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Noah Taylor

Film Review: 'Free Fire' Knows That Happiness is a Warm Gun

Free Fire

CHICAGO – In a film that had a sassy, arbitrary perspective on its own flipped-out story, “Free Fire” sought to out-Quentin Tarantino in freaky funny characters and ammo-splurging gun battles. Director Ben Wheatley (“High-Rise”) took an ensemble cast to rarified heights of insult comedy, revenge dynamics and bullets that hit the bone.

Interview: Director Ben Wheatley Ignites His New Film ‘Free Fire’

CHICAGO – One of the more lovely examples of pure cinema – if that description can be given to a film with nearly constant gunplay – is in the upcoming release of “Free Fire.” Director Ben Wheatley (“High-Rise”) constructs a dark and funny scenario within one room, and fills it with symbolism and homage to other movies.

Film Review: Limiting Twists in Time Travel Drama ‘Predestination’

Predestination, 2015

CHICAGO – “Predestination” is a time travel game of limited pieces, in which two beings are not who they seem. Twists abound in a story that gets credit for jarring narrative directions, but this adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein’s “All You Zombies” remains limited in its potential, especially as it fails to evolve past its spiritual predecessors “Source Code” and “Looper.”

Film Review: ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is a Fleet-Footed Popcorn Movie

CHICAGO – “Edge Of Tomorrow” is a high concept, fast of foot popcorn movie that knows how to deliver the goods. While this futuristic sci-fi take on “Groundhog Day” doesn’t break any new ground, it does see that intriguing concept through to a fulfilling and crowd pleasing conclusion.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Submarine’ Plunges Beneath Surface of Adolescent Angst

Submarine Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – Too many critics have casually dismissed Richard Ayoade’s directorial debut, “Submarine,” as a mere Wes Anderson imitation. Yes, the picture is chockfull of arty hipster posturing: chapter breaks, deadpan cutaway gags and hapless adults viewed by a sullen 15-year-old protagonist forever cloaked in a large black toggle coat. He’s like Bud Cort fused with the hyper-articulate eccentricity of Max Fischer.

Film Review: Quirky ‘Submarine’ Balances Wit With Emotion in Clever Way

Submarine
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Richard Ayoade’s debut comedy “Submarine” has such an incredibly strong first half that it almost makes the relative disappointment of the second half even more disappointing by comparison. A super-smart ending saves the piece from going out on the wrong note completely and the overall piece bodes well for whatever this talented director does next. Whatever flaws the film may have, it’s certainly unlike anything else in theaters right now and yet will likely remind certain viewers of beloved films like “The Graduate,” “Harold and Maude,” and “Rushmore.”

DVD Review: ‘Red White & Blue’ Plays on the Mind, Not the Gag Reflex

Red White & Blue

CHICAGO – There are few modern horror films that possess the power to shock an audience into a state of dazed, mouth-gaping awe. Audiences of increasingly young ages are well-accustomed to copious amounts of blood and gore. The excess of violence quickly and irrevocably numbs the senses. That may be why Simon Rumley’s “Red White & Blue” works so well. It plays on the mind rather than the gag reflex.

Interview: Simon Rumley Shocks the Senses in ‘Red White & Blue’

Simon Rumley Interview

CHICAGO – The scariest aspects of a Simon Rumley picture aren’t in the form of ominous monsters or buckets of blood. They are instead hidden within the corners of a tormented human psyche. It’s the impulse for destruction that haunts every one of his characters in “Red White & Blue,” a deeply unsettling drama that transforms into a galvanizing horror film during its final act.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Chicago Passes to Ben Stiller’s ‘Submarine’ With Sally Hawkins

CHICAGO – In our latest comedy edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 admit-two passes up for grabs to the advance Chicago screening of the new film “Submarine” from executive producer Ben Stiller with writer and director Richard Ayoade in attendance at this screening for a Q&A!

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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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