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Derek Luke

Film Review: ‘Baggage Claim’ is Equivalent of a Crash Landing

CHICAGO – Experiencing an unfunny comedy is one of the most painful time wasters in the movie going adventure – not only will that time never come back, but wanting to laugh when no motivation for hilarity is produced is like having eternal hiccups. “Baggage Claim” (hic) is (hic) that (hic) sort of movie.

Film Review: ‘Sparkle’ is Dull for Whitney Houston Swan Song

CHICAGO – Given the shocking circumstances of Whitney Houston’s passing, it is a bit disconcerting to see her vibrantly alive again in the new film “Sparkle.” However, if she was still with us, this trifling and dull film would soon be forgotten. Jordan Sparks, Derek Luke and Carmen Ejogo co-star.

Interview: Jordin Sparks Moves to the Spotlight in ‘Sparkle’

CHICAGO – Stepping up from American Idol winner to a major film lead role looks smooth and easy for Jordin Sparks. She won Idol in 2007, released a couple of multi-platinum albums, and now plays the title character in “Sparkle,” which also has the final on-screen performance of Whitney Houston. It all seems natural for this major talent.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 30 Pairs of Passes to ‘Sparkle’ With Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 30 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of “Sparkle” starring Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks and Cee Lo Green!

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ Just Misses Target

Captain America

CHICAGO – Even the name makes it sound like a prequel. There are definitely elements of Joe Johnston’s “Captain America: The First Avenger” that work and the film is certainly worth a rental and certainly better than “Green Lantern” (although nowhere near the entertainment value of “X-Men: First Class”) but I can’t shake the feeling that this blockbuster won’t stand the test of time on its own. It’s an introduction to next year’s “The Avengers,” a way to get the character into the modern Marvel vernacular, that gets less interesting as it goes along. It is very likely that both Joss Whedon’s film and the inevitable sequel to this one will be superior pieces of entertainment but this “First” chapter is a bit of a disappointment.

DVD Review: First Season of NBC Medical Dramas ‘Mercy,’ ‘Trauma’

Mercy: The Complete Series

CHICAGO – It must have been rough to be on the NBC drama team in the fall of 2010. The network brass made it crystal clear that they cared little about scripted drama when they handed over five nights a week to Jay Leno, but the producers of the network’s two new medical dramas “Mercy” and “Trauma” had to push forward with their programs despite the diminishing reputation of their home. Both series made it through the first year but neither graduated to a second season. See what you probably missed with “Mercy: The Complete Series” and “Trauma: Season 1.”

TV Review: NBC’s ‘Trauma’ on Ratings Life Support

Trauma

CHICAGO – The head-on collision with “The Jay Leno Show” has decimated nearly everything on NBC and it’s going to be a long, uphill climb for it to return to ratings respectability. Even relatively acclaimed new shows like “Parenthood” are struggling as viewers left the peacock net and seem unwilling to return. The already ratings-challenged “Trauma” returns tonight, March 15th, 2010, in an effort to stop the bleeding.

TV Review: NBC Delivers Medical Action With Excellent ‘Trauma’

Trauma

CHICAGO – The wave of new fall shows is coming to an end this week with so many shows having debuted to date that we’ve already had our first cancellation of the season (The CW’s horrible “The Beautiful Life). But NBC has saved one of the best for last in “Trauma,” an expertly produced and acted series that stands as the most promising of the three new medical series this season and arguably the show with the most long-term potential, period.

Blu-Ray, DVD Round Up, July 3, 2009: ‘Madea Goes to Jail,’ ‘Spaceballs’

Spaceballs

CHICAGO – The Round-Up is back to provide our loyal readers with synopsis and feature details on a few titles that may have slipped on to DVD or Blu-Ray under your radar but might make the right purchase choice this holiday weekend.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

  • They're Playing Our Song

    CHICAGO – During the late disco era of the 1970s, an unusual musical opened on Broadway. Essentially a two person stage play, “They’re Playing Our Song” involved a songwriter and a lyricist who develop a stronger connection than just writing partners. The always passionate Brown Paper Box Co. of Chicago has unearthed this chestnut with a bright and fun revival at the Rivendell Theatre through August 20th, 2017.

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