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Film Review: Aaron Sorkin’s Directorial Debut in ‘Molly’s Game’

CHICAGO – High stakes poker are for folks who prefer to get their rush of adrenalin from the turn of a card rather than other life risks. The positives, the negatives and everything in between are in “Molly’s Game,” the feature directorial debut of Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing” creator). Let’s walk and talk.

Film Review: Margot Robbie in ‘I, Tonya’ Can’t Stick the Landing

CHICAGO – We have arrived at point where yesterday’s trash TV has become today’s critical darling of the film festival circuit. As the trailers proclaim, “I, Tonya” desperately wants to be the “‘Goodfellas’ of Figure Skating,” but one of the biggest problems I had is that it’s just trying too hard.

Film Review: Matt Damon in ‘Downsizing’ Offers Few Small Pleasures

CHICAGO – “Downsizing” is an interesting premise that doesn’t ultimately go anywhere interesting. Part of the problem is that writer/director Alexander Payne doesn’t seem to know what kind of a movie he wants it to be… it’s part cerebral Woody Allen futuristic comedy, part sci-fi social satire about Midwestern malaise, and winds up failing at both.

Film Review: ‘All the Money in the World’ Has a Soft Landing

CHICAGO – A bitter and old rich man won’t take responsibility for the co-opting of something he is directly connected to. Is this the Trump administration or “All the Money in the World”? Christopher Plummer portrays mogul J. Paul Getty, trying to steer clear of his grandson’s kidnapping.

Film Review: Delightful ‘Ferdinand’ Keeps it Simple & Funny

Ferdinand

CHICAGO – Like the repeat tenets of real estate, good animated films come down to story, story, story. And ‘Ferdinand,’ an older children’s tale adapted to modern audiences, combines a gentle source narrative with palatable visual and cartoon jokes. It’s fun for the whole family!

Film Review: Ethereal ‘The Shape of Water’ Forms Cinema Magic

CHICAGO – This breathtaking morality and love story, set in a backward age, takes all of its major themes – passion, tolerance, symbolism and thrills – to the highest level. Writer/director Guillermo del Toro has created a masterwork that is part fairy tale, part adult desperation and all cinema magic.

Film Review: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Turns Up the Volume

CHICAGO – Everything that could be thrown into the Stars Wars legend – and the official story – is present in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” With three concurrent stories converging into an amped-up climax, all manner of Star Wars-mania and fan satisfaction can be realized in Episode 8.

Film Review: Woody Allen Has Run Out of Ideas with ‘Wonder Wheel’

CHICAGO – Woody Allen emptied out his junk drawer of discarded script ideas and somehow managed to convince Kate Winslet to star in it. That’s the gist of the latest “serious Woody” entry in the Oscar winner’s long running career. Woody Allen has had some timeless triumphs, but lately he’s been more about quantity than quality.

Film Review: Funny ‘The Disaster Artist’ Takes Us Back to ‘The Room’

CHICAGO – “The Room” is a post-millennial cult movie that plays the midnight and college movie circuit, entertaining audiences with its sheer badness. Its story is told in the “The Disaster Artist,” featuring James Franco as the director of “The Room,” and he also directed the film. Very meta.

Film Review: Art & Real World Taken to Task in Angular ‘The Square’

Square, The

CHICAGO – Recently, the record for highest bid ever on a work of art was shattered – $450 million for Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvador Mundi’ – and the ownership of a canvas, for the price of supporting a small country, calls into question the meaning of art and collecting. All of this, and everything more, is generated in the cinematic rendering of “The Square.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Not One Batu

    CHICAGO – The State of Hawaii may be one of the most misunderstood in America. Because of its reputation as a tourist mecca, the fact that native peoples live and work there like any other place is hard to imagine. Also unimaginable is the drug use of island residents, but playwright and Hawaiian native Hannah li-Epstein wrote about it in her stage play “Not One Batu,” now in its Premiere Chicago run at the Berger Park Coach House through July 28th, 2018. For more information, including tickets, click here.

  • Cher Show, The

    CHICAGO – Has anybody in show business had more “comebacks” than Cher… or if you added her many last names Cher Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman? All of the triumphs and downturns are shoehorned into “The Cher Show,” now in Chicago in a pre-Broadway run through July 15, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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