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Film Review: Wes Anderson’s ‘Isle of Dogs’ is Inventive Delight

CHICAGO – Fans of director Wes Anderson will find plenty to love in his second stop motion animated feature (after “Fantastic Mr. Fox”), entitled “Isle Of Dogs.” It’s an immersive and intricately detailed story set in Japan, and features a dizzying array of visual gags, along with Anderson’s trademark whimsy.

Film Review: ‘Ghostbusters’ Entertains, But Lacks the Paul Feig Edge

CHICAGO –Throughout the reboot of “Ghostbusters,” it becomes obvious that co-writer/director Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids,” “The Heat”) is just going to do a straight re-do of the 1984 film, because the film lacks his sardonic touch, even though it does entertain and has the requisite big special effects.

Film Review: ‘The Jungle Book’ is a Technical Marvel Missing Some Magic

CHICAGO – While Disney Studios’ new live action version of “The Jungle Book” is an improvement over the 1967 animated version, it’s more of a technical marvel than magical fable. And it’s unable to completely transcend the earlier version’s limitations.

Film Review: Bill Murray Rolls Downhill in ‘Rock the Kasbah’

Rock the Kasbah

CHICAGO – What’s up with this movie? Everything in it is so wrong headed, despite movie star casting and a attempt toward “current events.” Setting itself in a modern and complex country – Afghanistan – but creating a perspective on that country that is straight ugly American, “Rock the Kasbah” is a total downer.

Interview: Director Douglas Tirola on ‘Drunk Brilliant Stoned Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon’

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of National Lampoon

CHICAGO – Before the days of 24/7 internet access to every form of entertainment that exists, there were eras of radical performance expression that changed the landscape of attitudes toward everything – think of The Beatles evolving music and also changing social culture. The roots of another evolution, especially in comedy, began with a modest humor magazine that brought together the right mix of anarchists and misfits. What they did would influence comedy for years afterward, and their story is told in “Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of National Lampoon,” directed by Douglas Tirola.

Film Review: Unusual, Passionate ‘Aloha’ is Deeply Resonant

CHICAGO – Films with major movie stars that take real chances on story formula are rare. “Aloha” is one such example, and produces considerations that are way off the beaten path. Is it an allegory? An absurdity? An homage to 1960s paranoia? Only writer/director Cameron Crowe knows for sure.

Preview: Final Four Nights of 2015 Chicago Critics Film Festival

CHICAGO – As the Chicago Critics Film Festival (CCFF) – a film festival as programmed by the members of the Chicago Film Critics Association – heads into its last four nights, the variety and depth of the films that are being screened continues to astound and entertain. It all takes place at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago, May 4 through 7, 2015.

Film Review: ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ Too Dumb to Be Funny

CHICAGO – “Dumb And Dumber To” is an exercise in diminishing returns. Jim Carrey and the Farrelly Brothers expend twice the effort for less than a third of the laughs. It benefits greatly from the enormous well of goodwill created by the original’s inspired idiocy.

Blu-ray Review: Bowling Comedy ‘Kingpin’ Rolls Onto Blu-ray

Kingpin Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Before 1998’s “The Big Lebowski” there was 1996’s “Kingpin”, the Farrelly brothers bowling comedy that didn’t have the narrative intricacies of the Coen brothers’ classic, but had plenty of jokes about middle-aged men playing the sport. Today finds the release of “Kingpin” to Blu-ray for the first time, coming with only one new special feature.

Film Review: Phony ‘St. Vincent’ is Bill Murray’s Worst Choice Since ‘Garfield’

CHICAGO – “Garfield, maybe” was the sole utterance of regret that iconic actor/prolific movie-golfer Bill Murray expressed in 2009’s “Zombieland” before he died. Should the adoration for this cameo resurrect him for that film’s announced sequel, Murray will hopefully denounce “St. Vincent,” his most needless and perverse career choice since vocally birthing “Garfield” (and yes, that includes getting a handjob as Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 2012’s also terrible “Hyde Park on Hudson”).

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Not One Batu

    CHICAGO – The State of Hawaii may be one of the most misunderstood in America. Because of its reputation as a tourist mecca, the fact that native peoples live and work there like any other place is hard to imagine. Also unimaginable is the drug use of island residents, but playwright and Hawaiian native Hannah li-Epstein wrote about it in her stage play “Not One Batu,” now in its Premiere Chicago run at the Berger Park Coach House through July 28th, 2018. For more information, including tickets, click here.

  • Cher Show, The

    CHICAGO – Has anybody in show business had more “comebacks” than Cher… or if you added her many last names Cher Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman? All of the triumphs and downturns are shoehorned into “The Cher Show,” now in Chicago in a pre-Broadway run through July 15, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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