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Movie Review

Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Ensemble Save ‘Frost/Nixon’ From Soulless Direction

Frost Nixon

CHICAGO – Peter Morgan’s play “Frost/Nixon” was a searing portrait of two men trying their best to change their image and their future. It was a head-to-head battle between a celebrity interviewer whose reputation was on a steady decline and the man credited with bringing shame to the White House.

‘Nothing Like the Holidays’ Does Nothing to Stand Out From Christmas Movie Crowd

Nothing Like the Holidays

CHICAGO – When it was still called “Humboldt Park” and was probably more closely related to Chicago’s thriving Hispanic neighborhood, Alfredo De Villa’s “Nothing Like the Holidays” was probably a lot more interesting than the cookie-cutter dramedy that ended up on the big screen.

Despite Smothered Direction, ‘Doubt’ Brings Out Best in Performers

CHICAGO – The inherit drama of a Catholic priest accused of molesting an African American boy during the 1960s would be enough to make for an interesting film on its own. In “Doubt,” this is one of the less-explored themes writer and director John Patrick Shanley examines.

Sean Penn’s Oscar-Possible Harvey Milk Puts Face to Gay Rights in ‘Milk’

CHICAGO – Just as Tom Hanks put a face to AIDS in 1993’s “Philadelphia,” Sean Penn has now put a face to gay rights as Harvey Milk in the new Gus Van Sant true-story film “Milk”.

Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Australia’ With Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman Gets Lost in Own Cinematic Outback

CHICAGO – Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and newcomer Brandon Walters star in Baz Luhrmann’s “Australia”: a sweeping, grand epic in the tradition of “Gone With the Wind” that gets away from its talented director, the writers he worked with and the team he hired to film his passion project.

Robert De Niro, Director Barry Levinson Wade Through Hollywood’s Mud in ‘What Just Happened?’

Bruce Willis in What Just Happened?

CHICAGO – In his long and distinguished career, Robert De Niro has probably seen it all when it comes to Hollywood excesses and quagmires. Given that experience, he seems the perfect choice to portray an aging film producer and power broker whose influence is on the decline.

Like a Bad ‘Law & Order,’ ‘Righteous Kill’ With Al Pacino, Robert De Niro Lacks ‘Heat’

CHICAGO – Last fall, Francis Ford Coppola made the comment that Al Pacino and Robert De Niro (along with Jack Nicholson) had lost their ambition. Coppola essentially said they have been phoning in their performances and picking safer movies. “Righteous Kill” could be the case study to that argument.

In Purely Exploiting Gratuitous Violence, Paul W.S. Anderson’s ‘Death Race’ Remake Kills All Comedic Value

CHICAGO – While 2008’s “Death Race” makes no secret about being a remake of 1975’s “Death Race 2000” with David Carradine as the title character Frankenstein and Sylvester Stallone as his archrival Machine Gun Joe Viterbo, what’s perhaps less obvious but still clear is how the film steals from others.

Death-Defying Audacity Walks Between the Twin Towers in New Documentary ‘Man on Wire’

CHICAGO – Where have all the true eccentrics gone? Where are all those people who achieve a Zen purpose just because the challenge is there?

‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ Boldly Goes Animated With Potent Story, Mediocre Animation, Anemic Acting

Matt Lanter, Star Wars: The Clone Wars (1)

CHICAGO – “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” which is the inaugural animated “Star Wars” project from Lucasfilm Animation and “Star Wars” architect George Lucas, feels and looks every bit as introductory as a foundational attempt could be.

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