Nicholas Hoult

Film Review: ‘Dark Phoenix’ Rises Above Typical Comic Book Action

CHICAGO – Leave it to Marvel Entertainment to produce another “marvel-ous” take on their angst-ridden superhero characters. The latest X-Men film, called the last of this series, is “Dark Phoenix,” and it contains comic book action that is unprecedented for its originality and sheer power. It’s another winner.

Film Review: A Hilarious Combination of Crass and Class in ‘The Favourite’

CHICAGO – Looking through auteur Yorgos Lanthimos’ filmography, you’ll recognize a style that combines both visual beauty and narrative absurdism. The Lanthimos effect, or Lanthimo-nium as I like to call it, elevates any piece of work to such a high degree that often times the meanings go over our heads. In his most mainstream effort to date, “The Favourite” will likely become your favorite of his works.

Film Review: ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ is a Marvel Entertainment Gem

CHICAGO – In doing “comic book” movies right, Marvel Entertainment has established a formula of decent back stories, complex villainy and probable scenarios. In continuing to tell a history of the second half of the 20th Century in “X-Men Apocalypse,” they also add a historical parallel universe that works.

Film Review: An Adrenaline Junkie’s Dream, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ a Badass Bass Haven

CHICAGO – It’s “the greatest action movie ever made,” so says the television commercials (which means it’s true). And it’s buoyed by other quotables galore including “what a lovely day!,” “from mastermind George Miller,” “pulse pounding,” “heart wrenching” and “teeth grinding”.

Film Review: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is All Kinds of Awesome

CHICAGO – While “Mad Max: Fury Road” isn’t quite in the same league as director George Miller’s masterpiece “The Road Warrior,” it’s learned all the right lessons from that action classic. It’s a cinematic adrenaline machine that puts the pedal to the metal and rarely lets up.

Film Review: ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ Dares to Richly Invest in Story First, CGI Second

CHICAGO – After a string of superhero movie disappointments in recent memory, last month “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” renewed our faith in Hollywood blockbusters once again. Just 7 weeks later, can “X-Men: Days of Future Fast” impress us again?

Film Review: Complex, Wow-Inducing ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’

CHICAGO – Although a post graduate degree in space/time continuum studies may be necessary for maximum enjoyment, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” still delivers a comic book wham-bam, and the series continues its exploration of recent history through the prism of a mutant universe.

Blu-ray Review: Clever ‘Warm Bodies’ Gives Heat to Zombie Genre

Warm Bodies

CHICAGO – Jonathan Levine is quickly ascending lists of the more interesting young directors out there with “The Wackness,” “50/50,” “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane,” and the very original “Warm Bodies,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. Merging Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet” with the zombie genre, “Warm Bodies” draws clever performances from its entire cast and offers a unique take on what could seem overly familiar at first. The film’s pace is sometimes not quite urgent enough and Levine hits a lot of the same beats repetitively but this a remarkably enjoyable flick, perhaps the sole occupant of the “zombie rom-com” genre.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ Crushes Entertainment with Spectacle

Jack the Giant Slayer

CHICAGO – Every element of “Jack the Giant Slayer,” released today on Blu-ray and DVD, feels like a subpar version of something done better in a superior film. There’s the epic scope and final siege of a “Lord of the Rings” film. There’s the reimagined fairy tale not unlike “Alice in Wonderland” or “Oz the Great and Powerful.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Grace, Or the Art of Climbing

    CHICAGO – What is life but a constant climb? The Brown Paper Box Co., one of the most vital storefront theater groups in Chicago, asks that question and more in the significant “Grace, Or the Art of Climbing.” Using a woman’s journey through some difficult situations, the parallels of “the climb” become a artfully performed story that is all inspiration and uplift. The play runs through July 7th, 2019, at Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District in Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Elizabeth Laidlaw

    CHICAGO – The recent limited series “The Red Line” on CBS-TV was notable for a couple elements – it was set in Chicago and it featured Chicago actors in major roles. Creators Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss (from here), cast their Chi-town colleague Elizabeth Laidlaw, who portrayed police officer “Vic” Renna.

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