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Film Review: Charles Dickens is ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

Man Who Invented Christmas, The

CHICAGO – The story of Ebenezer Scrooge, as told in Charles Dicken’s classic “A Christmas Carol,” seems to be the one constant that survives the commercialization of the holiday season. The story of Scrooge’s creation is told with expressive sentimentality in “The Man Who Invented Christmas.”

Film Review: Discerning the Heroes is Tough in ‘Megan Leavey’

Megan Leavey

CHICAGO – The poster is what gives away “Megan Leavey” the most. The titular soldier, and her bomb-sniffing dog, below a billowing American flag. So which war is it? Why, it’s the Iraq invasion, where the U.S. military and the politicians at home “freed” the Iraqi citizens from a peaceful life. Making a dog story out of that boondoggle doesn’t make it any more palatable, except to “support the troops.”

Film Review: Gravity of Poetic Dreams Carry Weight in ‘Paterson’

Paterson

CHICAGO – What is more ordinary than a man alone with his thoughts, and then applying those thoughts to paper in the form of poetry? “Paterson” is a celebration of such ritual, and other dreams in the working class. It never panders, it never makes the “hero” that heroic, but it does challenge him in an ordinary sense, to work it out as meaningful poetics.

Interview: Director Matt Ross Promotes ‘Captain Fantastic’

CHICAGO – In this year of morally unique relationship films (“Swiss Army Man”), add the recently released “Captain Fantastic” to the mix. The film, written and directed by Matt Ross, is like a fable of unintended consequences, where a father raises his children to live off the ‘grid,’ away from typical 2016 civilization.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 20 Pairs of Passes to ‘Captain Fantastic’ With Viggo Mortensen

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 20 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival hit dramaCaptain Fantastic” starring Viggo Mortensen and Steve Zahn!

Film Review: ‘Elvis & Nixon’ is a True Story That’s Fit for a King

CHICAGO – “When two great saints meet, it’s a humbling experience,” said Paul McCartney of John and Yoko. Well that also applies to “Elvis & Nixon.” Their meeting, albeit brief, has layers of meaning for our times – and their time – and the movie with the “E&N” title exposes that meaning with humor and grace.

Interview: Director Gavin Hood has His ‘Eye in the Sky’

CHICAGO – The new film “Eye in the Sky” is as contemporary a war film that currently could be made. The overview of drone warfare includes the distant “pilots” on the computer screen, the leaders in their paneled offices, and the target on the ground – which includes the enemy, but also several innocents.

Interview: Director Jay Roach Channels His Inner ‘Trumbo’

CHICAGO – Director Jay Roach loves his work, heading into another phase of his successful career. The man who directed the first two “Austin Powers” films is now taking on movie and American history with “Trumbo,” featuring Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) as the 1950s blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.

Film Review: Life is Never Over in ‘I’ll See You in My Dreams’

CHICAGO – Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you, if you’re the main character in “I’ll See You in My Dreams.” Blythe Danner portrays a long-time widow whose routine is set, but life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. The series of extraordinary events are life lessons, at a point in life where class is dismissed.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 10th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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