Thursday, February 7, 2019

Screening of "The Major and The Minor February 9 at the Daystar Center

The Major and The Minor (1941)
Where: Daystar Center, 1550 S. State Street, Room 102
When: February 9, 2018
Time: 6:45 p.m
Hosted by Stephen Reginald


The Major and the Minor (1942) stars Ginger Rogers as Susan Applegate, a poor working girl who has given up on a career in New York City and decides to return home to Stevenson, Iowa. When she gets to the train station, she realizes she only has enough money to cover a child’s fare so she disguises herself as a twelve-year-old girl. A suspicious conductor catches her smoking so she hides out in the compartment of Major Philip Kirby (Ray Milland) who believes she is a child. He lets her stay with him until they reach his stop. Major Kirby teaches at a military academy and he brings "Su-Su" with him. As you might expect, Su-Su causes a sensation at the all-boys academy and causes all kinds of complications for Major Kirby and his fiancée Pamela (Rita Johnson). This was the first film directed by Billy Wilder. The film’s success helped pave the way for Wilder’s continued success as one of America’s most important writer-directors.

General Admission: $5, Students and Senior Citizens: $3

Ginger Rogers and the cadets

Have some Joe and Enjoy the Show!
Before the movie, grab a cup of coffee from Overflow Coffee Bar, located within the Daystar Center. You can bring food and beverages into room 102.
Join the Chicago Film club; join the discussion
Twice a month we screen classic films and have a brief discussion afterward. For more information, including how to join (it’s free), click here. The Venue 1550 is easily accessible by the CTA. Please visit Transit Chicago for more information on transportation options.


Stephen Reginald is a freelance writer and editor. He has worked at various positions within the publishing industry for over 25 years. Most recently he was executive editor for McGraw-Hill’s The Learning Group Division. A long-time amateur student of film, Reginald hosts “Chicago Film Club,” a monthly movie event held in the South Loop, for the past two years. Reginald has also taught several adult education film classes at Facets Film School, Chicago.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Book Review: “The Wizard of OZ FAQ: All That’s Left To Know About Life According To Oz”

Just when you thought you knew everything there was to know about The Wizard of Oz, here’s a book to inform you how little you actually do know about the classic film.

Released during 1939, that magical year that produced so many classic films—think Gone With The Wind, Stagecoach, NinotchkaThe Wizard of Oz endeared itself to a bunch of boomer children who watched in annually on TV for decades. With the advent of video (both VHS and DVD), the film lives on with each new generation.


The filming of this classic was a complicated process. Film techniques were invented, music was composed, and extravagant sets and unique costumes had to be produced to bring the magic of L. Frank Baum’s original Oz novels to life. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer saw the success of Walt Disney’s Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs and concluded that they could produce a live-action fantasy hit.

Casting the pivotal role of Dorothy was difficult for the studio. They were looking for a proven box office star. For a fleeting moment, Shirley Temple was considered, but her vocal range was limited and the producers didn’t think she was right for the part. Deanna Durbin, once an M-G-M contract player was now a top star at Universal. She had proven box office appeal and had a classically trained voice that could handle any song the composers could come up with. But bringing in a star outside of the studio would cost them more money and the production costs for The Wizard of Oz were quickly racking up.

Judy Garland was under contract at M-G-M. She was primarily used for specialty numbers in some A productions, as well as being loaned out to other studios to appear in B movies. Even though she was hired for her “swing-style” of singing, M-G-M didn’t seem to know what to do with her. The studio finally agreed to give Garland the coveted role of Dorothy and the rest is movie history.

Going away party for director Victor Fleming who was going to work on
Gone With The Wind

The Wizard of Oz is credited (on screen) to director Victor Fleming. He was responsible for directing the bulk of the film, as well as its editing, but he was also working on Gone With The Wind for David O. Selznick. And because of Fleming’s grueling schedule the studio enlisted the talents of at least five other directors. George Cukor was responsible for Dorothy’s look. Originally Garland was costumed in a blonde wig and garish makeup. Cukor thought that this look was all-wrong for a girl from Kansas. He instructed the makeup department to tone it down and ditch the blond wig and go with Garland’s natural hair color. King Vidor directed most of the scenes in Kansas, including the scene where Garland sings “Over the Rainbow.” Vidor had a great musical sense and his filming of Garland singing while moving around the farm is truly inspired.

