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Slideshow, Audio: Red-Carpet Portraits from The Second City Roast of George Wendt

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Honoree George Wendt gets ‘roasted.’ Norm!

CHICAGO – On September 9th, 2017, it seemed like the whole of The Second City theater on Wells Street in Chicago let out a collective cry of “NORM!” The favorite barfly of TV’s “Cheers,” George Wendt, came back to his old comedy stomping ground at The Second City to participate in “I Can’t Believe They Wendt There: The Roast of George Wendt.”

Film Review: Funny, Spontaneous ‘Storks’ Really Delivers

CHICAGO – I’ve waited all week to write that headline, and I will be joining the 100,000 other similar headlines out there. Hey-ooh! “Storks” is a lot of fun, without the dire need for any “message” or heavy handedness that is too familiar in the current animation environment. It’s just funny.

Film News: Gillian Jacobs at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre on Aug. 9, 2016 for ‘Don’t Think Twice’

Don't Think Twice Front

CHICAGO – The Most Valuable Player, in a film that is brimming with great performances, is Gillian Jacobs (“Community”) of “Don’t Think Twice.” The Mike Birblglia-directed film is in the midst of a run at Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre, and Jacobs will make an appearance on behalf of the film starting at 7:30pm on Tuesday, August 9th, 2016. For more information, click here.

Film Review: Comedy is Humanity in Magnanimous ‘Don’t Think Twice’

Don't Think Twice Front

CHICAGO – Comedian/writer/director Mike Birbiglia is breaking out as a filmmaker, and he adds a deft and emotional touch to a story of an improvisation comedy troupe split apart by change they didn’t expect. That sounds a lot like life, and it’s best to “Don’t Think Twice.”

Interview: Philosopher King Mike Birbiglia of ‘Don’t Think Twice’

CHICAGO – When comedian/writer/director Mike Birbiglia is in his element, as during the interviews he conducted at The iO Theater in Chicago, he is relaxed and ardently philosophical. He has written and directed a new film, “Don’t Think Twice,” which is about a improvisation comedy troupe, but it’s also about life.

Film Review: Drac Pack Still a Drag in ‘Hotel Transylvania 2’

CHICAGO – For the younger set unable to experience the mystique of Dracula, Wolfman and Frankenstein in their original creations, “Hotel Transylvania 2” may prove to be an introduction to the legendary bloodsucker and his band of movie monsters – and for that Adam Sandler deserves a stake through his heart.

Film Review: Tartan Prancer – Yes, a Fictional Albanian Car – Steals the Otherwise Borrowed Show in ‘Vacation’

CHICAGO – Retreads from classics are often as weary as having to write that they are almost never as good as the original. And here we go again with the Ed Helms-led “Vacation,” which fails to capitalize on the beloved Chevy Chase film “National Lampoon’s Vacation” from 1983.

Film Review: Awe Factor is Sorely Lacking in ‘Tomorrowland’

CHICAGO – For a movie all about the awesome power of inspiration, innovation and wonder, “Tomorrowland” has precious little of its own. “Tomorrowland” the title promises a kind of retro futuristic world where anything is possible, but “Tomorrowland” the movie rarely delivers anything approximating joy.

Film Review: Sequel’s Tune is Off Key in ‘Pitch Perfect 2’

Pitch Perfect 2

CHICAGO – “Pitch Perfect 2” wasn’t bad. There was the same off-kilter weirdness and funny lines of the first film, but in this sequel there were also stretches of boring, seemingly made-up stuff to slog through. I guess repeating a premise about college singing groups doesn’t offer much more to say.

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  • 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).

  • Wonder Woman

    CHICAGO – There are few films in 2017 that are as historically important as they are cinematically well-crafted. Of those, there is only one I saw three times in theaters. That honor comes in the form of the revolutionary “Wonder Woman,” which not only shows huge promise for the future of DC Comics films but for comic book-based films as a whole.

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