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Andy Serkis

Film Review: All Forms of Heroism Available in ‘Black Panther’

CHICAGO – The fortune of the latest Marvel Studios superhero epic, “Black Panther,” lies in its solid foundation in African mythos and intelligent storytelling. And with Ryan Coogler (“Creed”) as director, there are still major confrontations and battles, intertwined into the soul.

Film Review: ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ Delivers Old Hollywood Glory

CHICAGO – Since the Golden Age of cinema, theaters have tried countlessly to deliver up big budget films. Summer is here and the public is showing that they are cooling off these blockbusters, no longer fooled by the thought that cost equates to quality. “War for the Planet of the Apes” shows us that blockbusters may still be redeemed by channeling some Old Hollywood magic.

Film Review: ‘Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens’ is the One We’ve Been Waiting For

CHICAGO (No Spoilers!) – I felt privileged on Tuesday morning. Not just to be a Chicago film critic, but to be a movie lover. Film critics and movie lovers alike wade through scores of yawners hoping for one or two masterpieces that remind us why we fell in love with the experience of watching a film in the company of people we like.

Film Review: Dull Soap Opera in ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’

CHICAGO – “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” just goes to show you can have the most expensive and best looking visual effects money can buy, but it doesn’t mean a damn thing if you haven’t got a good tale to tell.

Blu-ray Review: Lavish Extended Edition of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey

CHICAGO – I had notable problems with “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” when it premiered in theaters but they were softened a bit when I saw it on Blu-ray and not in 3D nor 48 frames per second, two effects that I believe actually hurt the world designed by Peter Jackson in these films in that they make it look less artistic and faker than the standard HD image. Now I’m here to flop back again to the disappointed side with the extended edition of the film, one that runs WAY too long for a flick that was already too short.

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Works Better in HD Than in Theaters

CHICAGO – Can we end this 48fps nonsense now? Having seen “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” in 3D/48fps, I found the film artificial and boring. At home, in traditional, flat HD, the movie works so much better.

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ Looks Great, Feels Hollow

The Adventures of Tintin

CHICAGO – Being a Steven Spielberg super-fan, I looked forward to being able to re-appreciate “The Adventures of Tintin” with a beautiful HD picture and, I hoped, some special features to enhance my opinion of a film that I found pretty seriously flawed in theaters. Well, the HD transfer is a beauty — the film looks just as good as its 3D theatrical presentation — but the film is still flawed and the special features are lackluster. In theaters, it was a near-miss and my opinion has not changed on Blu-ray.

DVD Review: Flawed ‘Brighton Rock’ Adaptation Enhanced By Fine Ensemble

Brighton Rock Thumb

CHICAGO – Graham Greene’s haunting 1938 crime novel doesn’t deserve to be uttered in the same breath as Stephenie Meyer’s tween phenomenon, “Twilight.” Yet in the hands of British filmmaker Rowan Joffe, Greene’s masterwork loses its theological intrigue and becomes a self-conscious melodrama fueled by two grim lovers who could be dead ringers for Bella Swan and Edward Cullen.

Blu-ray Review: Thrilling, Satisfying ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

CHICAGO – Have a gift card burning a hole in your wallet? Want a new movie? There are few better options for new release Blu-rays than Fox’s stellar reboot, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” one of the most surprising critical and commercial smashes of 2011. The special features are extensive and impressive and the movie holds up remarkably on repeat viewing. Expertly directed by Rupart Wyatt, who perfectly choreographs amazing cinematography and effects work,and featuring a landmark mo-cap performance from Andy Serkis, this isn’t just a must-see, it’s a must-own.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Orange is the New Black

    CHICAGO – Orange Day is Friday (July 27, 2018)… as in “Orange is the New Black.” That’s when Season Six will be available for download from Netflix, as the online series continues to showcase the women inmates at Litchfield Penitentiary, three of whom are played by Taylor Schilling (Piper), Kate Mulgrew (Red) and Dascha Polanco (Daya).

  • Everybody, Brown Paper Box Co

    CHICAGO – When is the last time a stage play, based in an intimate setting, made you think about your life, death, and the destiny inherent in both? “Everybody,” staged by Brown Paper Box Co. (BPBCo), is such a play, and the energetic aura and sense of surprise that the show contains is soul soothing wonder. The show has various evening/matinee performances at the Pride Arts Center in Chicago run through August 12, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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