August 12, 2020

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My Thoughts: Logan Lucky

After watching Knives Out (2019) I decided to give Logan Lucky (2017), directed by Steven Soderbergh, a try as a result of a general discussion I was having with a friend about Daniel Craig’s accent-work. Here are a few things that I took note of during my enjoyable afternoon of viewing Logan Lucky: no matter how big or small, the film takes the time to focus on farcical and comedic situations, there is a an unbelievable ease to the pacing of the film and all in all, the movie stays true to the genre of “heist” films.

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Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and The Psychology of Rewatching – Part 2

We are choosing to watch things over and over again, the stories that we know the endings to, but still excite us.

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Wet Hot American Summer: Dumb, Fun, Smart, and Dumb

  Wet Hot American Summer (2001) written by Michael Showwalter and David Wain is a comedy that will bring you back to summer camp instantly. …

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Movie poster of How Do You Know

The Only Thing More Disappointing than Men…

How Do You Know is the most anti-feminist piece of blockbuster entertainment in the most recent decade.

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My Thoughts: Shazam!

Hello party people, So this week I decided to treat myself to a personally long-awaited superhero movie-watch, Shazam! (2019), directed by David F. Sandberg. Going …

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“Whatcha Eating?”: What I learned from Jûzô Itami’s ‘Tampopo’ (1985)

An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Jûzô Itami’s ‘Tampopo’ (1985).

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hunters-creed-movie

Justin Jackola Reaches Deal with Cinedigm to Distribute “Hunter’s Creed” Starring Dog the Bounty Hunter

Chicago-based filmmaker Justin Jackola, founder of Chicago-based production company JJack Productions has reached a deal with Cinedigm to distribute his feature film starring Duane “Dog” Chapman, known for his work on TV show Dog the Bounty Hunter. 

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Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and The Psychology of Rewatching – Part 1

As millions of people fled into their homes, we were suddenly forced to face our own minds, and for many, this meant facing the things we had been using our busy lives as an excuse to run away from.

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Are you working on Chicago’s next great short film? (First deadline on July 31st)

Eleven04’s First Backer Initiative is a massive support package aimed at empowering Chicago’s indie film community.

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“Jump for joy with Myrna Loy!”: What I learned from W.S. Van Dyke’s ‘The Thin Man’ (1934)

An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in W.S. Van Dyke’s ‘The Thin Man’ (1934).

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Strange & Unusual: What I learned from Tim Burton’s ‘Beetlejuice’ (1988)

An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Tim Burton’s ‘Beetlejuice’ (1988).

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My Thoughts: Knives Out

Knives Out (2019), written and directed by Rian Johnson is easily my favorite “Who Done It?” film since Scream. It pretty much has all you need, a southern P.I. with a smooth and deep voice, a cast of campy characters full of intentions that are anything but good, and a kind-eyed innocent, individual whose moral compass guides her to the treasure at the end of the map.

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Off the Beaten Path | Off the Air S1

For this installment of Off the Beaten Path, I review a cult favorite visual mixtape/the most out there show I’ve reviewed yet.

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Otherwise-wise: What I learned from Billy Wilder’s ‘The Apartment’ (1960)

An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Billy Wilder’s ‘The Apartment’ (1960).

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5 to 6:30: What I learned from Agnès Varda’s ‘Cleo from 5 to 7’ (1962)

An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Agnès Varda’s ‘Cleo from 5 to 7’ (1962).

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My Thoughts: Idiocracy

You ever see something that reminds you of a movie, and you can’t get that cinematic image out of your mind until you watch it? Yeah, me too. Idiocracy (2006), directed by Mike Judge, has been circling around my head like a dragonfly spiraling toward a lily pad on a hot summer afternoon.

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Commit to the Bit: What I learned from Peter Yates’ ‘Krull’ (1982)

An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Peter Yates’ ‘Krull’ (1982).

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“Because truth is the only thing we can afford”: What I learned from Chloé Zhao’s ‘Songs My Brothers Taught Me’ (2015)

An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Chloé Zhao’s ‘Songs My Brothers Taught Me’ (2015).

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The Crimes of COPS

COPS ran almost unchecked for 30 years. Its sudden fall was cause for celebration for some, while others disdained it’s cancellation.