Lighting test for Judy Garland as Dorothy in a blonde wig, which director
George Cukor ditched
Author David J. Hogan writes in a smooth and readable style that really hooks you. The number of facts about the film that he brings into focus are really amazing. One thing that fascinated me was the fact that all the principle actors made more money that Garland who earned a weekly salary at M-G-M. Jack Hailey, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, and Margaret Hamilton were all freelance actors so they negotiated contracts that paid them generous weekly salaries. Even Toto (real name Terry) had a contract that paid him $125 a week, which was big money in 1939.

Director King Vidor filmed the famous "Over the Rainbow" scene.

If you grew up loving The Wizard of Oz or if you enjoy classic film and the studio era, this book is a must.



The Wizard of Oz FAQ
Trade Paper: 450 pages
Applause Theatre & Cinema Books (204)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-4803-5062-59
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
Price: $19.81

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

“Roma”: The most overhyped movie of 2018?

Roma written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) has received almost universal acclaim and is considered a front-runner for the Best Picture Academy Award this year. Set in 1970 and 1971 and filmed in black and white, it’s a semi-autobiographical telling of Cuaron’s life growing up in Mexico City. The film centers on the life of Cleo, a live-in housekeeper to a middle-class family.

Cleo works in the household of Sofia, her husband Antonio, a doctor, their four children, and Sofia’s mother Teresa. Cleo is beloved by the children in the household where the marriage between Sofia and Antonio is deteriorating.

During her time off, Cleo and her boyfriend Fermin rent a room instead of seeing a movie with fellow live-in maid Adela and her boyfriend. In their rented room, Fermin shows off his martial arts skills using a curtain rod (naked, which is totally gratuitous). It’s an odd scene, but a clue that all is not right with Fermin and this relationship.


What happens next is a series of (inevitable) events that make the film seem more like a documentary than a drama. There is no attempt at character development. Cleo, as a character is likeable enough, but we never really get to know her outside of her tasks as a maid and nanny.

Technically the film has also been heralded, especially the black and white cinematography. Why this is the case I’m not sure. Roma’s cinematography seems rather pedestrian and ordinary to me. Perhaps the folks praising the cinematography have never seen a decent black and white film before. Or maybe I’ve been corrupted by the dynamic black and white cinematography of the likes of James Wong Howe, Greg Toland, Joseph LaShelle, and Nicholas Musuraca—they’re all worth Googling if you’ve never heard of them.

But the film’s biggest crime, in my opinion, is that it’s boring. I forced myself to sit through the entire 135 minutes. I kept hoping that something would happen to reward my endurance, but I was disappointed.

Roma is the type of film that critics love, but that few people would pay money to see. The film distributed by Netflix had a brief release so it could qualify for the Oscars. It’s been available on Netflix for several months.


Screenplay by Alfonso Cuaron; Directed by Alfonso Cuaron; Produced by Alfonso Cuaron, Gabriela Rodriguez, Nicolas Celis for Participant Media and Esperanto Filmoj; Distributed by Netflix.

