February 22, 2020

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Other Space “Finale” Review | Off the Beaten Path

After a truncated first contact and with the clock ticking before the wormhole opens, Stewart must make a choice whether to stay with the alien they barely met or go back to Earth with his crew, and deal with the entailing consequences.

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Other Space “First Contact” Review | Off the Beaten Path

While Stewart and A.R.T. fight a potential drug addiction to make contact with an alien in his dreams, Karen ends up in HR Arbitration against Michael.

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Other Space “Powerless” Review | Off the Beaten Path

After a lightning strike disables the ship, the crew must figure out how to survive in the dark without using any power.

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Other Space “Trouble’s Brewing” Review | Off the Beaten Path

While Michael and Tina are stuck on the surface of the new planet, Karen and Stewart have to deal with a robot uprising.

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Other Space “Ted Talks” Review | Off the Beaten Path

After Tina, the only crew member who can retrieve the ship’s fuel from the new planet, is dumped by a delayed message from Ted, the rest of the crew throws a girl’s night to restore her spirits before the fuel is inaccessible.

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Other Space “The Death of A.R.T.” Review | Off the Beaten Path

Our intrepid crew, completely lost and utterly bored, deal with a surprise casualty while performing some maintenance.

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Other Space “Getting To Know You” Review | Off the Beaten Path

The crew, on the brink of existential despair and with an alien among them, play a game of mafia that quickly turns serious. Shenanigans ensue.

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Other Space “Into the Great Beyond…Beyond” Review | Off the Beaten Path

In the pilot episode of “Other Space” our intrepid yet incompetent crew gets irreversibly lost.

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Off the Beaten Path | “Other Space”

For this series on “Off the Beaten Path”, we’ll go out of this world with the best show on the short lived Yahoo! Screen streaming service.

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Off the Beaten Path | Final Thoughts and Impressions of “Utopia”

I give my final thoughts on “Utopia”, ranging from what was consistently strong to weak points that could easily be fixed.

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Utopia “Episode 2.6” Review | Off the Beaten Path

Here in the series finale of “Utopia”, our protagonists and the Network must team up to avert a global pandemic.

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Utopia “Episode 2.5” Review | Off the Beaten Path

In the second to last episode of “Utopia”, we get a number of emotional reunions, and lessons in the dangers of playing God.

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Utopia “Episode 2.4” Review | Off the Beaten Path

Sometimes even the best shows have missteps, and “Utopia” is no exception. So, just how wild is this misstep?

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Utopia “Episode 2.3” Review | Off the Beaten Path

At the halfway point of season two, “Episode 2.3” does a surprising amount to both fix what came before while setting up what’s to come.

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Utopia “Episode 2.2” Review | Off the Beaten Path

After a brief detour to the Cold War origins of the Network, we return to the present day.

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High Fidelity John Cusask and Jack Black Record Shop

Tour Every Chicago Film Location from High Fidelity (2000) in a Day

Have you ever wanted to tour every film location from High Fidelity (2000) in Chicago? Well, here’s your guide.

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Utopia “Episode 2.1” Review | Off the Beaten Path

For the season two premier of “Utopia” we look back at the birth of the Network, with the destructive relationship at the epicenter.

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Chicago Film Scene Becomes a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit to Support Local Chicago Film Productions

By becoming a 501(c)(3) non-profit, we will facilitate the creation of Hollywood-caliber productions with Chicago cast and crew through charitable donations.

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Utopia “Episode 1.6” Review | Off the Beaten Path

Man, it feels like I just started watching “Utopia” and now we’re at “Episode 1.6” aka the season finale. The question then is, does this finale stack up?

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Utopia “Episode 1.5” Review | Off the Beaten Path

The curtain has been pulled back in “Episode 1.5” revealing not only the reason for the conspiracy but also surprising connections between various members of the cast.

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Utopia “Episode 1.4” Review | Off the Beaten Path

After three breakneck episodes, it’s time we settle down with the “Utopia” equivalent of a horse tranquilizer. The question is, is this trip good or bad?

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Utopia “Episode 1.3” Review | Off the Beaten Path

Prepare yourselves. “Episode 1.3” is easily one of the most brutal, if not thee most brutal episode of television I’ve ever seen. Read why inside.

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Utopia “Episode 1.2” Review | Off the Beaten Path

With “Episode 1.2”, we are formally introduced to Jessica Hyde, the sociopathic hero that helps lift the veil on the conspiracy. There’s other stuff too.

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Utopia “Episode 1.1” Review | Off the Beaten Path

With “Episode 1.1”, we are extended an invitation to fall down a rabbit hole of brutality and ruined lives.

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Off the Beaten Path | “Utopia”

For the third show on “Off the Beaten Path”, we have “Utopia”, a British conspiracy thriller from the network that brought you “Black Mirror”.

