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October 2011

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 35 Pairs of Chicago Passes to ‘The Three Musketeers’ With Milla Jovovich

CHICAGO – In our latest action/romance edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 35 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated advance Chicago screening of “The Three Musketeers” starring Milla Jovovich and Orlando Bloom!

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 30 Pairs of Chicago Passes to ‘The Mighty Macs’ on Women’s Basketball

CHICAGO – In our latest sports edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 30 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance Chicago screening of the original Cinderella story “The Mighty Macs” about women’s basketball!

Film Review: Owen Wilson, Steve Martin, Jack Black Flock Up in ‘The Big Year’

The Big Year

CHICAGO – “The Big Year” is advertised as a comedy. The subject is bird watching, or as the new film likes to express the proper term, “birding.” It stars comic legend Steve Martin, and funnymen Jack Black and Owen Wilson. It is both not funny and is ACTUALLY, seriously about birding. Time to fly away.

Owen Wilson, Steve Martin, Jack Black Flock Up in ‘The Big Year’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “The Big Year” is advertised as a comedy. The subject is bird watching, or as the new film likes to express the proper term, “birding.” It stars comic legend Steve Martin, and funnymen Jack Black and Owen Wilson. It is both not funny and is ACTUALLY, seriously about birding. Time to fly away.

Film Review: Unsettling Paranoia, Special Effects Showcase ‘The Thing’

CHICAGO – With Halloween approaching, what will truly scare us at the cinema this month? One strong entry is this weekend’s “The Thing,” the third remake of a wild and mysterious monster movie. It combines a European-style approach to paranoia with some truly unique monster effects.

Unsettling Paranoia, Special Effects Showcase ‘The Thing’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – With Halloween approaching, what will truly scare us at the cinema this month? One strong entry is this weekend’s “The Thing,” the third remake of a wild and mysterious monster movie. It combines a European-style approach to paranoia with some truly unique monster effects.

Film Review: ‘Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure’ Documents Viral Legacy

Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Raymond Huffman and Peter Haskett were viral before that word meant anything other than an adjective for pneumonia. Perhaps you’ve heard of Peter and Ray, a pair of irascible roommates in San Francisco who became audio tape icons after their neighbors recorded their drunken exchanges and started circulating them among their friends. “Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure” documents the phenomenon that started when two hipster kids moved in next door to a pair of fascinating drunks.

‘Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure’ Documents Viral Legacy

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Raymond Huffman and Peter Haskett were viral before that word meant anything other than an adjective for pneumonia. Perhaps you’ve heard of Peter and Ray, a pair of irascible roommates in San Francisco who became audio tape icons after their neighbors recorded their drunken exchanges and started circulating them among their friends. “Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure” documents the phenomenon that started when two hipster kids moved in next door to a pair of fascinating drunks.

Interview: Director Prashant Bhargava of ‘Patang’ at Chicago International Film Festival

CIFF logo 2011

CHICAGO – Going back to his roots is what director Prashant Bhargava accomplished with his new film “Patang.” The starkly beautiful, highly symbolic film centers on one of India’s largest kite festivals in the old city of Ahmedabad. The film centers on family and the clash of new and old traditions.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 30 Pairs of Chicago Passes to ‘Texas Killing Fields’ With Sam Worthington

Texas Killing Fields with Sam Worthington

CHICAGO – In our latest crime/thriller edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 30 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance Chicago screening of the Michael Mann-produced “Texas Killing Fields” starring Sam Worthington (“Avatar”)!

TV News: ABC Cancels ‘Charlie’s Angels’

Charlie's Angels Season 1 Premiere

CHICAGO – Well, that didn’t take long. Joining “The Playboy Club,” “Free Agents,” and “How to Be a Gentleman” in the hallowed halls of cancellation is ABC’s “Charlie’s Angels,” a show that never found an audience and watched the few who did sample it turn away in the week’s after its premiere. ABC followed their full-season orders for “Revenge” and “Suburgatory” yesterday with the announcement of the cancellation of “Charlie’s Angels” today.

