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June 2014

Interview: Kevin Kline at Chicago International Film Festival Gala

CHICAGO – The countdown to the Chicago International Film Festival’s 50th Anniversary in October continued on June 28th, 2014, at the Gala Celebration at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago. Oscar winning actor Kevin Kline was honored at the event, and answered a few questions on the Red Carpet beforehand.

Film Review: ‘Third Person’ an Intriguing Yet Foreseeable Labyrinth

Third Person

CHICAGO – Don’t you hate it when you figure out where a film is going long before it gets there? That could be a problem with “Third Person,” but writer/director Paul Haggis (“Crash”) also adds enough secrets to chew on and enough multiple pathways to explore. Enter at your own risk.

‘Third Person’ an Intriguing Yet Foreseeable Labyrinth

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

CHICAGO – Don’t you hate it when you figure out where a film is going long before it gets there? That could be a problem with “Third Person,” but writer/director Paul Haggis (“Crash”) also adds enough secrets to chew on and enough multiple pathways to explore. Enter at your own risk.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to ‘Tammy’ With Melissa McCarthy

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new “R”-rated comedyTammy” starring Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon!

Film Review: ‘They Came Together’ Sharply Skewers the Rom-Com

CHICAGO – If there is any genre of film that needs a good blasting, it is the romantic comedy. These silly fantasies practically seem like satires anyway, so when the comic genius of writer/director David Wain ponders them, and casts Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler as the “couple,” the funny will fly.

‘They Came Together’ Sharply Skewers the Rom-Com

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

CHICAGO – If there is any genre of film that needs a good blasting, it is the romantic comedy. These silly fantasies practically seem like satires anyway, so when the comic genius of writer/director David Wain ponders them, and casts Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler as the “couple,” the funny will fly.

Film Review: ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ Most Tolerable of Series

CHICAGO – I’ll say this for “Transformers: Age Of Extinction,” it’s the most tolerable Transformers movie Michael Bay has ever made. The substitution of Mark Wahlberg for Shia LaBeouf is a big part of that – and for its first two hours at least, Bay realizes less is more.

‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ Most Tolerable of Series

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – I’ll say this for “Transformers: Age Of Extinction,” it’s the most tolerable Transformers movie Michael Bay has ever made. The substitution of Mark Wahlberg for Shia LaBeouf is a big part of that – and for its first two hours at least, Bay realizes less is more.

Interview: Writer/Director Paul Haggis Creates ‘Third Person’

CHICAGO – Not many Oscar winning screeenwriters change the course of their professional lives because of a dream (story below), but Paul Haggis is an exceptionally brilliant writer whose credits include “Crash” (2005) and “Million Dollar Baby” (2004) – which both won Best Picture – and his new film, “Third Person.”

Interview: Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor on ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’

CHICAGO – Among the Transforming machines in the fourth installment of the “Transformers” series are human actors, poised to react to the giant robot madness around them. Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor are newcomers to the series, and both are making major franchise film debuts in “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

Interview: Dick Cavett at Chicago Museum of Broadcast Communications

CHICAGO – Saturday, June 21st, 2014, marked a special night at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago – “A Salute to Dick Cavett.” The iconic talk show host, who seemingly knew every celebrity and newsmaker of the 20th Century, was honored for his broadcasting career, which has spanned over 50 years.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 20 Pairs of Passes to ‘Begin Again’ With Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 20 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new music comedy/dramaBegin Again” from the writer and director of the Oscar-winning film and Broadway musical “Once”!

Blu-ray Review: Recent TV Releases Include ‘True Detective,’ ‘Masters of Sex’

True Blood S6

CHICAGO – “Game of Thrones” is over and you’ve already binged “Orange is the New Black,” what are you supposed to do now? There are a few interesting new programs this season – FX’s “Tyrant” & “The Strain,” HBO’s “The Leftovers,” CBS’s “Extant,” and a few more – but it’s also a great time to catch up what you may have missed with new Blu-ray and DVD releases. There are five TV-to-Blu-ray releases this month that might warrant a look.

Interview: ‘Weekend Workbench’ Host Ryan Salzwedel’s Do-it-Yourself Fix

Ryan Salzwedel, 'Weekend Workbench"

CHICAGO – Locally produced TV shows are old school, but WGN-TV in Chicago has had a long tradition of that type of show and hosts. Tapping into the legacy of Ray Rayner and Bozo the Clown, local programming is making a comeback, and one of the newest WGN-TV hosts is Ryan Salzwedel of “Weekend Workbench.”

Blu-ray Review: Tepid Volcano Movie ‘Pompeii’ Starring Kit Harrington’s Abs

Pompeii

CHICAGO – With regards to its production, Paul W.S. Anderson’s “Pompeii” is a period film based on current trends, honoring both the apocalypse fascination spurred by the Mayans’ recent miscalculation, and the ascent of Harrington’s star power via the popular TV series “Game of Thrones.” With neither guaranteeing a strong future for themselves through Pompeii, there is at least some bankability in Harrington’s abs.

Film Review: ‘Jersey Boys’ Can’t Escape Its Broadway Roots

CHICAGO – Director Clint Eastwood’s “Jersey Boys” suffers from the same inherent fundamental flaw in all of these so-called Jukebox Musicals – their stories are mere afterthoughts. You come for the songs, and suffer through the story.

