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Brendan Gleeson

Film Review: Ben Affleck Shoots Nothing But Blanks in ‘Live by Night’

CHICAGO – Movies released in the first weeks of January are invariably either awards hopefuls trying to gain momentum or studio dreck being buried in the dead of winter, and quickly forgotten by Valentine’s Day. “Live By Night” aspires to be the former, but ends up being the latter.

Film Review: ‘Assassin’s Creed’ Has Odd Breeding for a Movie

Assassin's Creed

CHICAGO – I’m not a gamer, but of course I’ve heard about “Assassin’s Creed.” The film based on the video game is a wild and undisciplined attempt to expand that particular universe, but does succeed in creating an oddball science fiction that has implications in geo-religious power and control.

Interview: Director Sarah Gavron Revives the History in ‘Suffragette’

Suffragette

CHICAGO – One decade before the United States gave women the right to vote, it was Britain leading the way before World War One. Their techniques for convincing the staid patriarchy was a series of anarchistic actions, as depicted in the new film “Suffragette,” featuring Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep, and directed by Sarah Gavron.

Film Review: Breathless Beauty Within Animated Wonder ‘Song of the Sea’

Song of the Sea, 2015

CHICAGO – Just in time for its potential win of the “Best Animated Feature” Oscar this Sunday, the Irish animated film “Song of the Sea” opens this weekend at Chicago’s Music Box Theater. A grab-bag myth come to storytelling life, this film is vitalized by its gorgeous animation as much as the heart within its narrative.

Film Review: The Catholic Priest on the Road to ‘Calvary’

Calvary

CHICAGO – The title of the film, “Calvary,” should have resonance to any guilty Catholic out there, and yet the loaded word can’t deliver the truth that the film seeks. Brendan Gleeson gives an astonishing performance as a conflicted priest, but the material he has to work with is not up to his portrayal.

Film Review: ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is a Fleet-Footed Popcorn Movie

CHICAGO – “Edge Of Tomorrow” is a high concept, fast of foot popcorn movie that knows how to deliver the goods. While this futuristic sci-fi take on “Groundhog Day” doesn’t break any new ground, it does see that intriguing concept through to a fulfilling and crowd pleasing conclusion.

Film Feature: The 10 Best Films of Sundance 2014

The instant-response nature of our media has forced a bizarre question on nearly every minute of the Sundance Film Festival — “Is it a GOOD year?” Journalists and festival goers talk in hushed tones about the first time they saw beloved Sundance films like “Clerks,” “Bottle Rocket,” “Winter’s Bone,” or “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and wonder if there’s anything this year to compare. Personally, I had a spectacular year.

2014 Sundance Diary, Day 5: Memorable Characters Descend on Park City

Exhaustion is settling in but the movies have been consistently good to great. Four movies in a row that variably thrilled or entertained me but definitely left with strong impressions of unforgettable characters. And one of them may be a masterpiece.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Wiz, The

    CHICAGO – When stage theater can cause outbreaks of elation, celebration and joy, then it must be due to Kokandy Productions’ revival of “The Wiz.” The urban reinterpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” story – told through tuneful euphoria and jubilant dance – is ecstatically produced, in every morsel of its stagecraft.

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