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Film News: ‘Moonlight’ Tops Chicago Film Critics Association 2016 Best Film Nominees

Moonlight

CHICAGO – The poignant journey of “Moonlight” topped the 2016 Chicago Film Critics Association nominations list with 11, as announced on Monday, December 12th. Other notable multi-category nominees included the biopic “Jackie,” the drama “Manchester by the Sea” and the musical “La La Land.” Janelle Monae (“Hidden Figures”), Lily Gladstone (“Certain Women”) and Lucas Hedges (“Manchester by the Sea”) scored double nominations in the Best Supporting Actress and Actor categories, as well as Most Promising Performer.

Film Review: ‘Nocturnal Animals’ Takes Two Stories to New Levels

CHICAGO – Reality and fantasy have separate rules, and in fantasy there are no rules. This is the philosophy of “Nocturnal Animals,” a wild character study that exists on the reality/fantasy planes. And it has the bonus of the Amy Adams/Isla Fisher mix-up and Jake Gyllenhaal at his Gyllenhaal-iest.

Film Review: Science of the Human Condition Makes an ‘Arrival’

CHICAGO – The film genre of aliens from other planets is as old as the movies. But it hasn’t been told as boldly and humanely as the new film “Arrival.” Its theme is communication, and how this interaction relates to the concept of the life cycle. Yes, it’s lofty, but it is also edge-of-the-seat engaging.

Film Review: ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ is Both Despairing & Disappointing

CHICAGO – Dang it, DC Comics and Warner Bros.! Two of my favorite comic book characters get dragged through a dull mud in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” There is a dawn all right, but instead of the bright sun over the horizon, it’s a full mooning to the fans who anticipated the film.

Entertainment News: Best-Picture ‘Boyhood,’ TV’s ‘Transparent’ Are Golden Globe Winners

Golden Globes, 2015

CHICAGO – The best of 2014 in film and TV was celebrated at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards on January 11th, 2015. Co-hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, the first big and splashy awards ceremony of the season honored the films “Boyhood” (Drama) and “The Grand Budapest Hotel (Comedy), plus continued to recognize the current influence of online TV series by awarding honors to “Transparent” (Amazon Prime) and its lead actor, Jeffrey Tambor.

Film Review: ‘Big Eyes’ Too Conventional to Generate Any Interest

Big Eyes

CHICAGO – What’s up with Tim Burton? His style is hardly present in the straightforward story of artists Margaret and Walter Keane, locked in a battle of creation over “Big Eyes” child paintings. There is nothing revelatory or even interesting in the process of their struggle of who-painted-what, maybe perhaps Burton – a collector of the art – wants to increase their value?

Blu-ray Review: Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ Only Gets Better with Repeat Viewing

Her

As a full-time film/TV/game critic and father of three, I very rarely have time to watch something more than once, even if it’s my favorite of the year. And yet I’ve revisited Spike Jonze’s “Her” twice now (for a total of three viewings) and it’s that very rare film that gets richer and more emotionally engaging with each subsequent viewing. I think by the end of the year, it might be my favorite film of 2013.

What to Watch: Mar. 11-24, 2014

American Hustle

An Oscar winner, a major Oscar nominee, two more pieces of Oscar bait, and a few movies that never got anywhere near Oscar. Welcome to What to Watch. We don’t play favorites. Oh, wait, yes we do. You should definitely rent or buy the titles on this first page. The second page is more optional.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Downward Dog

    CHICAGO – From “Mr. Ed” to “Dog with a Blog,” talking animals have had their place on TV. The latest has origins as a web series, with the clever title “Downward Dog.” The show premieres on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 (9:30pEST/8:30pCST), on ABC TV, and features Ned the Dog as Martin, and human companions portrayed by Allison Tolman and Lucas Neff.

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.

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