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Dennis Haysbert

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.

Film Review: ‘Ted 2’ is a Funnier Film Than it Deserves to Be

CHICAGO – While it’s cruder and it can’t quite match the original “Ted,” “Ted 2” is still funnier than it has any right to be. It is unmistakably a Seth MacFarlane production, and there are a million reasons why this movie shouldn’t work, chief among them a plot that attempts to plop a foul mouthed talking teddy bear into a moralistic legal parable about civil rights. But I can’t deny I laughed throughout, almost despite myself.

Interview: Director Justin Simien Reflects on ‘Dear White People’

CHICAGO – Some say, to use a FOX News term, that America is “post-racial.” The election of Barack Obama is supposed to have ended the debate on race, and any marginalization because of race. Of course, that is not possible in society and culture, and it’s articulated in writer/director Justin Simien’s new film, “Dear White People.”

Film Review: Hilarious, Fun Date Movie ‘Think Like a Man Too’

CHICAGO – Date night at the movies has a new alternative to the summer sci-fi and animation with “Think Like a Man Too.” The sequel to the popular first film has a burst of creative juice from an energetic cast, and dares to do something different with the bachelor party in Las Vegas theme.

Interview: Kevin Hart Leads the Crew in ‘Think Like a Man Too’

CHICAGO – Sequels just need a dose of energy and creativity, and then they work. The cast of “Think Like a Man Too” – including Kevin Hart, Regina Hall and Terrence Jenkins – provide that energy, as the gang from the first film heads to Las Vegas for a competing bachelor and bachelorette parties. The audience wins that contest.

Blu-ray Review: Office Comedy ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ Has a Case of the Mondays

Welcome to the Jungle

CHICAGO – Without rescue of a creative joke in sight, “Welcome to the Jungle” eventually devolves into an unsavory mash of “The Office” meets “Lord of the Flies”. Adam Brody’s Chris Myers is the lead character in a cube monkey’s generic fantasy, of which this film treats with a checklist. The attractive and amiable office mate (played by Megan Boone of Chicago Film Critics Festival favorite “Leave Me Like You Found Me”) is to be wooed, a manchild boss (Rob Huebel) is to be dethroned from his ego, and a world of freedom is to be revealed for those who have imprisoned themselves to 9-5 pressures.

Film Review: ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ Hindered by Extra Sidekick

CHICAGO – Talking dogs have been around for decades in animated movies and television shows, especially the anthropomorphized kind. From the superhero antics of Underdog to the biting sarcasm from the likes of Brian from “Family Guy” - take your pick and you can find a dog to your liking. I always took a shine to Mr. Peabody, the intelligent and resourceful beagle with a penchant for puns.

Film Review: Common Delivers Best Work to Date in Problematic ‘LUV’

LUV Film Review

CHICAGO – Assigned the role of World’s Worst Father Figure, Common delivers a performance so compelling that it nearly makes Sheldon Candis’ blood-soaked odyssey worth the trip. Nearly, however, is the key word. For all of it merits, this picture derails into a ditch of heavy-handed implausibility at the precise moment when it should be soaring.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.

  • 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.

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