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Gemma Arterton

Film Review: ‘Their Finest’ is British Filmmaking at Its Finest

Their Finest

CHICAGO – In a combined BBC Films, Welsh Government and Pinewood (London) Pictures production, the British-based “Their Finest” pairs England’s history with authentic and passionate romance, to create a sly and funny riff on propaganda films and the British movie industry during the early days of World War II.

What to Watch: Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2013

The Heat

CHICAGO – There are a few major comedies on New Releases shelves this week along with some interesting, smaller films and one of the most anticipated TV shows of 2013. What options are new in the world of Blu-ray, DVD, streaming and digital TV providers? Some of the most interesting and most unbearable comeedies of the year hit your home viewing radar. Here’s how to rank them from ha-ha to hateful.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Passes to ‘Runner Runner’ with Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated thrillerRunner Runner” starring Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck!

Film Review: Neil Jordan’s ‘Byzantium’ Feels Drained of Passion

CHICAGO – I’ve rarely said this about Neil Jordan movie – in fact, maybe never – but I was bored during his latest, the vampire drama “Byzantium,” a movie with an intriguing cast and interesting story but little in the way of passion, emotion, dread, or the other intangibles needed to make a horror film like this effective.

Blu-ray Review: Turgid ‘Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters’ Piles on the Gore

Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Witches were always my monster of choice as a child. Their façade of maternal warmth that routinely gave way to fiendish malice was both scary and oddly funny. Actresses love playing this archetype because it allows them to break all the rules followed by photogenic starlets. The fun had by everyone in a witch’s cape—from Margaret Hamilton to Angelica Huston—is timelessly infectious.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of IMAX Passes to ‘Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters’

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of IMAX movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the new action/fantasy “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” starring Jeremy Renner!

DVD Review: ‘Tamara Drewe’ Charms, Exasperates in Equal Measure

Tamara Drewe DVD

CHICAGO – A simple glance at the trailer and poster for “Tamara Drewe” would lead one to assume that the film was a showcase for the largely untapped abilities of Gemma Arterton. At age 25, she’s already been wasted in three regrettable Hollywood blockbusters, emerging as little more than a low-rent Rachel Weisz. Her strong work in British productions like “The Disappearance of Alice Creed” suggests that she may merely be miscast.

DVD Review: ‘The Disappearance of Alice Creed’ Holds Interest Despite Flaws

The Disappearance of Alice Creed DVD

CHICAGO – There is no doubt that Gemma Arterton is a pretty face. Her natural beauty is so intoxicating that it nearly always upstages whatever talent may reside beneath her scintillating surface. Her aggressively bland work in mediocre action fare like “Clash of the Titans” and “Prince of Persia” had convinced me that she was nothing more than a non-thinking man’s Rachel Weisz.

Film Review: Gemma Arterton Displays Luminosity as ‘Tamara Drewe’

Tamara Drewe, Gemma Arterton

CHICAGO – There are some movies that are gut level great because of plot, atmosphere and pacing, and then there are movies like “Tamara Drewe,” which rely on the elusive star power of the performer to drive its engine. Gemma Arterton portrays the title character and lights up the screen with a vivid presence in this simple story of a woman’s homecoming.

Interview: Director Stephen Frears on His Vision For ‘Tamara Drewe’

CHICAGO – Director Stephen Frears is a storytelling legend who sneaks up on us. Besides his new film “Tamara Drewe,” which played at this year’s Chicago International Film Festival, Frears has a filmography that includes “The Queen,” “Mrs. Henderson Presents,” “High Fidelity,” “The Snapper,” “Hero,” “Prick Up Your Ears” and “My Beautiful Laundrette.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

  • They're Playing Our Song

    CHICAGO – During the late disco era of the 1970s, an unusual musical opened on Broadway. Essentially a two person stage play, “They’re Playing Our Song” involved a songwriter and a lyricist who develop a stronger connection than just writing partners. The always passionate Brown Paper Box Co. of Chicago has unearthed this chestnut with a bright and fun revival at the Rivendell Theatre through August 20th, 2017.

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