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Cate Blanchett

Film Review: ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Shatters the Hammer, But Maintains the Mold

CHICAGO – Any blacksmith will tell you that their job is much more than the brute action of slamming a hammer onto steel. There is some finessing and an attention to detail that needs to take place in order to make something truly notable. With Taika Waititi manning the hammer, he takes the “Thor” franchise out from the Dark Ages and into the technicolor light.

Film Review: Terence Malick’s Feverish Dream in ‘Knight of Cups’

CHICAGO – I’ve been quoting Martin Scorsese over the years, that he said “movies are a psychotic’s feverish dream on display.” In searching for those words, I found he never said it. He did say they are “dreams with eyes open.” So let us combine the two quotes in analyzing Terence Malick’s “Knight of Cups.”

Interview: Director Todd Haynes Plays the Right Notes in ‘Carol’

Todd Haynes, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – One of the best films of 2015 is the atmospheric and kinetically performed “Carol.” The film, set in the early 1950s, depicts a love that dares not speak its name, and also showcases the breathtaking presence of actress Cate Blanchett as the title character. The director of the film is the veteran Todd Haynes, known for another set-in-the-1950s classic, “Far from Heaven,” as well as “Velvet Goldmine,” “I’m Not There” and the recent HBO miniseries “Mildred Pierce.”

Film Review: ‘Truth’ Exposes the Obstacles in Modern Journalism

CHICAGO – One of the indications of how the story depicted in “Truth” still resonates was that the CBS Network refused to show advertising for it. The film is a lesson in messing with true power – CBS News went after the ruthless Bush administration during an election year, and they went down.

Film News: 51st Chicago International Film Festival Closes with Best of Fest, ‘Carol’ & ‘Spotlight’

Spotlight

CHICAGO – All great things come to an end, and the 51st Chicago International Film Festival is no exception, concluding on October 28th and 29th, 2015, with the Best of the Fest, in addition to a special presentation of the new Todd Haynes’ film “Carol’ and their Closing Night film event, the tense journalism thriller “Spotlight.”

Film Review: ‘Cinderella’ Finds New Magic in Old Fairy Tale

CHICAGO – In the years since “Shrek,” the fractured fairy tale has become Hollywood’s default approach. We’ve been treated to so many irreverent and increasingly labored treatments of storybook characters, that Disney’s new live-action “Cinderella” comes off as relatively fresh by comparison.

Film Review: Too-Long ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ Delivers on Intimate, Hand-to-Hand Combat

CHICAGO – Though he’s never been called it before in scientific speak, I’m saying it now: Peter Jackson is a master of mitosis. He’s one of Hollywood’s best in splitting up the cinematic cellular DNA of one story into three because, apparently, he can’t do epics unless they’re in groups of three.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 30 Pairs of Passes to ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’

CHICAGO – To celebrate the release of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” in cinemas, HollywoodChicago.com, Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and New Line Cinema are giving away 30 pairs of advance-screening passes to the highly anticipatedThe Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”!

Interview: Djimon Hounsou is Vocal in ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’

CHICAGO – Character actor Djimon Hounsou (Jee-mahn Hahn-soo) is memorable in any role he takes on – whether it’s working with Steven Spielberg in “Amistad,” or being so indelibly subtle for “In America.” Hounsou has also forged a true character in his voiceover work as Drago Bludvist in “How to Train Your Dragon 2.”

Film Review: Heroic, Visually Bold ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’

CHICAGO – “How to Train Your Dragon 2” is spectacular in 3D, the filmmakers actually geared the film to enhance that much maligned vision. It also features a warm and heroic story about the coming-of-age for the character Hiccup, and his now fully trained dragon, Toothless.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Speech & Debate (stage play)

    CHICAGO – “Speech & Debate,” the latest production from the mighty Brown Paper Box Company, continues their tradition of thinking outside that “box” in presenting storefront theater that makes a statement and a difference. “Speech” goes inside America by showcasing the outsiders… those who create art because they can’t get it right in real life. This non-equity Chicago stage play premiere is finely tuned and wonderfully acted, and runs through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • We're Gonna Be Okay

    CHICAGO – The 1960s were a time of historical social transition. The movements – civil rights, feminist, gay rights – all had roots in that tumultuous decade. The Chicago premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s “We’re Gonna Be Okay” echoes all of those movements in its characters, and collides them against the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the American Theater Company through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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