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Film Review: ‘The Upside’ Works Because of Kevin Hart & Bryan Cranston

Upside, The

CHICAGO – In 2011, there was a notable French film called “The Intouchables,” based on the true story of quadriplegic Phillippe Pozzo di Borgo and the relationship with his caregiver. Leave it to the U.S. film industry to get its sticky fingers on the story, and seven years later Bryan Cranston portrays “Phillip” and his caretaker is portrayed by Kevin Hart. Instead of story, this version relies on its lead actors.

Film Review: ‘The Meg’ is a Proud $150 Million Dollar ‘B’ Movie

CHICAGO – From their golden age from the 1950s to the 1970s, the infamous “B” movies – usually the third feature at the drive-in, or playing in the crumbling old theaters – were targeted to teens. In the modern era, these films are now given $150 million dollar budgets and wide releases. Case in point, the shark movie called “The Meg.”

Film Review: Remake of ‘Overboard’ a Fun & Unexpected Treat

CHICAGO – When the movie remake of the 1987 charmer “Overboard” was announced last year, immediately my thought was “it will stink.” But the creators of this remake didn’t listen, and produced a charmer of their own, twisting the premise and adding the hope of America. If that ain’t heart, I don’t know what is.

Film Review: ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ is High-Flying Spy Fun

CHICAGO – “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is a hard “R”-rated sequel with a thoroughly juvenile soul. It pairs silly wordplay, dirty jokes and a startling amount of bloody and gratuitous violence while its tongue remains thoroughly in cheek. This is a James Bond movie as made by an unusually sadistic 16-year-old under the influence of some not entirely legal substances.

Film Review: Glaring Lack of Originality Handicaps ‘The Bad Batch’

Bad Batch, The

CHICAGO – Dystopia has been dissed out. Mining the negative vibe future world can’t seem to touch the rich creative vein any more and the reserves seem dry. Writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour may have an element within her interpretation that is hard core, but it’s not enough to understand the overall vision of her tomorrow world, except that we’re all part of “The Bad Batch.”

Interview, Audio: Director Ana Lily Amirpour Stirs up ‘The Bad Batch’

CHICAGO – The dystopia – or negative future world – is a genre staple, from “Soylent Green” to “Max Max.” The latest film to ponder the possibilities is “The Bad Batch,” from writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour. This is her sophomore feature, after “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” and features Suki Waterhouse in the lead role.

Interview: Director David Farrier Finds No Mirth in ‘Tickled’

CHICAGO – In the underbelly of American society, if you dig deep enough, there is also an underbelly to the underbelly. When a New Zealand journalist named David Farrier goes to such depths, on a story about competitive tickling (yes, tickling people to laughing fits), he gets much more that he bargained for.

Interview: Director Justin Simien Reflects on ‘Dear White People’

CHICAGO – Some say, to use a FOX News term, that America is “post-racial.” The election of Barack Obama is supposed to have ended the debate on race, and any marginalization because of race. Of course, that is not possible in society and culture, and it’s articulated in writer/director Justin Simien’s new film, “Dear White People.”

Film Review: ‘The Purge: Anarchy’ Can’t Decide What it Wants to Be

CHICAGO – “The Purge: Anarchy” is a cake-and-eat-it film. On one hand there is a monotonous display of firepower, courtesy of a suspension of laws for one night a year, but it also wants to temper this lawlessness with indictments of government, the rich and the law itself.

Interview: Zach Gilford on the World in ‘The Purge: Anarchy’

CHICAGO – Zach Gilford is a familiar face to fans of the TV series “Friday Night Lights,” where he portrayed Matt Saracen. The actor grew up around Chicago in Evanston, Ill., and has risen through the ranks of acting in his new home of Los Angeles. He currently is featured in the sequel film, “The Purge: Anarchy.”

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