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March 2015

Interview: Director Noah Baumbach on Timing in ‘While We’re Young’

CHICAGO – Director Noah Baumbach is a master in creating cinematic atmosphere. Whether it’s the adolescent mood of “The Squid and the Whale,” the weird loneliness of “Frances Ha” or his screenplays with director Wes Anderson, Baumbach generates a worthy emotional imprint. His latest film is “While We’re Young.”

Interview: Director Simon Curtis Fashions the ‘Woman in Gold’

CHICAGO – The painting “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer” was created by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt, and was considered Austria’s greatest artwork. The remarkable journey of the painting, stolen from its original Jewish family by the Nazis during World War II, is the basis for the new film, “Woman in Gold,” directed by Simon Curtis.

Film Review: ‘Get Hard’ is Less Than the Sum of Its Parts

CHICAGO – Will Ferrell is a funny guy. Kevin Hart can be a funny guy. But the prison buddy comedy “Get Hard” is woefully less than the sum of its comedic parts. It fires buckshot of lame jokes at its audience, but precious few come anywhere near their targets as it squanders nearly every comic opportunity that comes its way.

‘Get Hard’ is Less Than the Sum of Its Parts

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

CHICAGO – Will Ferrell is a funny guy. Kevin Hart can be a funny guy. But the prison buddy comedy “Get Hard” is woefully less than the sum of its comedic parts. It fires buckshot of lame jokes at its audience, but precious few come anywhere near their targets as it squanders nearly every comic opportunity that comes its way.

Film Review: Imagine What Could Have Been for ‘Danny Collins’

Danny Collins

CHICAGO – “Danny Collins” is a shoulda-woulda-coulda film. It was inspired by the true story of a John Lennon letter acquired by a musician 40 years after he was suppose to to have received it, and then re-imagined as a cheap soap opera, punctuated by far superior John Lennon songs.

Imagine What Could Have Been for ‘Danny Collins’

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

CHICAGO – “Danny Collins” is a shoulda-woulda-coulda film. It was inspired by the true story of a John Lennon letter acquired by a musician 40 years after he was suppose to to have received it, and then re-imagined as a cheap soap opera, punctuated by far superior John Lennon songs.

Film Review: ‘Home’ Continues Trend of So-So Animated Films

CHICAGO – What was once an “event” – even the the most medium level animated film was a rare movie occasion – has now become commonplace in the film market. Once that tipping point was reached, suddenly the event became just another weekend, with just another film like “Home.”

‘Home’ Continues Trend of So-So Animated Films

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

CHICAGO – What was once an “event” – even the the most medium level animated film was a rare movie occasion – has now become commonplace in the film market. Once that tipping point was reached, suddenly the event became just another weekend, with just another film like “Home.”

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 100 Pairs of Advance TV Premiere Passes to NBC’s ‘American Odyssey’

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: TV, we have 100 pairs of advance TV premiere tickets up for grabs to the new NBC drama “American Odyssey” starring Anna Friel and Peter Facinelli! This will be a special event honoring women in the military for their services.

Interview: Director Dan Fogelman on Nurturing ‘Danny Collins’

CHICAGO – Dan Fogelman is a familiar behind-the-scenes creator, having wrote scripts and screenplays for “Cars,” “Fred Claus,” “Tangled,” “The Guilt Trip” and “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” He takes on his first directorial effort, the story of “Danny Collins,” a faded rock star who finds redemption through a lost letter from John Lennon.

Slideshow: Exclusive 2014 C2E2 Portraits to Anticipate the 2015 Chicago Expo From April 24 to 26

| Image 1 of 33 |
Eve Myles of TV’s ‘Torchwood.’

CHICAGO – The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, popularly known as “C2E2,” is coming back to the Windy City next month, Friday, April 24th through Sunday, April 26th. The three day event draws many celebrities, comic book artists and memorabilia vendors. HollywoodChicago.com was at last year’s event, and got 33 Exclusive Portraits of the TV and film personalities.

Film Review: Tense Creepy Factor Along the Way for ‘It Follows’

CHICAGO – There is a particular atmosphere in “It Follows,” that stalks a viewer long after the credits recede. That is a fine legacy for a horror film, which contains symbolic elements of life itself, and some graveyard humor that breaks the agitation. Yet it also relies on the same old, same old.

Tense Creepy Factor Along the Way for ‘It Follows’

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

CHICAGO – There is a particular atmosphere in “It Follows,” that stalks a viewer long after the credits recede. That is a fine legacy for a horror film, which contains symbolic elements of life itself, and some graveyard humor that breaks the agitation. Yet it also relies on the same old, same old.

Film Review: Lack of Cohesiveness, Intrigue Stymies ‘The Gunman’

CHICAGO – If you’re going to see a Sean Penn action movie, I guess “The Gunman” would be appropriate. As he and the filmmakers inject some reality in the usual motivations, the puzzle pieces don’t connect well and in the end are not that interesting. That is not to say that the film is bad.

