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James D’Arcy

Film Review: Heroics of ‘Dunkirk’ Portrayed Ardently & Humanely

CHICAGO – War is hell, even in “The Good War.” The early days of World War II were a desperate time for the British, and the events of “Dunkirk” were largely about loss, yet mostly about inspiration. Director Christopher Nolan gives his film a grand cinematic treatment, evoking an era that has mostly faded away.

Film Review: ‘Let’s Be Cops’ Unoriginally Repeats Old Formulas

Let's Be Cops 3

CHICAGO – The premise is sound, but the new film “Let’s Be Cops” refuses to do something original with the premise of a couple of regular Joes pretending to be Johnny Law. The same stale jokes and inevitable need for heroic action climax overwhelms the mild amusement of it all.

Interview: Rob Riggle, Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr. of ‘Let’s Be Cops’

CHICAGO – When the assignment was to find a comedy team to take on impersonating police officers, funny men Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. – of the TV series “New Girl” – fit the uniforms perfectly for the new film, “Let’s Be Cops.” Add in the always hilarious Rob Riggle, and let the games begin.

DVD Review: ‘In Their Skin’ Rips Off Michael Haneke, Tacks on Sentimental Finale

In Their Skin DVD

CHICAGO – I may never know how “In Their Skin” came into being, but I have a pretty good theory. Screenwriter/star Josh Close was so appalled by the unapologetic bleakness of Michael Haneke’s “Funny Games” that he took it upon himself to make the exact same movie, more or less, but with a much happier ending. It’s a noble effort but every bit as pointless as Rod Lurie’s proudly non-misogynistic remake of “Straw Dogs.”

Film Review: ‘Hitchcock’ at its Heart is a Relationship Film

CHICAGO – The great director Alfred Hitchcock had morphed to legend rather than a man, so it’s interesting that two films have recently been released about his all-too-human foibles. The feature film, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as the director, gets inside the man’s relationships in “Hitchcock.”

Blu-ray Review: Madonna’s ‘W.E.’ Fails to Explore Its Alleged Subject

W.E. Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Madonna’s “W.E.” completes a trilogy of lackluster Oscar bait released last year by the Weinstein Company. Each film squandered potentially fascinating subject matter by upstaging it with pointless framing devices. Imagine if the majority of “Titanic” followed Bill Paxton on his self-centered quest for the diamond. That would surely have amounted to the most boring three-hour epic in history.

Film Review: ‘W.E.’ is Decent Directorial Effort From Madonna

W.E.

CHICAGO – It’s easy sport to disregard a director when the name attached to that title is Madonna, the famous pop star. “W.E.” is a story about fame in another era, and Madonna’s understanding about fame in general – and its dark underside – actually made her the right choice to handle such a story.

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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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