rsquo;s the only one who seems satisfied with his career path. But if the character Biddel is satisfied, I suspect that the real-life actor Edward Arnold wasn&rsquo;t. He was probably wishing he was back in Frank Capra&rsquo;s movies, where he got to play <em><u>big-time</u></em> corrupt characters.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><p><em>CTNS</em>&nbsp;takes place during a single night in Chicago, the last night on duty for Officer Kelly before he resigns. But Kelly&rsquo;s partner is sick and has been replaced by a cop known as Sergeant Joe. And once Sergeant Joe opens his mouth, you realize it&rsquo;s our Voice of Chicago, Texas Chill Wills. Now the movie does seem like Capra, namely <em>It&rsquo;s a Wonderful Life</em>.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2-22-02.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 262px; float: right;" title="The Mechanical Man (author's collection)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The night moves on. The police radio crackles with the crimes of the city. Man beating a woman at 103rd and Avenue J . . . Supermarket burglary on Addison Street . . . Disturbance at Elston and Montrose . . . Mugging on Hyde Park Boulevard. . .&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Yet if you examine the scenery closely, you&rsquo;ll notice that most of the movie wasn&rsquo;t shot on location. It&rsquo;s actually soundstage, back lot, or the streets of L.A.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The running time is 90 minutes. The first hour or so is pretty slow. As the plot gradually unfolds, the major characters are thrown together.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The action picks up in the final 20 minutes. This part was clearly filmed in Chicago&ndash;hey, there&rsquo;s the Wrigley Building, all lit up! The grand climax is a foot chase in the dark along the &lsquo;L&rsquo; tracks.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Then the plot conflicts are resolved. Sun rises over the city. The Voice of Chicago returns to dispense final wisdom.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>CTNS</em> was made on a low budget by Republic Studios. It was never considered a classic. But Martin Scorcese has said the film is one of his favorites, and it has been enjoying a revival in popularity.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">You make your own call. Only don&rsquo;t complain to me about the Voice of Chicago.&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 22 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-02/city-never-sleeps-105574 What is Cry Crack? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/what-cry-crack-104643 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/6141900889_3e4dd93057.jpg" style="float: right; height: 167px; width: 250px;" title="Flickr/Sk8ngDad" /><span id="internal-source-marker_0.013920937558516866" style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">Yesterday for New Year&rsquo;s Day we went to visit some friends who have boys ages 2 and 7, which made me strangely sad for the future days when my little baby starts growing up and running around. With that melancholy in mind, I later coaxed the baby into sleeping on my chest as I pursued the great New Year&rsquo;s Day Channel Surf that everyone who partied too hard New Year&rsquo;s Eve enjoys. </span></div><p><br /><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">During the Great Surf, everything is fair game. Which is how I ended up on a couple of minutes of </span><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:italic;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">Beaches</span><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">, which is one of those girly movies that is designed specifically to make women cry. What I didn&rsquo;t remember about it was that in the scenes where (spoiler alert) the lady-who-tragically-dies is pregnant, Bette Midler sings &ldquo;Baby Mine,&rdquo; which is like an Easter egg of sadness, as &ldquo;Baby Mine&rdquo; is a sad song from the saddest movie scene in history. Do you know &ldquo;Baby Mine&rdquo;? Here it is. To set it up, little baby elephant Dumbo was roughed up by some bullies, and his mother stepped in to protect him, but she was rewarded by being locked up as a &ldquo;Mad Elephant,&rdquo; so now little baby Dumbo is without his mommy, but he&rsquo;s able to visit her in her elephant jail, where she rocks him to this song:</span><br />&nbsp;</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/CORf1liT9cE?rel=0" width="420"></iframe></p><p><br /><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I&rsquo;m not kidding that I am crying right now as I type this even though I already cried earlier today looking up this song. This song used to make me cry before I was old enough, I think, to even drive, let alone be a mother, but now, forget it. I also looked up the lyrics (&ldquo;Rest your head close to my heart/Never to part, baby of mine&rdquo; </span><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">&mdash;</span><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;"> that&rsquo;s JUST LIKE ME AND MY BABY) and realized that the lyrics are not just about a mother loving her child but also about a mother protecting her baby from bullies. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">How is it legal that Disney could ever share something so sad with the whole world? A baby who is kept away from his mom because she protected him? Even the mouse in the movie is crying.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">My husband just came by the kitchen to laugh at me as I cried some more, and he called this song/scene &ldquo;mom kryptonite,&rdquo; but you don&rsquo;t have to be a mom to find this scene sad (as evidenced by my husband&#39;s convenient refusal to watch it.) I think it&rsquo;s just &ldquo;cry crack,&rdquo; something cruelly guaranteed to make watchers cry or to make anybody who really wants to cry, cry. </span></p></p> Wed, 02 Jan 2013 08:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/what-cry-crack-104643 Not feeling Christmas Eve? How about a movie? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-12/not-feeling-christmas-eve-how-about-movie-104554 <p><p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/316897006_37b5d65e14_z.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Deck the halls at the Movies (flickr/emdot)" /></div><p>Christmas celebrations are already in full swing at homes in and around Chicago. But not everybody marks the holiday. If you&rsquo;re Jewish or Muslim or just prefer to skip it &ndash; there is another, time-honored way to enjoy the night before Christmas: head out to see a movie.