Blue Sky Studios

Film Review: Delightful ‘Ferdinand’ Keeps it Simple & Funny

Ferdinand

CHICAGO – Like the repeat tenets of real estate, good animated films come down to story, story, story. And ‘Ferdinand,’ an older children’s tale adapted to modern audiences, combines a gentle source narrative with palatable visual and cartoon jokes. It’s fun for the whole family!

Blu-ray Review: Familiar But Beautiful ‘Epic’ Looks Great in HD

Epic

CHICAGO – It’s unlikely that you’ll see a more visually striking American animated film in 2013 than Fox and Blue Sky Studios’ “Epic,” a film that was written off by many critics and audience members in its May release but that has more going for it than your average family fare. Now available on Blu-ray and DVD, “Epic” frustrates in the way that it too often falls back on storytelling crutches that we’ve seen before but the movie looks great at every turn. It’s the kind of animated flick that’s designed to show off your new Blu-ray player and accompanying HD TV. The special features are disappointingly thin but the movie deserved a bigger audience that it is likely to find on Blu-ray.

Blu-Ray Review: HD Amplifies Strengths of Hit Family Film ‘Rio’

Rio

CHICAGO – Blue Sky Studios’ “Rio” feels nearly designed for Blu-ray as the film’s strengths are amplified by the world of HD video and sound. With bright colors and Brazilian music, it’s easier to get sucked into the world of this so-so family flick, and a large number of special features makes it easier to overlook the unsatisfactory nature of the actual movie. The important thing is that the little ones in your family will be captivated by the talking, dancing birds with the colorful plumage, especially in 1080p.

Video Game Review: Kid-Friendly ‘Rio’ Brings Animated Party Home

CHICAGO – The video game tie-in for the movie “Rio” should be a total disaster. It has three strikes against it being a movie tie-in, having gameplay aimed primarily at elementary school kids, and the fact that it’s yet another collection of mini-games. So, I’m happy to report that “Rio” isn’t that bad. It’s not going to be any child’s favorite game but it adequately translates the good will they have towards the hit movie into their living room.

Film Review: Animated, Colorful ‘Rio’ Blends Into Mediocre Blur

CHICAGO – “Rio” is a film that nearly defies critical review. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it and I can virtually guarantee you that the little ones in your family will be captivated by the talking, dancing birds with the colorful plumage. But it’s also a film that’s strikingly unmemorable. The characters, the jokes, and even the striking visuals – they all dissipate from the memory like a piece of candy that seems tasty in the moment but ultimately isn’t very filling. “Rio” isn’t a bad movie but with great family entertainment options out there, just being “not bad” isn’t good enough.

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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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