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Julia Roberts

Film Review: ‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’ Should Have Remained Undiscovered

CHICAGO – There are only a few times that I have left a film mentally shouting, “Won’t someone think of the children?” Not through some self-righteous religious fit, of course, but through a general concern for the animated films created for our young. “Smurfs: The Lost Village” is either made for a specific crowd in mind or made for a crowd without a mind.

Film Review: Approach of ‘Money Monster’ is Pure Fraud

CHICAGO – In our society there is one eternal truth…the rich will ALWAYS win, that’s one of the reasons that they are rich. So when “Money Monster” attempts to take them down a peg with a ridiculous fantasy story, it’s as fraudulent as what they think they’re bringing down. An oligarch watches this, and laughs at us.

Blu-ray Review: ‘August: Osage County’ is a Rusty Family Drama

August: Osage County

CHICAGO – John Wells’ adaptation of Tracy Letts’ “August: Osage County” is a movie that fell off the radar in 2013 during the busiest time of the year. When we were all caught up in narratives of lone survival, or tales of how this country was morally eroded by financial excess, this loud ode to miserable family gatherings moved into theaters, scooped up a couple of Oscar nominations for its revered talent (Meryl Streep & Julia Roberts), and then vanished.

Film Review: Family Secrets, Fine Acting in ‘August: Osage County’

CHICAGO – There will be inevitable comparisons to the Pulitzer Prize winning stage version of “August: Osage County” from the thousands of people who have been touched by the stage play. But in giving the film version a chance, there is the same passion, drama and heat of family dysfunction within it, with a dream cast.

Interview: Finding Truth with Cast of ‘August: Osage County’

CHICAGO – Gathering an ensemble cast for a film version of a Pulitzer Prize winning stage play is a tricky assignment. Some of the actors selected for “August: Osage County” – play and screenplay by Tracy Letts – are a mix of veterans (Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale) and relative newcomers (Julianne Nicholson).

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Passes to ‘August: Osage County’ with Meryl Streep

August: Osage County with Meryl Streep

CHICAGOHighly anticipated! In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of advance-screening passes up for grabs to the darkly searing “Tracy Letts” comedy “August: Osage County” starring Meryl Streep!

What to Watch: Oct. 20-26, 2013

Vikings

CHICAGO – It’s a weird week at the video store (do they still have those?) or in the New Releases section of your favorite Video On Demand service. There’s some real junk that we’ll get to (“The Internship”) along with some flicks that are just too good not to break out into their own special Blu-ray reviews (“Before Midnight,” “The Conjuring” — both must-sees). And then there’s a unique array of catalog releases and TV seasons. Those could easily fall through the cracks if not for the informative What to Watch. All of these are new to Blu-ray, some for the first time and some in anniversary/special editions. At least one will grab your attention.

Blu-ray Review: Julia Roberts Stars in Inconsistent ‘Mirror Mirror’

Mirror Mirror

CHICAGO – “Mirror Mirror” reimagines the tale of Snow White as one of dictatorial corruption and the little David taking down the big Goliath. It’s an interesting way to interpret the material and made more so by Tarsem Singh’s incredibly strong visual eye. Small problem — while he’s a visual master, he’s not a strong storyteller and “Mirror Mirror” needed a more capable narrative thread.

Blu-ray Review: Universal 100th Anniversary Titles ‘Erin Brockovich,’ ‘Smokey and the Bandit,’ ‘The Sting’

CHICAGO – Universal has slowly but consistently been releasing an amazing collection of Blu-ray combo packs (BD, DVD, and Digital Copy) throughout 2012. Spanning the entire catalog of this 100-year-old company, movies like “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Deer Hunter,” and “All Quiet on the Western Front” have been given lavish, restored treatments and “E.T.” and “Jaws” will come later in the year. By the time it’s done, this will be one of the most important waves of Blu-ray releases in the history of the form. This week’s inclusions feature two Oscar winners and one true ’70s phenomenon.

Film Review: Julia Roberts Reflects on Snow White in ‘Mirror Mirror’

CHICAGO – Since I know I’m the fairest of them all, I won’t focus on the symbolic impressions of ‘Mirror Mirror.’ This is the Snow White legend based on the original story by the Brothers Grimm, and includes Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer and Nathan Lane in its cast.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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