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Ben Mendelsohn

Film Review: For Better or Worse, ‘Ready Player One’ is Nostalgia at its Purest

CHICAGO – Just in time for Easter, there’s a film filled with enough Easter eggs to drown a small country. “Ready Player One” is a “Where’s Waldo” of mostly 80’s pop culture references that are meant to trigger our (and especially filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s) sentimental, nostalgic cores by bombarding us with reminders of our childhood. These trips down memory lane are fun until they’re not.

Interview: Writer/Director John Maclean of ‘Slow West’

Slow West, 2015

CHICAGO – Now playing at Chicago’s Music Box Theater and on VOD (but best seen on the largest screen possible), “Slow West,” is a tight genre journey pic that invigorates the western while confirming that its territory remains open, despite the many who have passed through.

Film Review: Jude Law Submarines a Passable But Unspectacular ‘Black Sea’

CHICAGO – I’m on board with Jude Law leading a film and neutral about submarine movies as a genre. My primary pre-screening interest in the quietly marketed thriller “Black Sea” was what Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald would do with this material following his hit with the hard-hitting drama “The Last King of Scotland”.

Film Review: Efficient Submarine Adventure ‘Black Sea’ Offers Classic Thrills

CHICAGO – Having explored the farthest fields of space in films like “Gravity” and “Interstellar,” we may have forgotten the danger that awaits down below. “Black Sea” is a lean, often thrilling submarine tale that takes viewers on a journey of timeless terror and sacrificial pursuits.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 75 Pairs of Passes to ‘Black Sea’ With Jude Law

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 75 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new thrillerBlack Sea” starring Jude Law from Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald (“The Last King of Scotland”)!

Film Review: No Faith in the Spectacle of ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’

CHICAGO – The world certainly didn’t need another “Ten Commandments,” but director Ridley Scott tries to remake the 50’s Biblical epic anyway – led by Christian Bale as a scowling and shouting Moses. Yet Bale can’t hold a staff to Charlton Heston and Scott is no Cecil B. DeMille.

Film Review: Brutal Coming-of-Rage Prison Drama ‘Starred Up’

Starred Up

CHICAGO – Opening this weekend at Chicago’s Facets Cinematheque after a week on VOD is “Starred Up,” a bloody-knuckles British prison drama that was also a favorite at the most recent Chicago Critics Film Festival. This is an at-times beastly movie that follows in the line of previous character-driven jail films like “Chopper” (starring Eric Bana), or Tom Hardy’s raging breakout movie “Bronson”.

Film Review: Naomi Watts, Robin Wright Fake It in ‘Adore’

CHICAGO – For a movie that should be about passion, sex, and scandal, “Adore” is surprisingly and depressingly tame. Two great lead actresses are left floating on a dock by a script that doesn’t treat them like real characters and a team that cast two inferior actors opposite them.

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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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