Elizabeth Banks

Film Review: ‘The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part’ is Flat Out Funny

CHICAGO – There are two things I love as a film observer. The pretty colors of modern animation … and to laugh. I got both in the appropriately titled “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.” Picking up where the first first left off, the gang of Lego brick figures, including Emmet, Wyldstyle and Batman, have a new adventure.

Film Review: ‘The Happytime Murders’ Shoots Its Wad Too Early

CHICAGO – The most noteworthy feature of the puppet-noir comedy “The Happytime Murders” is its use of felt and fluff for nefarious ends, and while that’s not exactly new, there’s no reason it shouldn’t work. But the movie shoots its wad early, and doesn’t have much imagination after that beyond turning silly string into a bodily fluid.

Film Review: ‘Power Rangers’ Reboot is a Stunning Bore

CHICAGO – The big budget “Power Rangers” reboot tests the limits of just how pedestrian a supposed $100 million dollar blockbuster can be. Part of that is due to the fact that superhero movies are a dime a dozen these days, and a movie has to have something more than just silver screen quality special effects to set it apart.

Film Review: Grim Conclusion for ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2’

CHICAGO – This has to be what the filmmakers intended when they split the final book of the “Hunger Games” series into two films. While “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1” was all set up, Part 2 doesn’t just lead up to a huge climax.

Film Review: Nichely Entertaining ‘Magic Mike XXL’ a Substanceless Soft Porn

Magic Mike XXL with Channing Tatum

CHICAGO – You know those amateur porns with no-name actors that use cheesy dialogue in between the sex scenes those viewers simply want? You never expect a real story or actually developed characters because it’s a collection of sex scenes. It’s not a real, you know, movie.

Interview: Jada Pinkett Smith Plays Host in ‘Magic Mike XXL’

CHICAGO – Jada Pinkett Smith was doing it her way long before she became half of one of Hollywood’s biggest power couples. From modest beginnings, she worked her way up through the entertainment ranks on television, movies and in a metal band (more on that below). She portrays Rome in the sequel “Magic Mike XXL.”

Film Review: Brian Wilson Redeems His Soul in ‘Love & Mercy’

CHICAGO – Brian Wilson has been called one of the greatest songwriters in popular music history. His tonality and approach towards his best compositions have been studied like Mozart. In “Love & Mercy,” we see that the thing that made Wilson great also had the power to destroy him.

Interview: John Cusack Channels Brian Wilson in ‘Love & Mercy’

CHICAGO – John Cusack has never rested on his laurels, which are many in his film career, nor stood still as an artist or an actor. His latest film is the magnificent “Love & Mercy,” in which he portrays music legend Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys as a middle aged man, trying to break free of the circumstances in his life.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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