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Jacki Weaver

Film Review: Melissa McCarthy is the Charming ‘Life of the Party’

CHICAGO – Melissa McCarthy is a comedic force to be reckoned with, able to wring laughs improbably out of the stingiest of material. She always manages to find the funny, which helps elevate everyone around her, and so she slips easily in the durable friendly constructs of the campus comedy in “Life Of The Party.”

Interview, Audio: Veteran Screenwriters of ‘The Disaster Artist’

CHICAGO – The screenwriting team of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber have had many adventures plying their trade, ever since their breakthrough “500 Days of Summer” in 2009. Their latest assignment was adapting “The Disaster Artist” for director and lead actor James Franco.

Film Review: Funny ‘The Disaster Artist’ Takes Us Back to ‘The Room’

CHICAGO – “The Room” is a post-millennial cult movie that plays the midnight and college movie circuit, entertaining audiences with its sheer badness. Its story is told in the “The Disaster Artist,” featuring James Franco as the director of “The Room,” and he also directed the film. Very meta.

Film Review: ‘Magic in the Moonlight’ is Woody Allen By the Book

CHICAGO – After last year’s powerful “Blue Jasmine,” writer/director Woody Allen’s trajectory seemed destined toward another film masterpiece, but “Magic in the Moonlight” isn’t it. Colin Firth and Emma Stone are an unlikely pairing in this seen-it-before-Woody film trifle.

Blu-ray Review: Oscar-Winning Crowd-Pleaser ‘Silver Linings Playbook’

Silver Linings Playbook

CHICAGO – They often say that a movie is written three times - on paper, on film, and in the editing bay. Look no further for this truth than the deleted scenes from “Silver Linings Playbook,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. While some of the scenes are fun and allow Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro more chances to shine, I would argue that all 26 minutes of them were correctly cut. If they hadn’t been, the movie’s not an Oscar winner.

Film Review: Mia Wasikowska Finds Trippy Mystery in ‘Stoker’

CHICAGO – There is cause and effect in life, and there are times when random acts of circumstance rinses it all away. Those emotions are realized in the strange yet compelling composition of the new film “Stoker,” featuring Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, and Matthew Goode.

Film Review: Amazing Ensemble Rewrites ‘Silver Linings Playbook’

CHICAGO – It’s funny that a movie with the word “Playbook” in its title is so clearly about how those of us who think we know exactly where life is taking us are merely kidding ourselves. Like so many of us, the hero of “Silver Linings Playbook,” Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper), has a plan to find happiness, to find his silver lining.

Film Review: Darkly Comic Jason Segel in ‘The Five-Year Engagement’

CHICAGO – There are some major laughs in “The Five-Year Engagement,” good old fashion you-can’t-breathe laughs. But is it also dark and serious at times, and makes some surprising contemporary statements regarding coupling. Jason Segel and Emily Blunt portray the engaged couple.

DVD Review: Excellent ‘Animal Kingdom’ Features Oscar-Nominated Performance

Animal Kingdom

CHICAGO – One of the most wonderful nominations on Oscar morning this year was that of the great Jacki Weaver for the movie that most “E!”-watchers probably had never even heard of — “Animal Kingdom.” This searing crime thriller barely found an audience when it was released in art houses but should get a nice boost from the Academy and was just released on DVD last week, Jan. 18, 2011.

Film Feature: The Best Supporting Performances of 2010

CHICAGO – It started with the best lead performances of 2010 yesterday and now we naturally move on to many of the stars who made those lead turns possible. For what is a great lead performance without the supporting ones that got it there? These were the MVPs of 2010 who may have allowed others to take the spotlight but also made it shine so much brighter.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Jesus Christ Superstar, Lyric Opera

    CHICAGO – As a wee lad, I would often go into my parent’s record collection. One day, out of the blue, that brown double album with the gold embossed angels appeared, like a gift from the divine. “Jesus Christ Superstar” began as a record album “rock opera” in 1970, evolved to a Broadway show and film, and then was interpreted through a myriad of stage revivals over the years. The latest is an exciting piece of stagecraft at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The show has a various evening/matinee run through May 20th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Cornerstone, Nothing Without a Company

    CHICAGO – We all need some help. The stage play group Nothing Without a Company realizes that, and has collaborated with the organization “Cornerstone” to provide that assistance. Cornerstone is a seminar and a happening in downtown Chicago, facilitated by “experts” to generate your potential. The presentation has a Thursday-Sunday run at Michigan Avenue’s Artspace 8 through May 6th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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