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Film Review: Fantasy & Feelings Comingle in ‘A Monster Calls’

Monster Calls, A

CHICAGO – The nature of dying, especially in process with a close loved one, is a testing ground for unwieldy and alien emotions. When, why and how we’re challenged does not have a timetable, nor a convenience. All of this is played out as fantasy in the vital “A Monster Calls.”

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: ‘Inferno’ Was Damned From The Start

CHICAGO – You can’t keep a good conspiracy down. Tom Hanks returns to a role we thought had joined the pages of history his character was so eager to uncover. Like the previous films in the franchise, “Inferno” promises to deliver a new problem to solve even though they never attempt to fix any of the cinematic and narrative flaws from its past.

Film Review: ‘True Story’ Just Leaves a False Impression

True Story

CHICAGO – Sometimes, just casting a film with “names” is not enough to make it work. Jonah Hill and James Franco play cat-and-mouse for 100 minutes in “True Story,” but the narrative, the structure and their own inability to communicate their characters conspired against the overall experience.

Film Review: Heartfelt Tale of Human Needs in ‘The Theory of Everything’

CHICAGO – The life story of iconic physicist Stephen Hawking is given a well-deserved cinematic treatment this weekend with “The Theory of Everything,” an earnest presentation of an existence that defies the usual.

Interview: Eddie Redmayne Explains ‘The Theory of Everything’

CHICAGO – Portraying Stephen Hawking, as Eddie Redmayne did in “The Theory of Everything,” required an intense physicality and emotionalism that was projected from different angles, much more challenging than a usual biographical role. In this instance, Redmayne projects the feeling of Hawking’s time and space.

Film Review: ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ Can’t Find Its Swing

CHICAGO – “The Amazing Spider-man 2” continues what has become the J.V. Team of super-hero film franchises. The building blocks are there for success, but the talent on the field isn’t capable of pulling it off. Like it’s predecessor, this sequel does not aim to entertain and create a lasting impression, instead it aims to stave off boredom for just long enough.

Film Review: Big Spectacle, Small Heart in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’

CHICAGO – For a film with so much eye candy that it threatens ocular diabetes, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is decidedly low in story rhythm and energy – even with a villain named Electro. The story also has the “three villain syndrome,” which allows for a lack of focus and heart.

Film Review: Mediated Performances Highlight Alternative Story of Charles Dickens’ Personal Life

The Invisible Woman
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

After years of enlivening adapted work in front of the camera and on the stage, only recently has the prolific actor Ralph Fiennes taken to directing films; in 2011 he gave the world a version of Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus,” which included the odd treat of watching Gerard Butler espouse the Bard’s words from his mouth, and a sporadically-lauded performance from Vanessa Redgrave.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Downward Dog

    CHICAGO – From “Mr. Ed” to “Dog with a Blog,” talking animals have had their place on TV. The latest has origins as a web series, with the clever title “Downward Dog.” The show premieres on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 (9:30pEST/8:30pCST), on ABC TV, and features Ned the Dog as Martin, and human companions portrayed by Allison Tolman and Lucas Neff.

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.

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