Dominic West

Film Review: Keira Knightley is Ahead of Her Times as ‘Colette’

Colette

CHICAGO – The maturation of Keira Knightley… from ‘Bend it Like Beckham” to “Pride and Prejudice” to the current “Colette,” has had the actor delivering an evolving depth and purpose to her roles. The latest is a fantastic overview of an ahead-of-her-time French novelist, as the rest of society tried to catch up.

Film Review: Alicia Vikander Has a Case of the Runs in ‘Tomb Raider’

CHICAGO – Movies based on video games are almost never good… even the best ones only ascend to the level of “barely watchable.” By that measure, “Tomb Raider” can be considered a modest success since it didn’t make me want to claw my eyes out. I have to confess I never saw either of the first two films with Angelina Jolie, but after watching this I’m not actually clamoring at the bit to catch up.

Film Review: Art & Real World Taken to Task in Angular ‘The Square’

Square, The

CHICAGO – Recently, the record for highest bid ever on a work of art was shattered – $450 million for Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvador Mundi’ – and the ownership of a canvas, for the price of supporting a small country, calls into question the meaning of art and collecting. All of this, and everything more, is generated in the cinematic rendering of “The Square.”

Film Review: Approach of ‘Money Monster’ is Pure Fraud

CHICAGO – In our society there is one eternal truth…the rich will ALWAYS win, that’s one of the reasons that they are rich. So when “Money Monster” attempts to take them down a peg with a ridiculous fantasy story, it’s as fraudulent as what they think they’re bringing down. An oligarch watches this, and laughs at us.

Blu-ray Review: Deadly Dull Thriller ‘The Awakening’ Lulls Audience to Sleep

The Awakening Blu-ray

CHICAGO – In contrast with the other subpar supernatural blockbusters released last August, Nick Murphy’s “The Awakening” lacks the cheesy thrills of “The Possession” and the hilarious ineptitude of “The Apparition.” Instead, it’s a humorless and ponderous bore buoyed only slightly by its vivid lead performance from Rebecca Hall, a supremely gifted character actress who has yet to receive the cinematic showcase she deserves.

Film Review: ‘The Awakening’ with Rebecca Hall Will Put You to Sleep

The Awakening

CHICAGO – There a lot of sighs and longing looks in the new horror film “The Awakening” (and good luck trying to distinguish between the generically-titled “The Apparition,” “The Possession,” and this one — all in theaters). This disappointing attempt at an atmospheric ghost story tries to tell a tale that first feels like a haunting from within.

Blu-ray Review: ‘John Carter’ Doesn’t Deserve Punchline Status But Does Miss Its Mark

John Carter with Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins

CHICAGO – I approached “John Carter” on Blu-ray expecting to fall strongly on either side of the debate surrounding one of the biggest bombs of 2012. The cyclical nature of entertainment journalism means everything that faces as much critical derision as “Carter” did when it hit theaters is likely to get a camp of loyal devotees before long and I had heard from several people that Andrew Stanton’s film wasn’t actually all that bad. It’s not. But it’s not good either. It’s just there. There are elements that work, for sure, but the thin storytelling and characters for whom it’s simply impossible to care about make it more lackluster than anything else.

Slideshow: 21 Official Photos From Disney’s ‘John Carter’ With Taylor Kitsch

| Image 1 of 21 |

CHICAGO – Coming on March 9th is one of the more anticipated action films of 2012. Walt Disney presents “John Carter,” featuring Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, Samantha Morton, Clarán Hinds and Bryan Cranston. The story is based on a 100 year old series of novels by “Tarzan” creator Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Blu-Ray Review: Incredible Cast Elevates BBC’s ‘The Hour’

The Hour

CHICAGO – “The Hour” recently finished its run on BBC America and was very quickly released on Blu-ray from BBC and Warner Bros. The quick turnaround is a brilliant move on the part of the company, striking while the iron is hot if you will. If they released “The Hour” in 6 to 9 months it wouldn’t have the same impact. Now, people talk about having watched the show to their friends and they can go out and see what the buzz is about for themselves. I’m surprised more studios don’t follow the same pattern.

TV Review: Strong Cast Keeps BBC America’s ‘The Hour’ Fresh

CHICAGOBBC America’s “The Hour,” debuting tomorrow night, August 17th, 2011, is a well-produced, well-acted, well-conceived piece that’s just…well. It’s a great piece of drama to use as an example as to how quality television is more than just the sum of its parts.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Little Women: The Musical

    CHICAGO – The story of “Little Women,” by Louisa May Alcott, has been an American institution since its publication in 1869. The story of four girls-to-little-women during the American Civil War, with their indomitable mother holding down the household while their father is away in the war, was a perfect candidate to become a Broadway musical. The Brown Paper Box Co. (BPBCo) is currently presenting a brilliant adaptation of that musical for the storefront stage, and its emotion, music craft and energy is nothing sort of a triumph… this small theater company that could does it again. The show has various evening/matinee performances at the The Strawdog Theatre in Chicago through February 9th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Deadbeat2

    CHICAGO – Not many web series start out as music videos, but the new online (YouTube) drama “Deadbeat 2” was just that. Created, written and directed by Danny Froze, the made-in-Chicago story recently premiered episodes five and six in the series, which features actor Kiwaun Stoutmire in the lead role of Ronnie.

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