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Film Review: Glaring Lack of Originality Handicaps ‘The Bad Batch’

Bad Batch, The

CHICAGO – Dystopia has been dissed out. Mining the negative vibe future world can’t seem to touch the rich creative vein any more and the reserves seem dry. Writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour may have an element within her interpretation that is hard core, but it’s not enough to understand the overall vision of her tomorrow world, except that we’re all part of “The Bad Batch.”

Interview, Audio: Director Ana Lily Amirpour Stirs up ‘The Bad Batch’

CHICAGO – The dystopia – or negative future world – is a genre staple, from “Soylent Green” to “Max Max.” The latest film to ponder the possibilities is “The Bad Batch,” from writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour. This is her sophomore feature, after “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” and features Suki Waterhouse in the lead role.

Film Review: ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ is a Worthy Addition

CHICAGO – I guess from now on, it will never be the holidays without a Star Wars movie, and why not? Every year, we’ll have a celebration with the ardent fans and characters that are one in that universe, “a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away.” For 2016, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

Film Review: ‘The Book of Life’ Has Uninspired Tale to Tell

CHICAGO – Unfortunately you can’t judge “The Book Of Life” by its cover. The movie draws on the fertile imagery of the Mexican “Day Of The Dead” to create its own animated world. The animation is excellent and the wooden characters seem to spring to life – but those performances are as wooden as a board.

Film Review: ‘Cesar Chavez’ is Stiff History of a Heroic Man

CHICAGO – How can one man bring down a ruthless industry? By building a union that never backs down, because he never backed down. ‘Cesar Chavez’ depicts the United Farm Workers union organizer in the 1960s who sought justice against virtual slave conditions for immigrant labor, assuring his place in history.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 25 Pairs of Passes to ‘Elysium’ with Matt Damon

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated sci-fi “Elysium” with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster from the director of “District 9”!

Blu-ray Review: Extended One-Joke of ‘Casa de mi Padre’ Gets Old Fast

Casa de mi Padre

CHICAGO – You have to admire the commitment to a goofy concept that allowed “Casa de mi Padre” to exist in the first place. The idea that Will Ferrell would star in a Spanish-language film about drug dealers and land control in Mexico and that the result would not only be subtitled but often remarkably straight-faced in its melodrama is conceptually hilarious. The actual product? Not quite as funny.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 5 ‘Contraband’ Blu-rays With Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale

Contraband Blu-ray with Mark Wahlberg

CHICAGO – In our latest action/crime edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Blu-ray, we have 5 Blu-rays up for grabs for the highly anticipated home entertainment release of “Contraband” starring Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale!

Film Review: Will Ferrell Experiments with Surreal ‘Casa de mi Padre’

CHICAGO – Will Ferrell can never be accused of sitting on his comic laurels, nor repeating himself. “Casa de mi Padre” is a complete set-in-Mexico Spanish language film, including Ferrell’s dialogue. Although uneven, it delivers such a peculiar vibe that it can’t help but be admired, at least for the effort.

Film Review: Mark Wahlberg’s ‘Contraband’ Steals Half Justice From Icelandic Conquest

CHICAGO – One way to craft an unforgettable, undeniably adept film is to make a new one. Hollywood views that as financially risky, though, and it often doesn’t happen without being based on a book with a built-in audience or a film that’s already an international box-office success.

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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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