• One of the most appealing characteristics of “Ozark” is how the writers create a constant undercurrent of tension. The action is full of fluid situations that demand one life and death decision after another. Keeping this type of storytelling from becoming too far fetched, almost exhausting, takes skill and “Ozark” rarely slips. It’s a thrill to watch. But what really sets this show apart goes beyond the high stakes action to a deeper story about choices, [...]
  • Why do people flock to the Toronto International Film Festival every year? Some of us do it for work. At last year’s TIFF, I had the pleasure of watching 15 films and chatting with, among others, Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, and George Clooney. Some attend to support their moviegoing habit. As of this writing, 297 films (both features and shorts) have been scheduled for this year’s 43rd annual festival, which runs from Sept. 6-16 at cinemas all over Toronto, with the [...]
  • In perhaps an ironic twist, it was the loud roar of race cars zipping around the Grandstand racetrack that ended an otherwise “quiet” Illinois State Fair.That was the assessment Sunday of many fair vendors, who said the mostly favorable weather was not enough to boost sales, which rebounded last year after a flood-plagued 2016 fair but have trended downward over the past decade.“It's been a quiet fair,” said Kelsie Vose, whose family runs the Vose [...]
  • He was Rob Petrie, Bert the Chimney Sweep, Caractacus Potts and countless other characters. Now Dick Van Dyke’s latest role is top actor in Illinois history, as chosen by voters in the Illinois Top 200 project.Van Dyke, who grew up in Danville, was followed by Bill Murray of “Ghostbusters” and “Groundhog Day” fame and two-time Oscar winner Gene Hackman, a fellow Danville native.Also in the top five: Harrison Ford, king of the Hollywood [...]
  • Sunday is Family Day at the Illinois State Fair. Gate admission price is discounted to $5 per adult. Children 12 and under are always free.Here are a few highlights on the schedule:• Barn 13: Miniature Horse Show at 9:00 am• Illinois Building: Churches of Christ at 10:30 am• Thrillville: Two Blondes and a Redhead Hypnotists at Noon• Lincoln State: Powerlight Fest: Praise and Worship (Chosen Generation) at Noon• Open [...]
  • A popular Nickelodeon star is coming to Springfield to headline the second annual Kidz Expo.Kira Kosarin plays Phoebe on "The Thundermans," which just wrapped its fourth and final season. Kosarin guest hosted the 2017 Kids' Choice Awards, along with wrestling star John Cena, and has been nominated three years in a row for "Favorite TV actress" in the Kids' Choice Awards. The Kidz Expo, presented by The State Journal-Register, will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 8 at [...]
  • Contemporary Christian Music artist and 2018 Grammy Award winner Zach Williams has often credited Big Daddy Weave's song "Redeemed" for turning his life around. On the brink of a failed marriage and beset by personal demons, Williams heard the song on his bus during a tour with his secular band, The Reformation, in 2012. Williams almost immediately broke up the band and headed back to his family. Last year, Mike Weaver, who co-wrote the song and fronts Big Daddy Weave, [...]
  • One thing country star Brantley Gilbert promises when he releases a new album is he’s not going to throw fans of his earlier albums for a loop. “I want to avoid the situation … when you really fall in love with a band, and it’s just you love them and you love an entire record that they do, and then they release another record and it’s like ‘What the hell happened?’” said Gilbert, who closes the Illinois State Fair on Sunday [...]
  • Members from more than 45 Park Districts from across Illinois will entertain fairgoers and host activities throughout the fairgrounds, including inside Conservation World.Here are a few highlights for Saturday:• Swine Barn: Berkshire Swine Show at 8 a.m.• Jr. Livestock Building: Jr. Pygmy Goat Show at 8:30 a.m.• Sheep Barn: Cotswold, Border Leicester Show at 9 a.m.• Livestock Center: Park District Pentathlon at 11:45 a.m. [...]
  • Looking for something to do this weekend that's not the state fair? Check out the opening of "Big River," a musical retelling of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. We sit down with director Rich McCoy, cast member Kimberly Johnson and Director of the Hoogland Gus Gordon to talk about the show and what we're looking forward to. Big RiverWhen: 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 8 p.m. Aug. 24, 2 and 8 p.m. Aug. [...]