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Frances McDormand

Film Review: ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ Examines Our Violence

CHICAGO - Film is often an expression of our society, either as a depiction of how it really is or how it should be. Few films are as daring as Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” which isn’t afraid to show us the state of our society and offer a realistic solution through a grim drama that is as humorous as it is devastating.

Film Review: ‘Hail, Caesar!’ is Coen Bros. Excellence for Movie Lovers

CHICAGO – Writer/directors Joel and Ethan Coen love the movies, and that love is magnificently played out in “Hail, Caesar!” As they riff on religion, geopolitics and 1950s morality, while wonderfully celebrating and spoofing an era in movies that will never be again, the Coens abide and deliver.

Film Review: ‘The Good Dinosaur’ is Pixar Studio’s Most Ordinary Film

Good Dinosaur, The

CHICAGO – The animation in Pixar Studio’s latest feature ,“The Good Dinosaur,” is nothing short of extraordinary. At times throughout the film, the images looked like they came right out of National Geographic, and I truly couldn’t believe i was watching animation. However, this delightful animation is in service to an undistinguished prehistoric buddy comedy that wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of “The Flintstones.”

Blu-ray Review: ‘Promised Land’ Leaves Potential of Premise Unrealized

Promised Land Blu-ray

CHICAGO – When a film promises to tackle a timely topic like fracking, it has raised the bar of expectations considerably. Sure, the filmmakers don’t need to take a stand on the issues they raise, but they have an obligation to explore them with some level of depth or insight. Otherwise, they risk getting charged with committing a “bait and switch,” and that’s precisely what Gus Van Sant’s “Promised Land” does.

Film Review: Gus Van Sant’s ‘Promised Land’ Breaks Promise to Audiences

CHICAGO – When a Gus Van Sant picture works well, it can be as rousing as “Milk” or as thrillingly experimental as “Elephant.”

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Passes to ‘Promised Land’ With Matt Damon

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of “Promised Land” with Matt Damon from “Good Will Hunting” director Gus Van Sant!

Film Review: Strange, Beguiling Sean Penn in ‘This Must Be the Place’

CHICAGO – Sean Penn picks his roles carefully, and famously said he didn’t know what the story meant in “Tree of Life.” His attachment to “This Must Be the Place” continues the vague journey through movieland, as he plays a bizarre and aging rock star whose life is about to get interesting.

Blu-ray Review: Modest Release For Surprisingly Fun ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’

Madagascar 3

CHICAGO – An injection of A-list voice talent (including Bryan Cranston, Martin Short, Frances McDormand, and Jessica Chastain) along with a new setting proves to be just what the “Madagascar” franchise needed. “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” is the best of the three films, a fun, clever ride that works for both kids and adults. While the past two films had tons of bonus material with their Blu-ray releases, this one’s a little lackluster. But the movie itself should make thousands of wee ones happy this holiday season.

Blu-ray Review: Wes Anderson’s Brilliant ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ Given Average Release

Moonrise Kingdom

CHICAGO – Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” was a surprising delight in theaters this past Summer but it seems even more effective at home where one can approach this excellent comedy on an intimate, personal level. Perhaps it’s because so much of “Moonrise” plays like old home movies or long-lost memories of youth that the film holds up so well on repeat viewing. Sadly, the Blu-ray release is woefully underwhelming with a great Bill Murray commercial but little else in terms of special features.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 10th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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