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Andy Lau

Film Review: ‘A Simple Life’ Celebrates the Transcendent Beauty of Human Selflessness

A Simple Life Film Review

CHICAGO – The inherent drama of reality is trickier to capture on camera than one might suspect. Cinéma verité failed as soon as filmmakers utilized manipulative techniques to contrive on-camera drama. The staged shouting matches, comedic barbs and tearful breakdowns prevalent on Reality TV are as phony (or, dare I say, phonier) than the human behavior witnessed in scripted productions.

Film Review: Epic, Unusual ‘Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame’

Detective Dee

CHICAGO – The roots of the cinematic obsession with wizards, the force and middle earth can be traced back somewhat to the tradition of the martial artist, and the magical realism that is practiced in that genre of films. “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame” packs in action, magic politics and fantasy in a tale based on a real Chinese empress.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘The Warlords’ Triumphantly Depicts War as Hell

The Warlords Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – In the opening moments of Peter Ho-Sun Chan’s “The Warlords,” martial arts superstar Jet Li performs one of his bravest physical feats yet. He breaks into tears. This comes as a bit of a shock, considering Li’s status as one of China’s most formidable onscreen ass-kickers. Yet it’s in keeping with Chan’s uncommonly emotional approach to depicting historical events often drained of humanity.

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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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