Lack of Cohesiveness, Intrigue Stymies ‘The Gunman’

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

CHICAGO – If you’re going to see a Sean Penn action movie, I guess “The Gunman” would be appropriate. As he and the filmmakers inject some reality in the usual motivations, the puzzle pieces don’t connect well and in the end are not that interesting. That is not to say that the film is bad.

Interview: Director Pierre Morel on Sean Penn, Liam Neeson & His Latest ‘The Gunman’

Pierre Morel of 'The Gunman,' photo by Patrick McDonald

CHICAGO – There were basically two careers for Pierre Morel, before he directed the mega-hit “Taken,” starring Liam Neeson, and afterward. The French-born cinematographer, camera operator and now director is releasing “The Gunman,” an action film that stars Sean Penn. Like “Taken,” the motivations for the action are based in the real world, and “The Gunman” travels to Africa, London and Barcelona on his way to redeeming his soul.

Film Review: Shortage of Spark Makes ‘The Divergent Series: Insurgent’ a Second-String Effort

CHICAGO – “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” does nothing to change the “Divergent” series status as an off-brand Young Adult epic. As we’ve seen with “The Hunger Games,” these Young Adult franchises can be lots of fun and be faithful to their source material. But “Insurgent” has the same problem as the first two “Harry Potter” films – it’s too faithful, coupled with a dearth of inspiration behind the camera.

Shortage of Spark Makes ‘The Divergent Series: Insurgent’ a Second-String Effort

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

CHICAGO – “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” does nothing to change the “Divergent” series status as an off brand Young Adult epic. As we’ve seen with “The Hunger Games,” these Young Adult franchises can be lots of fun and be faithful to their source material. But “Insurgent” has the same problem as the first two “Harry Potter” films – it’s too faithful, coupled with a dearth of inspiration behind the camera.

Film Review: A Magician Debunks the Paranormal in Beguiling Doc ‘An Honest Liar’

An Honest Liar, 2015

CHICAGO – Magician James Randi, or “The Amazing Randi,” has a made a legacy in using his love of magic to show audiences how they’re being tricked by evangelists, spoon-benders, psychics, etc. A ruthlessly charming Houdini-wannabe with instant showman charisma, he exists as the humbling gravity to a world that can convince itself that unattainable answers are to be found in ideas beyond science.

A Magician Debunks the Paranormal in Beguiling Doc ‘An Honest Liar’

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

CHICAGO – Magician James Randi, or “The Amazing Randi,” has a made a legacy in using his love of magic to show audiences how they’re being tricked by evangelists, spoon-benders, psychics, etc. A ruthlessly charming Houdini-wannabe with instant showman charisma, he exists as the humbling gravity to a world that can convince itself that unattainable answers are to be found in ideas beyond science.

Blu-ray Review: Chris Rock’s ‘Top Five’ is Pretty Interesting

Top Five

CHICAGO – Chris Rock isn’t a huge writer/director, but when he does make a film, it’s an event to consider. For example, he made black president tale “Head of State” long before then-senator Barack Obama was even considered for the real-life role, and whether behind the stand-up mic or in an interview, he’s a voice to be reckoned with.

Exclusive Video Interview: Best-Selling Chicago Author Veronica Roth on ‘The Divergent Series: Insurgent’

CHICAGO – A year ago, we spoke with best-selling Chicago author Veronica Roth along with stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Ansel Elgort at the “Divergent” red-carpet premiere. Since then, the 2014 film has earned $288 million globally on an $85 million production budget.

Theatre Review: Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Princess and the Pea’ Gets Modern Makeover at The Marriott

CHICAGO – Merging old-fashioned chivalry with modern-day TV screens, The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences is currently staging a smile-inducing, family friendly reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea”.

Film Review: Adam Sandler’s ‘The Cobbler’ a Historical, Stupefying Disaster

The Cobbler, 2015

CHICAGO – The newest Adam Sandler film that doesn’t feature him dressed like a chubby middle schooler is really bad, but in a special way. Similarly, it is an instant classic in the legacy of bizarre disasters, a footnote in writer/director history that must be witnessed to be fully understood.

Adam Sandler’s ‘The Cobbler’ a Historical, Stupefying Disaster

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

CHICAGO – The newest Adam Sandler film that doesn’t feature him dressed like a chubby middle schooler is really bad, but in a special way. Similarly, it is an instant classic in the legacy of bizarre disasters, a footnote in writer/director history that must be witnessed to be fully understood.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to ‘Seymour: An Introduction’ From Ethan Hawke

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new music film “Seymour: An Introduction” from writer and director Ethan Hawke on beloved piano teacher Seymour Bernstein!

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 3rd, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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