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Ginger Poster

Ginger, A Young Adult’s Guide to Breast Cancer, Gives Back

Ginger, a film inspired by Melissa’s first diagnosis with Stage I breast cancer, was recently acquired by Cow Lamp Films in hopes that her pretty funny, slightly sad, powerfully emotional guide to breast cancer can make a bigger impact on young survivors.

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Off the Beaten Path | Final Thoughts and Impressions of “Danger 5”

My final thoughts and impressions of “Danger 5” before moving onto new things with “Off the Beaten Path”.

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Danger 5 “Welcome to Hitlerland” Review | Off the Beaten Path

Here we are, at the series finale of “Danger 5”. The question is, does it serve as a fitting conclusion?

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Danger 5 “Back to the Fuhrer” Review | Off the Beaten Path

In the penultimate episode of “Danger 5”, we revisit the world of season one. From there we not only get some wacky character interactions, but we see how far the characters have come.

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Danger 5 “Super Dead” Review | Off the Beaten Path

Against the backdrop of a Nazi zombie apocalypse in the theme park that is U.S.S.R-Land, we get a surprisingly rich portrait of character development, concluding story lines, and finale buildup.

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Danger 5 “Un Sacco Di Natale” Review | Off the Beaten Path

Oh man, “Un Sacco Di Natale” is starting to remind me why I didn’t tend to rewatch these episodes of season 2. Read more about why inside.

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Poolhall Junkies

Chris Corso, Co-Writer of Poolhall Junkies (2002) Writes Memoir, Plays Pool in Chicago

He grew up playing pool in Chicago, but his life changed during one game of pool at the Hollywood Athletic Club. He was facing some guy named Mars…

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Danger 5 “Revenge of the Lizard Men” Review | Off the Beaten Path

With “Revenge of the Lizard Men” we get both a quasi-sequel to “Lizard Soldiers of the Third Reich” and a shot of adrenaline to the season 2 story arc. The question is, can the show juggle everything successfully?

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Danger 5 “Johnny Hitler” Review | Off the Beaten Path

With “Johnny Hitler”, both the team and the villains infiltrate a high school, creating the most mundane yet most surreal episode yet.

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Danger 5 “Merry Christmas Colonel” Review | Off the Beaten Path

With “Merry Christmas Colonel”, we leave behind the pulpy 60’s for the flashy and excessive 80’s. The question is, is the transition successful?

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Open Tables Poster

Midwest Film Distributor Acquires Second City’s Jack C. Newell’s Food-Focused Films

Cow Lamp Films signs two of Notable Chicago Writer and Director and Program Director of The Harold Ramis Film School at The Second City, Jack Newell’s romantic comedies.

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Danger 5 “Final Victory” Review | Off the Beaten Path

For the season one finale of “Danger 5”, we get an episode that’s good with setup and closure, but not as much with the individual elements.

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Thieves Quartet

Joe Chappelle’s Debut Film “Thieves Quartet” Premieres on Tubi this November

Notable Chicago Director and Producer Joe Chappelle’s debut film, Thieves Quartet, streams for the first time since its limited national theatrical release 25 years ago.

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Animator

Emmy Award-Winning Writer Roberta Jones Launches ‘Animator’ (2018) on Tubi TV

Emmy Award-winning writer Roberta Jones launches her latest feature length movie, Animator, with a special release event on global streaming service Tubi TV. The LAIFF Los Angeles Independent ‘Best All-Genre’ feature film was directed by Logan Hall alongside Animation Director Julian Jones.

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Danger 5 “Fresh Meat for Hitler’s Sex Kitchen” Review | Off the Beaten Path

If you like strong character based humor, a wild premise, and some true bombshells, you’ll love this episode.

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Mezcla Media Collective Launches in Chicago

Mezcla Media Collective was founded in November 2017, and serves as a hub for 350+ women and non-binary independent filmmakers of color in Chicago. Its mission is to advance the careers, enhance the skills, and build camaraderie among its members.  

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Danger 5 “Hitler’s Golden Murder Palace” Review | Off the Beaten Path

After the unfortunate implications of “Kill-Men of the Rising Sun”, “Danger 5” pulls itself back up with the character rich “Hitler’s Golden Murder Palace”.

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Danger 5 “Kill-Men of the Rising Sun” Review | Off the Beaten Path

For this “Danger 5” review, we get an episode that’s more of a sensible chuckle than a laugh riot.

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Danger 5 “Lizard Soldiers of the Third Reich” Review | Off the Beaten Path

If you aren’t interested in watching a group of bumbling spies fight a bunch of fascist dinosaurs with guns, I don’t know, you might be dead inside.

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Danger 5 “I Danced for Hitler!” Review | Off the Beaten Path

For the first episode of “Danger 5”, we get the safe yet highly entertaining “I Danced for Hitler!”

