2014 readers choice results
Editorial

Dann Gire

Film Critic

Dann Gire came to the Daily Herald in 1975 and has held positions of government reporter, crime reporter, Metro reporter (assigned to the Cook County Criminal Courts), and film critic on the Features staff. He has served as the newspaper's film critic for 32 years.

Gire worked as the station's film critic at Chicago's Fox TV News from 1988 to 1991, and for four weeks this summer, contributed film critiques for CBS Chicago's "Monsters and Money in the Morning" TV news program.

From 1984 to 2006, he served as an adjunct faculty member at William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, teaching classes in drama, novels and short stories, film and literature, introductory journalism, mass communications and feature writing. From 2000 to 2006, he also became the faculty adviser to the Harbinger newspaper at Harper College. He was fired from both positions after a dispute with a Harper vice president over censorship issues at the paper. He subsequently gave testimony for the Higher Education committees of the Illinois Senate and Illinois House to promote passage of the Illinois College Campus Press Act that would make political firings of college newspaper staffs and faculty advisers illegal. The act became law on June 1, 2008.

Gire has taught journalism in the communications department at Aurora University since 2008. He also has been assisting professor Heidi Schlumpf in launching the university's first online newspaper, the Aurora Chronicle, in the fall of 2010.

Gire is the president and a founding director for the Chicago Film Critics Association, a nonprofit organization with charitable and educational goals. He wrote the organization's ethics code and founded the group's Zappa Committee charged with monitoring First Amendment violations against filmmakers and recommending responses to those violations.

He has won the Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism in Arts Criticism (like the Chicago version of the Pulitzer Prize) six times. He has also won awards from the Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, The Associated Press, and other journalism organizations.

Every fall, Gire delivers a keynote presentation at the Embarras Valley Film Festival through his alma mater, Eastern Illinois University in downstate Charleston. It was at EIU that he taught his first college course in communications in 1975. He has been a member of the school's Journalism Advisory Council, as well as Harper College's Journalism Advisory Committee (until 2006).

Gire holds bachelor and master degrees in communications from Eastern Illinois University. He also served as sports editor, photography editor and co-editor-in-chief of the school's newspaper, the Daily Eastern News.

He is married to Peggy Gire, a longtime music teacher in Schaumburg District 54. They have two daughters: Lauren Elaine Taylor, currently on tour as Rizzo in the national Broadway production of "Grease," and Morgan Gire, who recently served as assistant director for the independent film production "Molly's Girl."

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'Transcendence' sputters as science-fiction thriller

Apr 17 2014 | 1:23 pm - "Transcendence” recycles old technophobic plots and stock sci-fi characters in a sometimes silly thriller short on thrills and convincing human connections. Wally Pfister's movie squanders an opportunity to capitalize on the suspenseful...

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Apr 17 2014 | 11:48 am - The payoff for patient moviegoers observing Jonathan Teplitzky's restrained, fact-based drama “The Railway Man” is nothing less than a cinematic act of grace.

Trial and error lead to Kinnear's career

Apr 16 2014 | 11:32 pm - Greg Kinnear, star of the new movie “Heaven is for Real,” grew up in Indiana, and he said, “The Midwest is funnier than people on the coasts. They get it, you know? It's those cold winters, man. Keeps them inside and keeps them...

'Left Alive' a deliberate, focused vampire affair

Apr 17 2014 | 11:49 am - At some point in “Only Lovers Left Alive” — indie filmmaker Jim Jarmusch's chilled take on the vampire genre — the constant, overt comparisons of drug addiction and blood food become obvious and slightly tiresome. The...

'Heaven'-sent drama moving but flawed look at the afterlife

Apr 16 2014 | 6:19 am - Instead of harnessing viewers' imaginations to create the mystery and awe of the afterlife in “Heaven is for Real,” Randall Wallace serves up literal, less powerful special-effects. An obtrusive, shouting score sabotages the magic of the...

Warrenville comedian makes a career in TV commercials

Apr 15 2014 | 5:30 am - Comedian Jon Huck of Warrenville built a career being funny on stage and on camera. His wild-haired yet average guy style has landed him roles in movies and dozens of TV commercials. One of his most popular videos, the "Guitar Baby" ad for...

Commanding epics: 10 big-screen Bible tales

Apr 10 2014 | 3:55 pm - With Passover and Easter right around the corner, and “Noah” showing across the country, here are 10 commanding biblical movies for your consideration.

Beefed-up short 'Oculus' an impressive creepfest

Apr 09 2014 | 6:51 pm - Perception is brutality in Mike Flanagan's twisty supernatural thriller “Oculus.” Flanagan has beefed up his 2006 film short “Oculus” to a full-length feature, yet the nerve-jangling essence of his haunted mirror mystery...

Are you ready for 16 hours of Sci-Fi Marathon?

Apr 09 2014 | 10:58 pm - Sixteen hours worth of Sci-Fi Marathon hits the Patio Theater this weekend. Prepare yourself! Plus, Dann talks to a reader about the non-biblical inspirations for Darren Aronofsky's epic "Noah," and provides his weekly quota of film notes.

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