Yalitza Aparicio as Cleodegaria “Cleo” Gutiérrez, one of the family’s maids
Marina de Tavira as Sofia, the mother of the family
Fernando Grediaga as Antonio, Sofia’s absent husband
Jorge Antonio Guerrero as Fermín, Cleo’s lover
Marco Graf as Pepe
Daniela Demesa as Sofi
Diego Cortina Autrey as Toño
Carlos Peralta as Paco
Nancy García as Adela, Cleo’s friend and one of the family’s maids
Verónica García as Teresa, Sofia’s mother
José Manuel Guerrero Mendoza as Ramón, Adela’s lover
Latin Lover as Professor Zovek


Thursday, December 27, 2018

Screening of "Sorry, Wrong Number" January 19 at Daystar Center

Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)
Where: Daystar Center, 1550 S. State Street, Room 102
When: January 19, 2018
Time: 6:45 p.m
Hosted by Stephen Reginald

Sorry, Wrong Number (1948) is based on a popular radio play—one of the most popular radio plays of all time—that stars Barbara Stanwyck as Leona Stevenson, a spoiled, rich, bedridden woman who accidentally overhears a plot to murder an unidentified woman. In her attempt to report the incident to the police, Stanwyck begins to suspect that it is her husband (Burt Lancaster) who wants her murdered. The role of Leona was a tour-de-force for Stanwyck, earning her an Academy Award nomination—her fourth—for Best Actress.

General Admission: $5, Students and Senior Citizens: $3


Have some Joe and Enjoy the Show!
Before the movie, grab a cup of coffee from Overflow Coffee Bar, located within the Daystar Center. You can bring food and beverages into room 102.

Join the Chicago Film club; join the discussion
Twice a month we screen classic films and have a brief discussion afterward. For more information, including how to join (it’s free), click here. The Venue 1550 is easily accessible by the CTA. Please visit Transit Chicago for more information on transportation options.

Stephen Reginald is a freelance writer and editor. He has worked at various positions within the publishing industry for over 25 years. Most recently he was executive editor for McGraw-Hill’s The Learning Group Division. A long-time amateur student of film, Reginald hosts “Chicago Film Club,” a monthly movie event held in the South Loop, for the past two years. Reginald has also taught several adult education film classes at Facets Film School, Chicago.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Screening of "Penny Serenade" December 17 at Daystar Center

Penny Serenade (1941)
Where: Daystar Center, 1550 S. State Street, Room 102
When: December 17, 2018
Time: 6:45 p.m
Hosted by Stephen Reginald

Penny Serenade (1941) stars Irene Dunne and Cary Grant as a couple on the brink of divorce after a tragic event in their lives. While preparing to leave her husband, Julie Adams (Dunne) listens to some old records that take her back to the early days of her relationship with her husband Roger (Grant). Balancing laughter with tragedy, director George Stevens (A Place in the Sun, Giant, Shane) strikes all the right notes with this sentimental classic. The excellent supporting cast includes Beulah Bondi and Edgar Buchanan. Grant earned his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a truly moving performance.

P.S. Bring tissues!


General Admission: $5, Students and Senior Citizens: $3

Have some Joe and Enjoy the Show!
Before the movie, grab a cup of coffee from Overflow Coffee Bar, located within the Daystar Center. You can bring food and beverages into room 102.

Join the Chicago Film club; join the discussion
Twice a month we screen classic films and have a brief discussion afterward. For more information, including how to join (it’s free), click here. The Venue 1550 is easily accessible by the CTA. Please visit Transit Chicago for more information on transportation options.

Stephen Reginald is a freelance writer and editor. He has worked at various positions within the publishing industry for over 25 years. Most recently he was executive editor for McGraw-Hill’s The Learning Group Division. A long-time amateur student of film, Reginald hosts “Chicago Film Club,” a monthly movie event held in the South Loop, for the past two years. Reginald has also taught several adult education film classes at Facets Film School, Chicago.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

“American Street Kid” debuts in Chicago December 11

In American Street Kid, filmmaker Michael Leoni takes you on a journey into a world that most people don’t know exists. A world where in order to survive, kids are forced to sell drugs, beg for money or sell their bodies. Their powerful stories are heartbreaking and their unrelenting hope and determination to create a better life shines through, in this true tale of love, friendship, and the triumph of the human spirit.



For more information, visit www.americanstreetkid.com.


Monday, December 10, 2018

ArcLight Cinemas Shares The Holiday Spirit With New ArcLight Presents… Let It Snow


Curated series brings feel-good, romantic and classic holiday film favorites to the big screen as the season kicks into full swing! 

