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Armie Hammer

Film Review: 'Free Fire' Knows That Happiness is a Warm Gun

Free Fire

CHICAGO – In a film that had a sassy, arbitrary perspective on its own flipped-out story, “Free Fire” sought to out-Quentin Tarantino in freaky funny characters and ammo-splurging gun battles. Director Ben Wheatley (“High-Rise”) took an ensemble cast to rarified heights of insult comedy, revenge dynamics and bullets that hit the bone.

Interview: Director Ben Wheatley Ignites His New Film ‘Free Fire’

CHICAGO – One of the more lovely examples of pure cinema – if that description can be given to a film with nearly constant gunplay – is in the upcoming release of “Free Fire.” Director Ben Wheatley (“High-Rise”) constructs a dark and funny scenario within one room, and fills it with symbolism and homage to other movies.

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: ‘The Birth of a Nation’ Depends on its Own Piety

CHICAGO – “The Birth of a Nation” has been making news since it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival early this year. Taking place before the American Civil War, this incendiary look at a real slave rebellion in the deep South does pack a punch, but its approach isn’t completely successful.

Film Review: ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ Just a Big Screen Bore

CHICAGO – Director Guy Ritchie’s big screen version of the 1960’s spy show “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” is a colossal waste of time for all involved. The original show was never all that good to begin with, but this film is never able to clear that admittedly low bar, or even replicate any of the TV show’s small pleasures.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ With Henry Cavill

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new action/adventure/comedyThe Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (the adaptation of the hit 1960s TV series) starring Henry Cavill from Guy Ritchie (“Sherlock Holmes,” “Snatch”)!

Film Review: ‘The Lone Ranger’ Rides Again in Classic Western Style

CHICAGO – In trying to revive the Western film genre, Walt Disney Pictures is also reviving the “Pirates of the Caribbean” formula – extreme action, intrigue, flamboyant characters and Johnny Depp. Add a dash of a familiar American legend – “The Lone Ranger” – and it’s summer movie time.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to ‘The Lone Ranger’ With Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated “The Lone Ranger” starring Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as The Lone Ranger!

Blu-ray Review: Julia Roberts Stars in Inconsistent ‘Mirror Mirror’

Mirror Mirror

CHICAGO – “Mirror Mirror” reimagines the tale of Snow White as one of dictatorial corruption and the little David taking down the big Goliath. It’s an interesting way to interpret the material and made more so by Tarsem Singh’s incredibly strong visual eye. Small problem — while he’s a visual master, he’s not a strong storyteller and “Mirror Mirror” needed a more capable narrative thread.

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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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