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Ann Dowd

Film Review: Toni Collette Discovers that Horror is ‘Hereditary’

CHICAGO – The classic horror/psychological films continue to chill our souls long after the experience of them. “Hereditary” uses a masterful performance by Toni Collette, and layers it with symbolic commentary and freaky scares to accomplish that lingering discomfort. After viewing it, the cluck of the tongue will never be the same.

Podtalk: Actor Blake Jenner Nurtures ‘American Animals’

Blake Jenner of AMERICAN ANIMALS

CHICAGO – One of the coolest-cat young actors is Blake Jenner. The versatile performer began his career on TV’s “Glee,” portraying Ryder Lynn. Since that time, three short years ago, he has broken out in a big way, landing in the ensemble cast of “Everybody Wants Some!!” and “The Edge of Seventeen.” His latest is a combination documentary/narrative film, the unusual and absorbing “American Animals.”

Film Review: There is Little Beauty to Be Found in ‘Collateral Beauty’

CHICAGO – Charles Dickens once said, “Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Seeing the trailer for “Collateral Beauty,” it’s obvious this is the theme of the film, but it is also the theme of this review. My “blessing” to you is the foresight not to waste your time with this film.

Film Review: Sandra Bullock Bombs in Bad ‘Our Brand is Crisis’

CHICAGO – This misbegotten political satire shows almost as much contempt for its audience as its characters do for the politicians they’re supposed to be helping. This movie thinks it is smartly cynical, but it’s about as smart as a Larry the Cable Guy routine at a Donald Trump rally.

Interview: Ted Melfi Directs Bill Murray in ‘St. Vincent’

CHICAGO – There are few better opportunities for a filmmaker than directing Bill Murray in a character role. Theodore “Ted” Melfi got that assignment, after pursuing Murray with his screenplay for the new film, “St. Vincent.” The effort to convince the veteran comic actor to take the title role paid off, and other notable actors joined in.

Film Review: Earnest ‘Gimme Shelter’ Needs More Truth

CHICAGO – The balancing act between reality and drama in based-on-truth narratives is as delicate as walking the high wire. Pour in too much drama, and a story can feel like a soap opera. “Gimme Shelter,” although earnestly and achingly performed, has that sudsy protocol.

Film Review: Rooney Mara, Jude Law Star in Steven Soderbergh’s Thrilling, Stellar ‘Side Effects’

CHICAGO – Steven Soderbergh has given interviews in which he claims that his latest film, the fantastic “Side Effects,” will be his last.

Blu-ray Review: Craig Zobel’s Disturbing, True ‘Compliance’

Compliance

CHICAGO – It’s been over a year since Craig Zobel’s “Compliance” took Park City by storm when this disturbing drama premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Rattling viewers before sending them out into the cold Utah streets, “Compliance” was not just one of that fest’s most memorable films but one of the entire year’s. Now on Blu-ray, you can see what all the controversial buzz is about.

Film Review: Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan in Mediocre ‘Bachelorette’

CHICAGO – “Bachelorette,” now playing On Demand (and doing quite well on that format) and opening in theaters tomorrow, is a modestly successful comedy with some very talented stars stuck with an incredibly inconsistent script.

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