Christoph Waltz

Film Review: The James Cameron Touch Creates ‘Alita: Battle Angel’

CHICAGO – The creation of new worlds has always been a mainstay of the cinema, virtually since it was invented. And whether you love or are indifferent to the films of James Cameron (“Titanic”), he remains one of the prime movers in advancing the creative tools of films. His influence is all over “Alita: Battle Angel.”

Film Review: Matt Damon in ‘Downsizing’ Offers Few Small Pleasures

CHICAGO – “Downsizing” is an interesting premise that doesn’t ultimately go anywhere interesting. Part of the problem is that writer/director Alexander Payne doesn’t seem to know what kind of a movie he wants it to be… it’s part cerebral Woody Allen futuristic comedy, part sci-fi social satire about Midwestern malaise, and winds up failing at both.

Film Feature: Bond, James Bond – Ranking the Bond Movies Worst to First, Including ‘Spectre’

CHICAGO – James Bond is back in his latest adventure, “Spectre,” but what about his movie life before this film? Spike Walters of HollywoodChicago.com ranks the 24 official James Bond films from worst to first, an overview of 007’s movie and cultural presence from 1962 through today.

Film Review: ‘Big Eyes’ Too Conventional to Generate Any Interest

Big Eyes

CHICAGO – What’s up with Tim Burton? His style is hardly present in the straightforward story of artists Margaret and Walter Keane, locked in a battle of creation over “Big Eyes” child paintings. There is nothing revelatory or even interesting in the process of their struggle of who-painted-what, maybe perhaps Burton – a collector of the art – wants to increase their value?

Film Review: Muppets Still Know How to Entertain in ‘Muppets Most Wanted’

CHICAGO – There is a comfort, like a favorite drink in a childhood mug, about Jim Henson’s legendary Muppets and their standard of entertainment and humor. It’s brilliant that Walt Disney Studios continues to understand what makes them work, producing their latest, “Muppets Most Wanted.”

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.

Film Review: Gorgeous Visuals Lift Mediocre Script of ‘Epic’

“Epic” is the best-looking 3D animated film since “How to Train Your Dragon”. From the very first scenes, it has a mesmerizing visual palette as the natural world comes to life in a way reminiscent of “The Lord of the Rings” and “Avatar.” It’s gorgeous. Sadly, the lurching, generic script doesn’t live up to the look of the film but it’s worth seeing just for the memorable visuals.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Grace, Or the Art of Climbing

    CHICAGO – What is life but a constant climb? The Brown Paper Box Co., one of the most vital storefront theater groups in Chicago, asks that question and more in the significant “Grace, Or the Art of Climbing.” Using a woman’s journey through some difficult situations, the parallels of “the climb” become a artfully performed story that is all inspiration and uplift. The play runs through July 7th, 2019, at Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District in Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Elizabeth Laidlaw

    CHICAGO – The recent limited series “The Red Line” on CBS-TV was notable for a couple elements – it was set in Chicago and it featured Chicago actors in major roles. Creators Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss (from here), cast their Chi-town colleague Elizabeth Laidlaw, who portrayed police officer “Vic” Renna.

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