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Chasing Him: What I learned from Satoshi Kon’s ‘Millennium Actress’ (2001)

An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Satoshi Kon’s ‘Millennium Actress’ (2001).

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My Thoughts: Ready or Not

This week I’m breaking down the film Ready or Not, a black comedy thriller that was released in 2019, directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olphin and Tyler Gillett.

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It’ll Put You in Deep Shock: What I learned from Dario Argento’s ‘Deep Red’ (1975)

An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Dario Argento’s ‘Deep Red’ (1975).

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Off the Beaten Path | FLCL

For this installment of Off the Beaten Path, I look at one of the weirdest bits of animation I’ve seen. Plus, there are a lot of robot fights and dick jokes.

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Story Forge has its winner: Christian Mejía

Eleven04’s first-ever live streaming event, featuring five Chicago filmmakers pitching their scripts alongside live table reads, has announced its winner after an online community vote.

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“It’ll all be over in a minute”: What I Learned from Gregory La Cava’s ‘My Man Godfrey’ (1936)

An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Gregory La Cava’s ‘My Man Godfrey’ (1936).

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Vanilla Sex: What I Learned from Cheryl Dunye’s ‘The Watermelon Woman’ (1996)

An (hopefully) educational and (hopefully) engaging look at some of the filmmaking lessons to be found in Cheryl Dunye’s ‘The Watermelon Woman’ (1996).

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My Thoughts: The Purge

My thoughts on The Purge (2013), discussing the deeper implications and questions that this dystopian narrative has to offer.

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Microaggressions

While the argument can be made that awards don’t matter, the hinderance and inability of the industry to celebrate black artists does.

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Racism in Required Viewing

The Birth of a Nation was required viewing within the first month of my film foundations class in 2016. I was encouraged to “look past” …

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Off the Beaten Path | Crashing

For this installment of “Off the Beaten Path”, I review “Crashing”, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s other TV show from 2016.

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story-forge

Story Forge Brings Chicago’s Film Community Together Online

Eleven04’s first-ever live streaming event, featuring five Chicago filmmakers pitching their scripts alongside live table reads, surpassed expectations and brought new energy to the local film community.

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Are You White? Watch This.

If you are white and you want to learn how to be an ally, film is a great way to begin that journey. Start here! Start now. Start with one of the best films ever created.

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Off the Beaten Path | Spicy City

For the first of my season reviews on “Off the Beaten Path”, I review the Ralpha Bakshi animated anthology “Spicy City”, a show forgotten by everyone including it’s home network.

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The Comfort of Documentary Film during Quarantine

It’s hard to say whether a sequence of elderly dancers joyfully participating in a regular class would have brought the same emotion if life as …

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Chicago Film Then-and-Now: THE FURY (1978)

Brian De Palma’s Carrie (1976) stands as quite possibly his most well-known and best received film from an outstanding, if underrated career. However, he returned …

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Chicago Film Then-and-Now: MEDIUM COOL (1969)

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes” This quote, usually attributed to Mark Twain, has existed throughout time, giving us a way to process …

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The Ωmega Man (1971)

Top 12 Pandemic-Themed Movies to Watch on Quarantine

Since we’re all stuck inside for the foreseeable future, here are a few of the best pandemic-themed movies around. This list is based on IMDb ratings alone – so if you don’t like it, you can blame the general public.

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What Cinema Can Be: Part II | Streaming Risks

In the previous article, we took a look at what cinema could offer in terms of untraditional presentation. In that instance, it was galleries. But …

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Cabrini-Green “Candyman” Homes

I saw Candyman (1992) for the first time at the Logan Theater for a midnight screening not too long ago. As a horror genre lover …

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Off the Beaten Path | Other Space – Final Thoughts and Impressions

I give my final thoughts and impressions on “Other Space”. The question is, was this show cancelled too soon, and how does it stand compared to the other shows on “Off the Beaten Path”.

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What Cinema Can Be: Part I | The Superhero Conundrum

“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” – Martin Scorsese With everything that’s going on about the convoluted, contradictory, and …

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Off the Beaten Path | Other Space S1E8 – Finale

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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Off the Beaten Path | Other Space S1E7 – First Contact

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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Off the Beaten Path | Other Space S1E6 – Powerless

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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Off the Beaten Path | Other Space S1E5 – Trouble’s Brewing

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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Off the Beaten Path | Other Space S1E4 – Ted Talks

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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Off the Beaten Path | Other Space S1E3 – The Death of A.R.T.

