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Blu-ray Review: John Wayne’s ‘McLintock!’ is Dated But Fun


CHICAGO – There is not quite any entertainment like a great John Wayne picture, and “McLintock!” certainly fulfills that expectation. But in adapting Shakepeare’s “Taming of the Shrew,” they forgot that the womenfolk had progressed a bit since the spankings that were liberally doled out against the wives and daughters.

Blu-ray Review: Turgid ‘Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters’ Piles on the Gore

Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Witches were always my monster of choice as a child. Their façade of maternal warmth that routinely gave way to fiendish malice was both scary and oddly funny. Actresses love playing this archetype because it allows them to break all the rules followed by photogenic starlets. The fun had by everyone in a witch’s cape—from Margaret Hamilton to Angelica Huston—is timelessly infectious.

Blu-ray Review: Billy Wilder’s ‘Sunset Boulevard’ Still Looks Great in Close-Up

Sunset Boulevard Blu-ray

CHICAGO – With her chin pointed high, eyes bulging, teeth gleaming and hands contorting as if performing a Transylvanian spell, screen actress Norma Desmond insists that she’s ready for her close-up. She descends her staircase and becomes fully engulfed in the gray haze of her delusions in one of the greatest and most unforgettable final scenes in cinema history.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ Dazzles the Eyes, Dulls the Mind

Snow White and the Huntsman Blu-ray

CHICAGO – To say that Rupert Sanders’s “Snow White and the Huntsman” is one of the year’s best-looking films would be entirely accurate, but it’s also one of the least involving. The more sumptuous the visuals became, the more infuriating I found the tedious script, which plods along from A to B to C without any real sense of urgency, before making a tired plea for a franchise. How depressing.

DVD Review: Robin McLeavy Knocks ‘Em Dead in ‘The Loved Ones’

The Loved Ones DVD

CHICAGO – Sean Byrne’s “The Loved Ones” is one of those cinematic curiosities so gleefully depraved and unapologetically looney that it appears to have been conceived in an insane asylum. There is no logical reason why this picture should work at all, and yet it has been made with such conviction that I couldn’t help watching it in a state of slack-jawed awe.

Interview: ‘Forrest Gump’ Star Hanna Hall Tackles Provocative Thriller ‘Scalene’

Hanna Hall Interview

CHICAGO – By the age of 15, actress Hanna Hall had delivered iconic lines in two of the most acclaimed films of the ’90s. After famously yelling, “Run, Forrest, run!” in Robert Zemeckis’s Oscar-winner, “Forrest Gump,” Hall nailed the unforgettable line, “Obviously, doctor, you’ve never been a 13-year-old girl,” in Sofia Coppola’s directorial debut, “The Virgin Suicides.”

Blu-ray Review: ‘Clue: The Movie’ Wastes Game Cast with Fatally Unfunny Script

Clue The Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Sometimes it’s difficult to determine why a film retains its cult status over the years. Jonathan Lynn’s adaptation of the Parker Brothers board game may be fondly remembered as a cult favorite simply because its source material was so unusual (at least back in 1985). Yet unlike “Battleship,” the game of “Clue” has a built-in plot and colorful ensemble that could easily inspire an entertaining script.

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Ring’ Remake Initially Frightens Before Going in Circles

The Ring Blu-ray

CHICAGO – I have a certain begrudging affection for Gore Verbinski’s 2002 remake of Hideo Nakata’s 1998 thriller, “Ringu,” despite the fact that I know in my heart of hearts that it doesn’t really work. Verbinski’s film falters precisely when it should be at its scariest, and yet it still has enough memorably eerie moments to inspire at least a couple sleepless nights.

Blu-ray Review: Rich, Brilliant Restoration of ‘My Fair Lady’

My Fair Lady

CHICAGO – One of the clear observations in re-connecting with the 1964 Oscar-winning Best Picture “My Fair Lady,” is that essentially it’s a timeless musical. It lives in a universe of George Bernard Shaw, adapted from his original play “Pygmalion,” and comes to life through the music and lyrics of Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner.

Blu-ray Review: Nostalgic, Compelling ‘Super 8’ is a Triumph

Super 8

CHICAGO – The sincerity of “Super 8” is the wondrous highlight of this film. Director J.J. Abrams creates a valentine to the lives in his childhood, and the films within that dream state. Combining nostalgia, suspense and of course, hope, “Super 8” is one of the more emotional and impactful American films of the year.

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  • Speech & Debate (stage play)

    CHICAGO – “Speech & Debate,” the latest production from the mighty Brown Paper Box Company, continues their tradition of thinking outside that “box” in presenting storefront theater that makes a statement and a difference. “Speech” goes inside America by showcasing the outsiders… those who create art because they can’t get it right in real life. This non-equity Chicago stage play premiere is finely tuned and wonderfully acted, and runs through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • We're Gonna Be Okay

    CHICAGO – The 1960s were a time of historical social transition. The movements – civil rights, feminist, gay rights – all had roots in that tumultuous decade. The Chicago premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s “We’re Gonna Be Okay” echoes all of those movements in its characters, and collides them against the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the American Theater Company through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.


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