Eva Green

Film Review: Tim Burton’s Version of ‘Dumbo’ is Disappointingly Glum

CHICAGO – For reasons which remain unexplained, Walt Disney Studios and director Tim Burton have decided to weigh down the sweet story of a flying elephant with a whole pachyderm’s worth of pathos. The animated original clocked in as one of Disney’s shortest full length animated features. But the live action version drags us through nearly an extra hour’s worth of post-World War One misery.

Film Review: ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ Breaks No New Ground

CHICAGO – When the first “Sin City” (2005) was released – based on the graphic novels by Frank Miller – the conversion of a film to a noir-like comic book atmosphere was pioneering. The sequel “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” has heightened that look, but this time has much less to say.

Film Review: ‘300: Rise of an Empire’ Gets Its 3D War On

CHICAGO – The rewriting of history in comic book movie form – not that’s anything wrong with that – continues with “300: Rise of an Empire.” Ancient wars are brought to life through a combination of mythology, six-pack abs, 3D blood spurts and comprehensive special effects, which can be better than history.

Blu-ray Review: Tim Burton’s ‘Dark Shadows’ Stages Toothless Vampire Satire

Dark Shadows Blu-ray

CHICAGO – “Dark Shadows” flops on the screen like an undead fish out of water. It doesn’t have one ounce of the spontaneity or style that made the work of its director, Tim Burton, or its star, Johnny Depp, so irresistible during their hot streak of the ’90s. The was back when Burton/Depp collaborations promised something more than peerless production values and morbid variations on familiar themes.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Perfect Sense’ Offers Drab Yet Touching Metaphor for Death

Perfect Sense Blu-ray

CHICAGO – For a film that promises steamy scenes between two stars who share a fearlessness for performing in the nude, “Perfect Sense” is a doozy of a downer. It’s a fine showcase for the oft-underutilized talents of Ewan McGregor and Eva Green, but the plot is one slow descent toward doom that leaves viewers with very little to contemplate besides the sickening tragedy of death.

Film Review: Keep Tim Burton’s ‘Dark Shadows’ Out of the Light

CHICAGO – Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows” is one of the most inconsistent and frustrating major films in a long time. There are elements here and there that work but Burton and writer Seth Grahame-Smith seem incapable of figuring out how to wrangle them into a coherent, successful film.

Blu-Ray Review: STARZ Originals ‘Camelot,’ ‘Spartacus: Gods of the Arena’

Spartacus Gods of the Arena Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – One of the most popular opinions among modern audiences is the notion that television shows have become consistently better than films. This is partly because many of the year’s best movies are relegated to urban art houses, while shows like “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” are available on small screens nationwide. Yet I’d argue that there’s just as much derivative dreck on TV as there is in mainstream multiplexes.

TV Review: Eva Green, Joseph Fiennes Anchor Escapist ‘Camelot’

CHICAGO – Starz Channel’s “Camelot” is an attempt to cash in on the same success that the network found with “Spartacus” and it almost works to provide a similar level of Friday night escapism, mostly delivering just that with an adult version of Arthur, Merlin, and the Knights of the Round Table.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Grace, Or the Art of Climbing

    CHICAGO – What is life but a constant climb? The Brown Paper Box Co., one of the most vital storefront theater groups in Chicago, asks that question and more in the significant “Grace, Or the Art of Climbing.” Using a woman’s journey through some difficult situations, the parallels of “the climb” become a artfully performed story that is all inspiration and uplift. The play runs through July 7th, 2019, at Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District in Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Elizabeth Laidlaw

    CHICAGO – The recent limited series “The Red Line” on CBS-TV was notable for a couple elements – it was set in Chicago and it featured Chicago actors in major roles. Creators Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss (from here), cast their Chi-town colleague Elizabeth Laidlaw, who portrayed police officer “Vic” Renna.

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