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

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Off the Beaten Path | Other Space S1E2 – Getting To Know You

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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Off the Beaten Path | Other Space S1E1 – Into the Great Beyond…Beyond

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 | Utopia – Final Thoughts and Impressions

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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Off the Beaten Path | Utopia S2E6 – Episode 2.6

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

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Off the Beaten Path | Utopia S2E5 – Episode 2.5

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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Off the Beaten Path | Utopia S2E4 – Episode 2.4

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

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Off the Beaten Path | Utopia S2E3 – Episode 2.3

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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Off the Beaten Path | Utopia S2E2 – Episode 2.2

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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Off the Beaten Path | Utopia S2E1 – Episode 2.1

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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Off the Beaten Path | Utopia S1E6 – Episode 1.6

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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Off the Beaten Path | Utopia S1E5 – Episode 1.5

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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Off the Beaten Path | Utopia S1E4 – Episode 1.4

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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Off the Beaten Path | Utopia S1E3 – Episode 1.3

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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Off the Beaten Path | Utopia S1E2 – Episode 1.2

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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Off the Beaten Path | Utopia S1E1 – Episode 1.1

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 | Danger 5 – Final Thoughts and Impressions

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

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Off the Beaten Path | Danger 5 S2E7 – Welcome to Hitlerland

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

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Off the Beaten Path | Danger 5 S2E6 – Back to the Fuhrer

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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Off the Beaten Path | Danger 5 S2E5 – Super Dead

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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Off the Beaten Path | Danger 5 S2E4 – Un Sacco Di Natale

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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Off the Beaten Path | Danger 5 S2E3 – Revenge of the Lizard Men

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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Off the Beaten Path | Danger 5 S2E2 – Johnny Hitler

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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Off the Beaten Path | Danger 5 S2E1 – Merry Christmas Colonel

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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Off the Beaten Path | Danger 5 S1E6 – Final Victory

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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Off the Beaten Path | Danger 5 S1E5 – Fresh Meat for Hitler’s Sex Kitchen

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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Off the Beaten Path | Danger 5 S1E4 – Hitler’s Golden Murder Palace

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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Off the Beaten Path | Danger 5 S1E3 – Kill-Men of the Rising Sun

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

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Off the Beaten Path | Danger 5 S1E2 – Lizard Soldiers of the Third Reich

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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Off the Beaten Path | Danger 5 S1E1 – I Danced for Hitler!

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 | Love, Death & Robots S1 – Final Thoughts and Impressions

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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Off the Beaten Path | Love, Death & Robots S1E18 – The Secret War

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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Off the Beaten Path | Love, Death & Robots S1E17 – Alternate Histories

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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Off the Beaten Path | Love, Death & Robots S1E16 – Ice Age

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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Off the Beaten Path | Love, Death & Robots S1E15 – Blindspot

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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Off the Beaten Path | Love, Death & Robots S1E14 – Zima Blue

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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Off the Beaten Path | Love, Death & Robots S1E13 – Lucky 13

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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Off the Beaten Path | Love, Death & Robots S1E12 – Fish Night

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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Off the Beaten Path | Love, Death & Robots S1E11 – Helping Hand

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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Off the Beaten Path | Love, Death & Robots S1E10 – Shape-Shifters

“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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Off the Beaten Path | Love, Death & Robots S1E9 – The Dump

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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Off the Beaten Path | Love, Death & Robots S1E8 – Good Hunting

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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Off the Beaten Path | Love, Death & Robots S1E7 – Beyond the Aquila Rift

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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Off the Beaten Path | Love, Death & Robots S1E6 – When the Yogurt Took Over

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

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Off the Beaten Path | Love, Death & Robots S1E5 – Sucker of Souls

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

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Off the Beaten Path | Love, Death & Robots S1E4 – Suits

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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Off the Beaten Path | Love, Death & Robots S1E3 – The Witness

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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Off the Beaten Path | Love, Death & Robots S1E2 – Three Robots

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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Off the Beaten Path | Love, Death & Robots S1E1 – Sonnie’s Edge

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 | Love, Death & Robots S1

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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