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Entertainment News: Backstage at Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Toruk: The First Flight’

Toruk The First Flight

CHICAGO – The legend of “Avatar,” one of the most popular movies of all time, has expanded to the Cirque du Soleil creative universe. “Toruk: The First Flight” is the latest touring show for the iconic performance company, and tells the story of the flying creature from the original film. The show is at the United Center in Chicago, now through Sunday, August 7th. For more information, including ticket purchasing, click here.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away’ Renders Spectacle Incoherent

Cirque du Soleil Worlds Away Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Contrary to what James Cameron may have you believe, a 3D movie theater is not the best venue to showcase the super-human physical feats of Cirque du Soleil. In fact, it’s a pretty awful substitute for the visceral thrill of a live performance. The audience experiences it like an English-speaking agnostic attending a Latin mass—there’s plenty of loud pageantry on display, but none of it makes any sense.

Blu-ray Review: Beautifully Restored Edition of James Cameron’s ‘The Terminator’

The Terminator

CHICAGO – I have to admit that I greeted the new Blu-ray edition of James Cameron’s wildly-influential “The Terminator” with a raised eyebrow and heavy dose of skepticism. Another release for a movie that has hit the home market over and over again felt like a cash grab. A restoration? Sure. From the first minute, “The Terminator” feels new in this edition, a gorgeously remastered HD transfer of a genre classic.

Video Game Review: ‘Aliens: Colonial Marines’ Fails in Every Way

CHICAGO – How can something this hyped feel so rushed and blasé? Gearbox Software must be counting on the strong “Alien” franchise fanbase to carry sales but word of mouth is going to kill “Aliens: Colonial Marines” quicker than a Xenomorph can kill an unarmed civilian.

Blu-ray Review: Fantastic HD Set For James Cameron’s Beloved ‘Titanic’

Titanic

CHICAGO – Some snobby film fans like to use “Titanic” as a punchline almost as if it’s un-cool to love one of the biggest movies of all time. It’s not a “serious” movie, just a popular one. It’s total nonsense. There are awful popular films you can point to but “Titanic” is not one of them. It’s a damn good movie, the definitive modern romantic epic. And people still adore this movie with good reason. It taps into something classic in filmmaking. Last week, Paramount released a beautiful set for the film’s debut on Blu-ray and fans who have been clamoring to own this movie in HD for years will admit that it was worth the wait.

Film Review: Influential Filmmakers Discuss Digital Revolution in ‘Side by Side’

CHICAGO – We are at the tipping point of a technology that has been used for a hundred years to capture the moving image. Shooting on film is going away as more and more filmmakers use digital technology to tell their stories. How does this change the art form? Is it a creative new landscape or the death of something important?

Blu-ray Review: Awesome 5-Disc Set For ‘Terminator Anthology’

Terminator Anthology

CHICAGO – It’s incredibly easy to make jokes about the 3rd and 4th subpar films in the “Terminator Anthology” but that’s missing the point. Yes, the series goes downhill a bit after the amazing “T2” and slides even further in the pretty awful McG finale but collectors don’t care. This is a set, exclusive to Best Buy and the WB Online Shop, for true collectors, those of you who get excited for nifty packaging and the ability to hold a whole series in your hands. It’s a great box set even if not all four movies could correctly be called “great.”

Film Review: Emotionally Galvanizing ‘Titanic 3D’ Transcends Unnecessary Conversion

CHICAGO – It takes more than expensive effects, super-sized egos and exhaustive marketing campaigns to seduce the world. For all of its visual splendor, James Cameron’s “Avatar” has already evaporated from most moviegoers’ memories. Its derivative romance and preachy messages were stretched so thin that they failed to achieve any resonant impact.

Interviews, Opening This Week: Shannon Elizabeth in ‘American Reunion,’ Danny Nucci in ‘Titanic 3D’

Shannon Elizabeth, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – Two big openings this week include the re-release tomorrow of James Cameron’s “Titanic” – this time in 3D – and the highly anticipated “American Reunion,” which again brings together the stars of “American Pie.” Shannon Elizabeth is part of the Reunion, and Danny Nucci cruises on the mighty Titanic again.

Book Review: ‘Tales From Development Hell: The Greatest Movies Never Made?’

CHICAGO – There’s some incredible alternate universe in which Darren Aronofsky directed “Batman: Year One,” John Boorman made “The Lord of the Rings” (with The Beatles!!!), James Cameron filmed “Fantastic Voyage,” and Frank Darabont wrote the fourth “Indiana Jones” movie.

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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 3rd, 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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