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J.K. Rowling

Film Review: ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ Relies on Second-Hand Wonder

CHICAGO – It’s been five years since the last Harry Potter film, and for fans eager to scratch that itch for a dreamworld of magic again “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” will probably suffice. It’s this story’s tangential connection to the Harry Potter universe that is its biggest asset – but the film unfortunately can’t muster up much wonder on its own.

Interview: John Michael Performs the One-Man ‘Order of the Penix’

John Michael & the Order of the Penix

CHICAGO – Occasionally we can be surprised through true wonder and serendipity. In August of 2015, John Michael – a Texas native and one-man-show artist – crushed out the funny at the Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins theater festival, by making his Chicago debut with “John Michael & the Order of the Penix.” For two consecutive upcoming Saturdays – Dec. 5th and 12th – he returns to the scene of his debut, the Mary-Arrchie Theater at Angel Island in Chicago, to perform the show once again.

Video Game Review: ‘LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7’ Gets Standard Port to PlayStation Vita

CHICAGO – I have played many LEGO games on the Sony PSP and enjoyed how well the series translated to the handheld generation. There was something about the bite-sized nature of the LEGO versions of “Star Wars,” “Batman,” and “Indiana Jones” that made them a natural fit for smaller screens and smaller controls.

Film Feature: 10 Most Controversial Moments in ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’

Deathly Hollows Feature

CHICAGO – Taken as one complete film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is easily the best installment of the series. By splitting J.K. Rowling’s spellbinding final book into two parts, director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves had much more time to pace each sequence and develop each character to the best of their ability. The added minutes have enabled them to deliver a rousing finale to one of the greatest franchises in history.

Interview: Matthew Lewis Reflects on Neville Longbottom, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’

CHICAGO – Late in 2001’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” Albus Dumbledore reads off the House points earned by four heroic students. Three of them are easy to guess (Harry, Ron and Hermione), but the fourth comes as a shock: Neville Longbottom. The mousy, roly-poly boy had undergone the difficult task of standing up to his friends, not realizing that he would be rewarded for it.

Film Feature: Why Studios Need to Start Working on New Harry Potter Movies Right Away

CHICAGO – It might sound like sacrilege (or even sound redundant) to say this, particularly on a day that sees the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two,” but I just have to say it - Daniel Radcliffe can’t be Harry Potter forever.

Film Feature: Harry Potter and the Legacy of a Franchise

CHICAGO – For readers and moviegoers who have come of age with boy wizard Harry Potter, it’s impossible to look back on J.K. Rowling’s immortal series and not be engulfed in a bottomless Pensieve of memories. I wasn’t much of a fantasy buff when I began reading the books. My sister was a fervent fan, and she guaranteed that I would be hooked after the first few chapters.

Film Review: ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’ is the Darkest, Loneliest Potter Film Yet

CHICAGO – While “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” is the most murky and forlorn Potter film yet, its most grave battle is the internal question between the corporate and creative types.

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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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