Aubrey Plaza

Film Review: Aubrey Plaza Steers the Unsettling ‘Ingrid Goes West’

CHICAGO – Aubrey Plaza (“Parks and Recreation”) is an actor who always seems to do something memorable in her performances. In “Ingrid Goes West,” she carries an entire movie on her quirky and sometimes disturbing character… that of a bipolar stalker who can’t find balance.

Film Review: Despite One Premise, Laughs Are Plenty in ‘The Little Hours’

Little Hours, The

CHICAGO – It occurred to me in assessing “The Little Hours” that the basic premise is somewhat like “The Beguiled” – a man is taken in, rooster-like, into a henhouse where there are women with “needs.” Except this time, instead of a girl’s boarding school, it is a 14th Century nunnery. Get thee to it, if thou wants to laugheth.

Film News: Chicago Critics Film Festival Opens With ‘The Little Hours’ on May 12, 2017

CHICAGO – The only film festival in the U.S. programmed by a film critics group is right here in the Windy City, with the 5th Chicago Critics Film Festival (CCFF) taking place at the historic Music Box Theatre from May 12th through May 18th, 2017.

Film Review: ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates’ is Hilarious Joy

Mike and Dave

CHICAGO – In these difficult times, we flat out need a belly laugh. The timing of “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” couldn’t be better, because this group of comic actors and this movie provides a respite of hilarious joy. By simply exploiting the truth of the based-on-a-real-story premise, “Mike and Dave” is the type of farce that anybody can relate to, and laugh at gratefully.

Interview: Adam Devine, Director Jake Szymanski Realize ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates’

CHICAGO – The funniest movie of the summer describes its whole situation through the title – “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.” This hilarious farce features a killer cast, led by Adam Devine and Zac Efron, and brilliant comic direction by Jake Szymanski.

DVD Review: Historical Figures Cheersed in Brilliant ‘Drunk History: Seasons 1 & 2’

Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

Exclusive Portrait: ‘Grumpy Cat’ Gains a Voice in Lifetime TV Movie

Grumpy Cat, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – What began as an internet meme has become a celebrity sensation. “Grumpy Cat,” AKA Tardar Sauce the cat, has built a career for herself and her owners as a magazine cover girl and brand name. Aubrey Plaza (“Parks and Recreation”) has just been named as the voice of Grumpy Cat for an upcoming Lifetime TV Movie, “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.” The famous feline recently appeared at Barnes & Noble Old Orchard in Skokie, Illinois, to promote her new book “The Grumpy Guide to Life: Observations from Grumpy Cat.”

Film Review: Studio Ghibli Gives Fans Sweet ‘From Up on Poppy Hill’

CHICAGO – The torch is being passed at Studio Ghibli from the great Hayao Miyazaki (“Princess Mononoke,” “Spirited Away”) to his son Goro, who directs this week’s tender “From Up on Poppy Hill,” certainly not one of the best in the Ghibli canon but a well-made, enjoyable melodrama nonetheless. A full awareness that it’s kind of a cheap melodrama (one of the characters even says so) doesn’t change the fact that it is but the young Miyazaki’s visual palette is notably beautiful and the voice work is strong throughout.

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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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