Angela Lansbury

Film Review: You’ll Be Wild About Magical ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

CHICAGO – They did it. Walt Disney Studios took one of their most beloved live action/animated films and rebooted it for a new millennium. “Mary Poppins Returns” is a song-filled, emotional and magical celebration of all things Mary P, combining the elements that made it great the first time with the modern movie strengths of today.

Film Review: He’s a Not-So-Mean-One in Remake of ‘The Grinch’

CHICAGO – They should have left well enough alone, didn’t anybody learn anything from the trainwreck of the Jim Carrey live-action-as-The-Grinch? Apparently not. A more kid friendly and modern animated version of “The Grinch” opens six weeks before Christmas, and already I want to return it.

Film Review: ‘Beauty and the Beast 3D’ Brings Magic to New Generation in Unnecessary Dimension

CHICAGO – It is a tale as old as time, and a film almost as old as I am. After the success that Disney had bringing “The Lion King” back to theaters this past September, it is no surprise that they have decided to bring four more films back to the theaters, starting with the classic tale “Beauty and the Beast,” which was first released in November of 1991.

Blu-ray Review: Harmless Family Entertainment of ‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins’

Mr. Popper's Penguins

CHICAGO – I have to admit that I went into my review of “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” expecting to feel torture not unlike when I suffered through “Yogi Bear” or “Gulliver’s Travels.” Live-action family entertainment has been the other side of the coin to the influx of quality animated entertainment. For every Pixar, there’s a “Chipwrecked.” For every “How to Train Your Dragon,” there’s a “Zookeeper.” To that end, I found “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” totally harmless, mostly because Jim Carrey gives it his all and brings enough manic glee to the proceedings to keep it from falling flat.

Blu-Ray Review: Cult Favorite ‘The Last Unicorn’ Gets Lavish Release

The Last Unicorn

CHICAGO – History has a funny way of distorting the quality of a film. Don’t worry. I’m not here to tell you that “The Last Unicorn” only works through the haze of memory. It still features some striking visuals and reasonably strong storytelling, but it may not be the ’80s classic you conjure up when you hear a tune that reminds you of that cheesy theme song. The legions of adoring fans should definitely check this out but be prepared for what could be a let down.

Blu-Ray Review: Original ‘Nanny McPhee’ Released Just in Time For Return

Nanny McPhee

CHICAGO – With the sequel “Nanny McPhee Returns” (also known as “Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang” overseas) about to be released in theaters, Universal has taken the opportunity to release the original 2005 Emma Thompson on Blu-ray. This is a standard import of already-available DVD special features to the HD market in an attempt to spark interest after kids see the new film but it’s still entertaining family filmmaking that’s certainly worth a look if your rugrats have yet to see it.

DVD Review: Delightful ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ is Timeless

Bedknobs and Broomsticks

CHICAGO – When it was announced that Disney would be releasing a new special edition of “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” the little kid in me woke up and started pounding on my memory banks. I have such vivid memories of watching the film as a child, mouth agape, eyes wide, and falling in love with the blend of animation and live-action that looked so revolutionary to this future critic’s young mind. Pick up the DVD and inspire a child you know.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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