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Dean Norris

Film Review: ‘Beirut’ is a Superbly Tense Geopolitical Thriller

CHICAGO – The psychological desperation of life-or-death decisions are in play within “Beirut,” the new geopolitical thriller featuring Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”). The various mazes within the story, set during the Lebanon civil war of the 1980s, is comparative to “Casablanca,” especially through the world-weary expression of Hamm’s character.

Film Review: Vigilante Overkill Defines Ultra-Violent ‘Death Wish’

CHICAGO – Man, talk about bad timing. With the Stoneman Douglas shootings still making news, America will now entertain itself with a vigilante doctor shooting anything he sees? Yeesh. Bruce Willis is game in the watchable-but-ultra-violent “Death Wish.”

Film Review: ‘The Book of Henry’ Generates a Different Story Vibe

Book of Henry, The

CHICAGO – There are some total exasperations in “The Book of Henry”… numerous ones that are almost deal breakers. But somehow, some way, the strange twists and ideas take over, and the film becomes fable-like, examining a different line of story elements that switch from one character to another. Director Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic Park” reboot) reveals a love in what he is doing in this film, and that also counts for something.

Film Review: Report Card on ‘Fist Fight’ is a Failing Grade

CHICAGO – “Fist Fight” is such a thin premise it can’t even sustain its own two minute trailer, much less a feature length film. That premise, what there is of it, is simple – English teacher (Charlie Day) and History Teacher (Ice Cube) get involved in an altercation with a student on the last day of class, at a failing high school known for senior pranks.

Blu-ray Review: Stale Screen Culture Drama ‘Men, Women & Children’

Men, Women & Children with Kaitlyn Dever

CHICAGO – In “Men, Women & Children,” director Jason Reitman not-so-audaciously reflects onto viewers their world of silent screens and awkward impersonal interactions. As many stories (“Don Jon,” “Disconnect”) have taken on the torch of showing how we are, gasp! — connected to the world yet disconnected from those close to us — Reitman’s tale is just another one for the batch.

TV Review: Stephen King’s ‘Under the Dome’ Shows Promise on CBS

CHICAGO – Stephen King’s “Under the Dome” would have likely been a standard mini-series back in the day when such a thing happened on the networks in iterations like “It,” “The Stand,” and “Storm of the Century.” In a time when network mini-series are a lost form, CBS has taken the daring move of turning King’s book into a fully-formed, 13-episode Summer series, with the door apparently open for more beyond this initial arc.

TV Review: ‘Breaking Bad’ Picks Up Right Where it Left Off

CHICAGO – One of my favorite things about “Breaking Bad,” the best drama on television by quite a critical distance, is the way writers play with time. One episode can take place over a few days while another very important week on the calendar may take up half a season just to get through its intense action.

DVD Review: Incredible Fourth Season of AMC Hit ‘Breaking Bad’

Breaking Bad: S4

CHICAGO – In a great year for television, one that saw the premieres of “Game of Thrones” & “Homeland” and amazing seasons for “Louie,” “Community,” “Parks & Recreation,” and much more, one might think that it would be tough for a TV critic to choose the best show of 2011. It was incredibly easy. Nothing topped the fourth season of “Breaking Bad,” one of the best single seasons of television in the last twenty years and now available on Blu-ray and DVD.

Blu-Ray Review: Fantastic AMC Show ‘Breaking Bad’

Breaking Bad

CHICAGO – The Emmy-winning AMC series “Breaking Bad” may not be the cultural phenomenon that is the network’s “Mad Men” but it has just as loyal a following and a growing group of fans who are realizing that this drama is easily as good and arguably better. Scary, funny, dramatic, and honestly moving, “Breaking Bad” is remarkable television that pulls off that amazing trick of feeling both genuine and completely original at the same time. The first two seasons are now available on Blu-ray and should not be missed.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Jesus Christ Superstar, Lyric Opera

    CHICAGO – As a wee lad, I would often go into my parent’s record collection. One day, out of the blue, that brown double album with the gold embossed angels appeared, like a gift from the divine. “Jesus Christ Superstar” began as a record album “rock opera” in 1970, evolved to a Broadway show and film, and then was interpreted through a myriad of stage revivals over the years. The latest is an exciting piece of stagecraft at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The show has a various evening/matinee run through May 20th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Cornerstone, Nothing Without a Company

    CHICAGO – We all need some help. The stage play group Nothing Without a Company realizes that, and has collaborated with the organization “Cornerstone” to provide that assistance. Cornerstone is a seminar and a happening in downtown Chicago, facilitated by “experts” to generate your potential. The presentation has a Thursday-Sunday run at Michigan Avenue’s Artspace 8 through May 6th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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