Blu-Ray Review: Excellent ‘Terri’ Defies Genre Expectations

Terri

CHICAGO – Most movies about awkward teens feel like they’re mocking them as much as embracing them. I’m exhausted by the subgenre because of this fact — there’s a deep hypocrisy in so many of these movies that wants to make fun of their subjects and then tell you how bad it is to make fun of them. Imagine my surprise at the charming, wonderful, incredibly well-written “Terri,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. This is a hidden gem.

Preview: 47th Chicago International Film Festival, Part Three

CHICAGO – Illness has kept us from truly screening a majority of the films left to screen at the 47th Annual Chicago International Film Festival but there are three that we did get around to in the last month that are definitely worth your time, plus a handful of highlights that we wish we could have gotten to see that might draw your interest.

TV News: ABC Orders Full Seasons of ‘Revenge,’ ‘Suburgatory’

Revenge TV Review

CHICAGO – Does ABC actually have a pair of new hits on their hands? Unable to find a freshman success last year with disasters like “The Whole Truth” and “My Generation,” the network has a much happier story to tell this year as a a few of their programs have not exactly set the TV world on fire but delivered solid numbers. Two such programs are on Wednesday nights as the net gave full-season orders to sitcom “Suburgatory” and guilty pleasure “Revenge” after this week’s ratings.

Film Review: Ryan Reynolds, Julia Roberts Trapped in Dull ‘Fireflies in the Garden’

Fireflies in the Garden
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – It’s always risky for a screenwriter to craft a film about a family of writers in that when the result is a script so generically awful as that for “Fireflies in the Garden” it’s going to stick out even more prominently. After sitting on the shelf for years (it played festivals in 2008 and was supposed to be released that year) and reportedly undergoing some reshoots, this stale drama is finally getting a limited release and will prove just how limited it is to the poor saps who pay to see it.

Ryan Reynolds, Julia Roberts Trapped in Dull ‘Fireflies in the Garden’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – It’s always risky for a screenwriter to craft a film about a family of writers in that when the result is a script so generically awful as that for “Fireflies in the Garden” it’s going to stick out even more prominently. After sitting on the shelf for years (it played festivals in 2008 and was supposed to be released that year) and reportedly undergoing some reshoots, this stale drama is finally getting a limited release and will prove just how limited it is to the poor saps who pay to see it.

Film Review: Horrendous ‘Trespass’ With Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman

CHICAGO – Joel Schumacher’s “Trespass” represents a new low for the often divisive and (lately) horrendous director of such gems as “The Number 23,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Bad Company,” “8MM,” “Batman & Robin,” and “Batman Forever.”

Horrendous ‘Trespass’ With Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Joel Schumacher’s “Trespass” represents a new low for the often divisive and (lately) horrendous director of such gems as “The Number 23,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Bad Company,” “8MM,” “Batman & Robin,” and “Batman Forever.” The film is getting a very-brief theatrical release before essentially going straight-to-DVD, leading a few industry watchers to question if perhaps one of the stars had it in his or her contract that the film had to run in movie houses. Unless you have a similar contract requiring you see it, avoid at all costs.

TV News: ‘The Kids Are Alright’ Being Written For an HBO Series

Kids Are All Right, The: Annette Bening and Julianne Moore

CHICAGO – The crossing over of entertainment forms is nothing new us and seems to come in phases. We have seen hundreds of books that were turned into movies. There have been TV shows like “Bewitched” “Get Smart” and “Charlie’s Angels” that were turned into movies. The latest craze in the cross-overs: films to television.

Film Review: ‘Blackthorn’ Offers Wistful Rethinking of Butch Cassidy Legend

Blackthorn Film Review

CHICAGO – Western buffs have often criticized George Roy Hill’s 1969 classic, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” for romanticizing its subject matter to the point where it felt less concerned about its titular criminals and more interested in the friendship between stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Yet for all of the charm in William Goldman’s script, there was an underlying darkness and tragic poignance that allowed the final act to pack an unforgettable punch.

‘Blackthorn’ Offers Wistful Rethinking of Butch Cassidy Legend

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Western buffs have often criticized George Roy Hill’s 1969 classic, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” for romanticizing its subject matter to the point where it felt less concerned about its titular criminals and more interested in the friendship between stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Yet for all of the charm in William Goldman’s script, there was an underlying darkness and tragic poignance that allowed the final act to pack an unforgettable punch.