‘Jersey Boys’ Can’t Escape Its Broadway Roots

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

CHICAGO – Director Clint Eastwood’s “Jersey Boys” suffers from the same inherent fundamental flaw in all of these so-called Jukebox Musicals – their stories are mere afterthoughts. You come for the songs, and suffer through the story. They have the narrative equivalent of chicken wire and chewing gum, patchwork filler to tie the songs together.

Film Review: Impulsive, Curious Tale of Dystopia in ‘The Rover’

The Rover, Guy Pearce
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO –There is a profound interest in impulse within the work of Australian filmmaker David Michod, whose number of features finally reaches two with his anticipated followup to “Animal Kingdom,” “The Rover.” Even his co-writing work for Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s life-crasher movie “Hesher” is indicative of a storytelling force jazzed by that which is abrupt and unexplainable, and without worry of how polarizing these weirdo choices may be.

Impulsive, Curious Tale of Dystopia in ‘The Rover’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO –There is a profound interest in impulse within the work of Australian filmmaker David Michod, whose number of features finally reaches two with his anticipated followup to “Animal Kingdom,” “The Rover.” Even his co-writing work for Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s life-crasher movie “Hesher” is indicative of a storytelling force jazzed by that which is abrupt and unexplainable, and without worry of how polarizing these weirdo choices may be.

Interview: Life is a ‘Cabaret’ for Actress Jillian Kate Weingart

Jillian Kate Weingart

CHICAGO – One of the top musical theater voices working in Chicago is actress/singer Jillian Kate Weingart. After triumphs in several local productions, she is currently featured in the iconic role of Sally Bowles in a staging of “Cabaret,” presented by BrightSide Theatre of Naperville, Ill., through June 29th, 2014.

Film Review: Hilarious, Fun Date Movie ‘Think Like a Man Too’

CHICAGO – Date night at the movies has a new alternative to the summer sci-fi and animation with “Think Like a Man Too.” The sequel to the popular first film has a burst of creative juice from an energetic cast, and dares to do something different with the bachelor party in Las Vegas theme.

Hilarious, Fun Date Movie ‘Think Like a Man Too’

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

CHICAGO – Date night at the movies has a new alternative to the summer sci-fi and animation with “Think Like a Man Too.” The sequel to the popular first film has a burst of creative juice from an energetic cast, and dares to do something different with the bachelor party in Las Vegas theme.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to Film Festival Hit ‘We Are the Best!’

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the Swedish film festival hit “We Are the Best!”! This film centers on a group of teen girls who decide to form a punk band in 1988.

Interview: Kevin Hart Leads the Crew in ‘Think Like a Man Too’

CHICAGO – Sequels just need a dose of energy and creativity, and then they work. The cast of “Think Like a Man Too” – including Kevin Hart, Regina Hall and Terrence Jenkins – provide that energy, as the gang from the first film heads to Las Vegas for a competing bachelor and bachelorette parties. The audience wins that contest.

Interview: From Stage to Screen for the Actors in ‘Jersey Boys’

CHICAGO – When taking a huge Broadway hit to the screen, there are a whole new set of challenges. For the actors of the new film adaptation of “Jersey Boys” – John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen and Michael Lomenda – it involved driving lessons from director Clint Eastwood and interpreting their stage personas on film.

Interview: Djimon Hounsou is Vocal in ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’

CHICAGO – Character actor Djimon Hounsou (Jee-mahn Hahn-soo) is memorable in any role he takes on – whether it’s working with Steven Spielberg in “Amistad,” or being so indelibly subtle for “In America.” Hounsou has also forged a true character in his voiceover work as Drago Bludvist in “How to Train Your Dragon 2.”

Blu-ray Review: Remarkable Breadth of Modern Animation in New Releases

The LEGO Movie with Will Ferrell

Remember when we were growing up? We were LUCKY if we got a decent animated film once a year in the ’80s and we spent most of our Saturday mornings watching total junk that now passes as nostalgia. We can say that music, film, or even literature was better when we younger. Animation? No way. Just take a look at four recent releases of the animated form that perfectly show the breadth and remarkable quality of the medium (and, yes, animation is a “form,” not a “genre.”)

Film Review: More Questions Than Answers in ‘Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon’

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon

CHICAGO – Not much is really revealed about the subject of the documentary “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon,” co-directed by comedian Mike Myers. Shep is a rock star agent, Shep gets rich, Shep shares his Hawaiian beach condo with big stars, Shep represents gourmet chefs, Shep likes to cook and Shep strangely wants kids, despite being in his sixties and not being able to maintain any domestic relationship. There is no there in this film, only the spoils of good representation.

More Questions Than Answers in ‘Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon’

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

CHICAGO – Not much is really revealed about the subject of the documentary “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon,” co-directed by comedian Mike Myers. Shep is a rock star agent, Shep gets rich, Shep shares his Hawaiian beach condo with big stars, Shep represents gourmet chefs, Shep likes to cook and Shep strangely wants kids, despite being in his sixties and not being able to maintain any domestic relationship. There is no there in this film, only the spoils of good representation.

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