</p><p>The two big, brand new releases are &quot;Les Misérables,&quot; the film version of Victor Hugo&#39;s epic historic novel (which has undergone epic adaptations, for film, television and most famously Broadway), and &quot;Django Unchained,&quot; the latest ultra-violence from Quentin Tarantino.</p><p>Christmas-time viewing is also a good opportunity to catch up any of the big films that might end up in the &quot;best picture&quot; category at the Academy Awards (<a href="http://www.awardscircuit.com/2012/09/18/academy-sets-dates-for-85th-oscars-nominations-to-be-announced-january-10th/">which will be announced January 10th</a>). &nbsp;</p><p>Adam Kempenaar co-hosts WBEZ&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.filmspotting.net/"><em>Filmspotting</em></a>. He called Stephen Spielberg&#39;s<em> &quot;</em>Lincoln<em>&quot; </em>&quot;essential viewing, especially for the performance of Daniel Day Lewis.&quot; But he also recommends &quot;Skyfall<em>.&quot; </em></p><p><em>&quot;</em>I&rsquo;m not a big Bond guy,&quot; Kempenaar said. &quot;But that was one of my favorite Bond films, well, frankly ever.&quot;<br /><br />Just don&rsquo;t expect to see Kempenaar in the seat next to you. When I asked if he ever goes to the movies at Christmas he laughed and exclaimed &quot;Never!&quot; For Kempnaar the Christmas holiday is &quot;not about watching movies, it&rsquo;s about finally taking a break.&quot;</p><p>Happy holidays to you, wherever you end up this year!<br /><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 24 Dec 2012 15:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-12/not-feeling-christmas-eve-how-about-movie-104554 Movie goers lack options on Chicago's South Side http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-10/south-side-movie-theater-chatham-14-expected-re-open-friday-103360 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chatham.jpeg" style="height: 533px; width: 400px; float: left; " title="Will Chatham 14 be open this Friday? (flickr/Zol87)" />When I wanted to see <a href="http://www.nightcatchesus.com/"><em>Night Catches Us</em></a>, an independent black film released in 2011, there was only one theater in Chicago where it got a regular run: The ICE Chatham 14 on 87th Street.</p><p>But for movie-goers on Chicago&#39;s South Side, the Chatham is one of only a few options for seeing <em>any </em>film.</p><p>So you can imagine how people felt when they showed up Friday night and found a dark, shuttered theater.</p><p>The Cook County Sheriff&rsquo;s office issued an eviction notice, which was on the door of the theater, along with another sign saying the theater was &quot;temporarily closed&quot; and would re-open soon &quot;under new management.&quot;&nbsp;The Sheriff&rsquo;s office and the Cook County Circuit Clerk&rsquo;s office had no forthcoming information.</p><p>Now the theater may be re-opening. In an e-mail, owner Alisa Starks (who along with her husband Donzell opened the theater in 1997) said, &quot;It&#39;s been a challenging process. But the theater is expected to be open by Friday.&quot; Starks also said a new company will manage it.</p><p>The rift that apparently caused the original closure, a conflict between the Starks and their investor, Michael Silver, seems to have been smoothed over, at least temporarily. Starks told me, &quot;Most positively, our investor has recently committed to making needed capital improvements.&quot;</p><p>What led to the shuttering of the Chatham had been hard to sort out. In the immediate aftermath of the closing, there were various reports,&nbsp;starting with <a href="http://thesixthward.blogspot.com/2012/10/ice-theaters-evicted-from-chatham.html">this community blog</a>. A <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/15854898-418/ice-chatham-14-theater-abruptly-shuts-its-door.html">Chicago Sun-Times</a> article claimed the Starks have a history of not paying city amusement taxes and had been to court with movie distributors. And CBS2 quoted sources saying things went sour between the Starks and Silver.</p><p>The Starks own outright their Lawndale 10 theater on Roosevelt Road and a shuttered property at 62nd and Western. At Chatham both Starks and Silver have discussed plans for digital convergence and other improvements, but those can&#39;t proceed without some sort of resolution between the partners.</p><p>There are only a few other theaters on the South Side, including the AMC Ford City 14 and the Chicago Ridge 6 to the west of Chatham, as well as the Showplace Icon in the South Loop. At the University of Chicago there&#39;s the student-run Doc Films. And when the Harper Court and 53rd Street redevelopment is complete, Hyde Park will once again have a commercial movie theater.</p><p>But the Chatham is special in other ways. When Alisa and Donzell Starks opened it in 1997, they say they were launching the first African-American owned theater chain in the United States.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-21/minority-owned-theater-chain-ice-re-opens-location-lawndale-85490">I spoke with the Starks in 2011</a>, as they were about to re-open their ICE Lawndale movie theater. They underscored the significance of being a minority-owned theater serving a largely minority community, and providing people with easy access to mainstream movies, as well as films they might otherwise not see.</p><p>At Chatham they&nbsp;screened the latest Hollywood movies. But they also made a place for independent cinema, and for community events: hosting non-film conversations, and screening the presidential debates for free.</p><p>The Starks say they also wanted to provide locals with jobs and help with the area&#39;s overall economic development. In short, the Chatham was meant to be a place not just to see movies but also a place for community building.</p><p>Meanwhile, the community has mobilized. A number of Facebook campaigns were put together by Occupy Black Chicago and Occupy Black Media, local activists mobilizing around economic issues in minority communities.&nbsp;They see the closing of Chatham 14 in the context of a broader economic decline in parts of the city and a lack of access to community and cultural resources, particularly on the South Side.</p><p>Alisa Starks also said ICE is &quot;still contemplating&quot; a press release and statement, likely shortly after the theater re-opens this Friday.</p></p> Wed, 24 Oct 2012 11:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-10/south-side-movie-theater-chatham-14-expected-re-open-friday-103360