Local choir sings film!
The Rolling Meadows High School show choir, the Leading Ladies, directed by Caitlyn Walsh will be prominently featured during a tribute to Chicago actress and comedian Jane Lynch when she receives the Commedia Extraordinaire trophy at the 24th Chicago Film Critics Awards 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Muvico Theater, 9701 Bryn Mawr Ave., Rosemont.
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"Normally, the students would be like, 'Really? We have to give up our Saturday for this?'," Walsh told Reel Life. "But all I had to say was Jane Lynch and they were hooked. They all love 'Glee!'"
Walsh received a call last week from a producer inviting the Leading Ladies to sing for Lynch's tribute segment.
"Fortunately, we were one of the few schools not participating in a high school show choir contest this weekend," Walsh said. "We were available!"
Support your local show choir! Show Jane Lynch some love! Tickets are at muvico.com.
Oh, yeah, there's more!
Special guests at Saturday's Chicago Film Critics Awards include not only Jane Lynch, but veteran character actor Paul Sorvino (he's Mira's dad, as well as a star in "GoodFellas," "Reds" and "Nixon"), "Saturday Night Live" veteran Joe Piscopo, "Flight" actress Nadine Velazquez, local filmmakers (and Columbia College grads) George Tillman Jr. and Robert Teitel, plus Chicago playwright and "I'll Fly Away" actress Regina Taylor, who will receive the prestigious Oscar Micheaux Award for her role in breaking down barriers between races and cultures.
ABC-7's "Windy City Live" roving reporter and native Chicagoan Mark DeCarlo will serve as the emcee for the event. I'll be there to help give out the Best Actress and Best Picture awards.
There's more? Really?
The Chicago Film Critics, through a grant from Joe Perillo, will give a $5,000 scholarship to the student winner of its Emerging Filmmakers Contest conducted this week. The finalist film shorts will be presented starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The winner will be announced after the program and officially receive a trophy during the 24th Chicago Film Critics Awards Saturday night. To buy tickets to the Emerging Film Awards program, go to bit.ly/Xga8BD.
For the love of movies
On Valentine's Day, show that special someone how much you care by joining me and film historian Raymond Benson as Dann & Raymond's Movie Club presents "And the Oscar Goes To ..." at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14, at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, 500 N. Dunton Ave., Arlington Heights.
We'll have clips from all nine of the Academy Award-nominated best motion pictures, along with Raymond's usual glib take on the Academy Awards nominees. Go to ahml.info or call (847) 392-0100.
Reel Life film notes:
• The After Hours Film Society presents Arnon Goldfinger's "The Flat," a documentary about how the filmmaker cleaned out his late grandmother's Tel Aviv apartment and discovered a treasure trove of memories -- and a mystery. It starts at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, at the Tivoli Theater, 5021 Highland Ave., Downers Grove. Admission costs $9.
Go to afterhoursfilmsociety.com.
• Dear Mr. Gire: "Hyde Park on Hudson" is only at one theater in the area. Fortunately, I did have an opportunity to go to Highland Park to see it. It certainly was worth the trip! But why do some movies such as this one have such limited distribution? And, before it was released, it received great reviews. Good luck actually seeing it! This is so annoying. If this film will be released to more movie houses, I would like to know. -- Joanne Kluck, Elk Grove Village
Dear Joanne: Generally speaking, so-called "art movies" like this -- movies not designed for the adolescent/shopping mall theater demographic -- are "platformed," released at one or two theaters in a market to build up word-of-mouth and wider audiences.
Like most things in Hollywood, it's all about money. If a movie such as "Hyde Park on Hudson" can build an audience, it can then go on to more and bigger theaters. If it opens at the mall against "Django Unchained," it will disappear in six days and never be heard from again on the theatrical circuit. Next stop: Video on Demand.
I hope this answers your question.
• AMC announced it first, now Marcus Theatres in Addison, Gurnee and Orland Park will offer all nine Best Picture Oscar nominees for a special package admission on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 16-17. "Amour," "Argo," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Django Unchained," "Les MisÚrables," "Life of Pi," "Lincoln, "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Zero Dark Thirty" can also be seen individually with a regular price. Go to marcustheatres.com for information and tickets.
• Daily Herald Film Critic Dann Gire's column runs Fridays in Time out!