Film Review: Brutal ‘The Woman’ Shocks With Bloody Satire

The Woman
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – When Lucky McKee’s “The Woman” played at Sundance earlier this year it caused quite a stir, mostly thanks to the reports of an altercation that happened shortly after the screening in which someone questioned how something so extreme even got to Park City. While some midnight screenings at the fest have pushed boundaries before (“Saw,” “Haute Tension”), there is something so brutally in your face about the repulsive acts on display that it’s easy to see why buttons were pushed.

Brutal ‘The Woman’ Shocks With Bloody Satire

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – When Lucky McKee’s “The Woman” played at Sundance earlier this year it caused quite a stir, mostly thanks to the reports of an altercation that happened shortly after the screening in which someone questioned how something so extreme even got to Park City. While some midnight screenings at the fest have pushed boundaries before (“Saw,” “Haute Tension”), there is something so brutally in your face about the repulsive acts on display that it’s easy to see why buttons were pushed.

Film Review: ‘Footloose’ Remake Dances to Its Own Tune

CHICAGO – If you’re gonna cut loose, “Footloose,” it is best to do what the production team and cast did in cutting this remake of the 1980s kitschy classic – pay deep homage to the source and modify it with a energetic and contemporary spin on the dance floor.

‘Footloose’ Remake Dances to Its Own Tune

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – If you’re gonna cut loose, “Footloose,” it is best to do what the production team and cast did in cutting this remake of the 1980s kitschy classic – pay deep homage to the source and modify it with a energetic and contemporary spin on the dance floor.

Interviews: Illinois Short Filmmakers at 2011 Chicago International Film Festival

CIFF logo 2011

CHICAGO – One of the exciting events at the Chicago International Film Festival is the “City & State” Short Film Spotlight, highlighting local filmmakers presenting new or emerging short films. Two notable directors from the October 10th screening are Anna Musso (”L Train”) and Alaric S. Rocha (”Winter”).

Film News: Fifth ‘Die Hard’ Titled ‘A Good Day to Die Hard;’ Release Date, Plot Set

Die Hard Bruce Willis

CHICAGO – More than 23 years ago, New York cop John McClane was introduced to the world. Now, a release date, plot, and title has been set for the fifth film in the “Die Hard” series that will play in theaters almost 25 years after the first film was released.

TV News: CW Orders Full Seasons of ‘Hart of Dixie,’ ‘Ringer,’ ‘The Secret Circle’

Ringer

CHICAGO – None are doing well by traditional ratings scales but The CW doesn’t have the same expectations as other networks and so they not-too-surprisingly gave full-season orders to new shows “Hart of Dixie,” “Ringer,” and “The Secret Circle” this week, ending speculation that one might be canceled. Given the low ratings for all of them, especially “Secret,” one can safely assume that they had nothing interesting waiting in the wings to replace them.

Video Game Review: Lackluster ‘X-Men: Destiny’ Has No Super Powers

CHICAGO – Imagine this — an X-Men game in which you don’t play a known member of the legendary team. Want to rage with Wolverine’s claws, shoot beams with Cyclops’ eyes, or rain chaos with Storm? Well, you’ll have to go back to the last “Marvel Ultimate Alliance” game to do so because they’re not playable here.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Footloose’ Lacks Dance, Bores With Hokey Melodrama

Footloose Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – One of the easiest ways for a creatively starved studio to manufacture a box office hit is to bank on the nostalgia of a beloved cult classic. A remake will not only attract old fans but inspire new moviegoers to rent the deluxe edition of the original, now carrying the self important label of, “The Film That Defined a Generation.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Star Trek Into Darkness

    CHICAGO – With J.J. Abrams not involved with the creation of a third “Star Trek” movie, a compendium of his work within the franchise only seems fitting. Loaded with special features but only a few new ones, this disc set is a strong choice for those who don’t already have both entertaining blockbusters in their collection.

  • References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot

    CHICAGO – In “References to Salvador Dali Makes Me Hot,” now at the Den Theatre in Chicago through September 7th, the intersect of author José Rivera and the strong cast of actors make for a formidable partnership. Committed and passionate interpreters take both the soft and edgy parts of the narrative to task.

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