CHICAGO (November 15, 2018) – ArcLight Cinemas – Chicago, the premier moviegoing destination in Lincoln Park (1500 N. Clybourn Ave.) announces a special, seasonal film series featuring six nights of holiday movies. From nostalgic to romantic – hilarious to action-packed, ArcLight Cinemas has carefully curated a selection of timeless stories for film lovers to enjoy this season. ArcLight Presents… Let it Snow begins on Monday, November 19 at 7:30 p.m. and runs through Monday, December 17. The schedule of the beloved films includes special screenings of A Christmas Story, Love Actually, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Home Alone, Tokyo Godfathers, and Die Hard.

“When curating films for the ArcLight Presents… Let It Snow series, we looked at movies for everyone; movies that transcend individual traditions and holidays, connecting people together to share the joy of the season,” said Kevin Holloway, VP of Film Marketing and Operations, ArcLight Cinemas. “Everybody has their own tradition and their own favorite holiday movies, and we hope to evoke special memories of the season through these film selections.”

ArcLight Cinemas, the premier moviegoing experience with an unparalleled commitment to bringing a variety of rich cinematic content, offers more than just a place to watch a movie. With a focus on undistracted viewing and state of the art sight and sound technology, guests experience classic movies the way they were meant to be seen.

The upcoming ArcLight Presents… Let it Snow schedule is:


Home Alone

Monday, December 10 at 7:30 p.m.

An eight-year-old troublemaker must protect his home from burglars when he is accidentally left home alone during Christmas vacation. Directed by Chris Columbus, the 1990 family-favorite, Home Alone, stars Macaulay Culkin Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern.

Tokyo Godfathers

Tuesday, December 11 at 7:30 p.m.

A trio of homeless people living on the streets of Tokyo set out to find the parents of a newborn baby they found among the trash on Christmas Eve. The 2003 animated Japanese film, Tokyo Godfathers, was co-directed by Satoshi Kon and Shôgo Furuya and features the voices of Tôru Emori, Yoshiaki Umegaki, and Aya Okamoto.

Die Hard

Monday, December 17 at 7:30 p.m.

An NYPD officer, John McClane, tries to save his wife Holly Genaro and others after a German terrorist takes them hostage during a Christmas party at Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles. Directed by John McTiernan, Die Hard stars Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, and Bonnie Bedelia. This untraditional 1988 Christmas movie celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

Tickets for the ArcLight Presents… Let it Snow series are $12.50 (adults). ArcLight Members can use their two free ArcLight Presents… tickets for this series. Not a member? Sign up at arclightcinemas.com/membership. For more information and to reserve your seats now, please visit https://www.arclightcinemas.com/en/movies/arclight-presents.

About ArcLight Cinemas:

ArcLight Cinemas, a privately owned, Los Angeles based company with 60 years of theatrical exhibition history throughout California, Hawaii, and Washington is a premier moviegoing experience with an unparalleled commitment to bringing a variety of rich cinematic content to moviegoers in all markets. ArcLight Cinemas operates seven theaters in California including Hollywood, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, El Segundo, Santa Monica, Culver City and La Jolla, as well as theaters in Bethesda, MD, Chicago and Glenview, IL, with a new location in Boston for 2019. ArcLight also owns and operates the historic Cinerama Dome and programs the TCL Chinese Theatre and IMAX in Hollywood. Pacific Theatres currently operates theaters in Los Angeles that include The Grove and The Americana at Brand in Glendale, CA. Additional information about ArcLight Cinemas is available at www.arclightcinemas.com.

Connect with ArcLight:

Facebook: facebook.com/ArclightCinemas #ArcLightChicago
Twitter: twitter.com/ArcLightCinemas #ArcLightChicago
Instagram: instagram.com/arclightcinemas #ArcLightChicago

Editor’s note: Received information on this series late, so I’ve just printed the dates and times for films that have yet to be screened.

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