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Off the Beaten Path | “Danger 5”

The next show I’ll cover on “Off the Beaten Path” is “Danger 5”, an Australian spoof of 60’s and 80’s pulp fiction set in WWII. It’s somehow even wackier than it sounds.

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Off the Beaten Path | Final Thoughts and Impressions of “Love, Death & Robots”

I recap my thoughts of the first season of “Love, Death & Robots”, predict what will happen in Seasons 2, and give a hint for the next show on “Off the Beaten Path”

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Love, Death & Robots “The Secret War” Review | Off the Beaten Path

For the last episode of “Love, Death & Robots” we get an episode that should have been a video game. Feel free to read why.

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Love, Death & Robots “Alternate Histories” Review | Off the Beaten Path

With the penultimate episode of “Love, Death & Robots” we get ask an age old question. What would happen if Hitler died before his rise to power? The answer is funnier than you think.

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Love, Death & Robots “Ice Age” Review | Off the Beaten Path

After a number of intense episodes full of frenetic action and philosophical musings, “Ice Age” takes us down the lazy river of film fun.

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Love, Death & Robots “Blindspot” Review | Off the Beaten Path

After reaching the thematic heights of “Zima Blue” we have a fun ride involving a simple plan gone wrong in “Blind Spot”

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Love, Death & Robots “Zima Blue” Review | Off the Beaten Path

We look at the last of my original three favorite episodes of “Love, Death & Robots”. Now the question is, how well does it hold up?

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Love, Death & Robots “Lucky 13” Review | Off the Beaten Path

In this review, we look at an episode for all those who want an episode that aims for the space above the ground but below the bar.

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Love, Death & Robots “Fish Night” Review | Off the Beaten Path

For this review, I cover the episode that truly establishes what it means to be an “experience” story, with all the beauty and pitfalls contained.

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peter hawley

Peter Hawley, Director of the Illinois Film Office, Appears on Chicago Film Scene: Live!

We just wrapped another episode of Chicago Film Scene: Live! filmed at the Arrogant Frog Bar in Lincoln Park. This week we were honored to …

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Love, Death & Robots “Helping Hand” Review | Off the Beaten Path

For the first of what I like to call the “experience episodes”, we get “Helping Hand”, a gripping tale of survival in the face of existential despair.

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Love, Death & Robots “Shape-Shifters” Review | Off the Beaten Path

“Shape-Shifters” welcomes us to the back half of “LDR” with an entertaining and rewatchable episode that doesn’t push boundaries but doesn’t need to.

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Love, Death & Robots “The Dump” Review | Off the Beaten Path

Well the hot streak of episodes we were on had to end at some point, and unsurprisingly it ended with the one note episode “The Dump”.

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Love, Death & Robots “Good Hunting” Review | Off the Beaten Path

If you didn’t think anything could top “Beyond the Aquila Rift”, you’re in for the treat of a lifetime with the rich and nuanced “Good Hunting”

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Love, Death & Robots “Beyond the Aquila Rift” Review | Off the Beaten Path

To start off the second third of the season, we have one of, if not thee most famous episode to emerge from “Love, Death & Robots”

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Love, Death & Robots “When the Yogurt Took Over” Review | Off the Beaten Path

On episode six of “Love Death & Robots”, we reach our shortest, most out of left field, and funniest episode yet.

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Love, Death & Robots “Sucker of Souls” Review | Off the Beaten Path

Been craving some horror lately? Some good ol’ 2D animation? If so, man is this episode is for you!

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Love, Death & Robots “Suits” Review | Off the Beaten Path

After a much needed change of pace from the problematic “The Witness”, the space country “Suits” brings us the most unique and humanistic episode yet.

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Love, Death & Robots “The Witness” Review | Off the Beaten Path

Oh man, this one is a doozy. Not sure how else to put it in a slug line. Feel free to read why inside.

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Love, Death & Robots “Three Robots” Review | Off the Beaten Path

Now that we’ve been given the strong-handed introduction to “Love, Death & Robots” by “Sonnie’s Edge”, lets relax with the laid back comedy stylings of “Three Robots”

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Love, Death & Robots “Sonnie’s Edge” Review | Off the Beaten Path

My review of episode one, “Sonnie’s Edge”, our first introduction to the wild and sometimes bumpy ride of “Love, Death & Robots”.

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Off the Beaten Path: A TV Review Series

The start of either a beautifully written review series, or the confused ramblings of an amateur screenwriter, all by your fellow Chicago Film Scene member.

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kwame amoaku

Kwame Amoaku, Director of the Chicago Film Office Discusses the Chicago Film Industry in Interview

Kwame Amoaku is the Director of the Chicago Film Office. Here he discusses the Chicago film industry at the Arrogant Frog Bar live.

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