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Rainn Wilson

Film Review: ‘The Meg’ is a Proud $150 Million Dollar ‘B’ Movie

CHICAGO – From their golden age from the 1950s to the 1970s, the infamous “B” movies – usually the third feature at the drive-in, or playing in the crumbling old theaters – were targeted to teens. In the modern era, these films are now given $150 million dollar budgets and wide releases. Case in point, the shark movie called “The Meg.”

Film Review: ‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’ Should Have Remained Undiscovered

CHICAGO – There are only a few times that I have left a film mentally shouting, “Won’t someone think of the children?” Not through some self-righteous religious fit, of course, but through a general concern for the animated films created for our young. “Smurfs: The Lost Village” is either made for a specific crowd in mind or made for a crowd without a mind.

Slideshow: New Book for Rocker Lita Ford is ‘Living Like a Runaway’

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Lita Ford, lead guitarist of The Runaways.

CHICAGO – There are rock stars, and then there are the women of “The Runaways.” The girl group that spawned Joan Jett was also notable for proving that punk rock was not just reserved for dudes. Lita Ford, the lead guitarist, has just written a memoir of those heady days – “Living Like a Runaway” – and appeared recently at North Central College in Naperville, Ill., at an event sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop.

Slideshow: Rainn Wilson Releases New Book ‘The Bassoon King’

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Rainn Wilson, author of ‘The Bassoon King,’ November 13th, 2015.

CHICAGO – He may be Dwight Schrute of “The Office” forever in reruns, but he is also – according to his new memoir – “The Bassoon King.” Rainn Dietrich Wilson created the offbeat Schrute, and has had a diverse and high profile career. He was at the Yellow Box Theater in Naperville, Ill., recently, being interview by Chicago artist Tony Fitzpatrick, in an event sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop.

2014 Sundance Diary, Day 3: Comedies with an Edge

I’ve only seen three movies since my last dispatch — Sundance is about finding the time to write whenever you have it and it just comes earlier today than it did yesterday — but one was a true gem. So I’ll be brief.

Blu-Ray Review: Steve Carell’s Final Season of ‘The Office’

The Office: S7

CHICAGO – Very few 2011 programs were as hit-and-miss as NBC’s “The Office.” I don’t think anyone involved with the program would argue that it was this sometimes-great comedy’s best year but there were still great moments throughout and Steve Carell’s departure from the program that turned him into a superstar was handled with incredible humor and grace. The season may not have been the show’s best, but it was still one of the better comedies on TV. See for yourself with the seventh season, recently released on Blu-ray and DVD.

Blu-Ray Review: Proudly Crude ‘Hesher’ Annoys Instead of Enlightens

Hesher Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – Anyone who’s witnessed the wonderfully incoherent trailers for “Hesher” is bound to be curious about the film’s true nature. Why does Joseph Gordon-Levitt have a raised middle finger tattooed on his back and why is he jumping off a flaming diving board half-naked? Is this all part of a tongue-in-cheek stunt or do the filmmakers actually harbor serious intentions?

Blu-Ray Review: Ellen Page, Rainn Wilson in Clever ‘Super’

Super

CHICAGO – “I thought it would be interesting to write the story of the superhero who wasn’t super at all,” says writer/director James Gunn on his behind-the-scenes featurette on the underrated “Super,” an imperfect film with more than enough interesting ideas and strong performances to justify a look now that it’s on Blu-ray and DVD.

Blu-Ray Review: Unfunny ‘Peep World’ Wastes Spectacular Comedic Cast

Peep World Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – “Peep World” plays like the pilot for a failed sitcom that will never end. The running time clocks in at a mere 79 minutes, but the ordeal feels so much longer. One can imagine the canned laughter on TV Land appreciating these gags, which are embarrassingly lame. It’s not long before the miserable, ashen-faced characters begin to mirror the audience.

Film Review: Loathsome ‘Hesher’ With Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman

Hesher
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “Hesher” ends with a middle finger and I shot one right back to the screen. Rarely has a film so completely misunderstood the grieving process and played faux tough in an attempt to be edgy instead of heartfelt. Like a knock-off of Chuck Palahniuk produced by people raised only on Sundance films, “Hesher” is a mess.

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  • Stephanie Buxbaum

    CHICAGO – In the history of “Reality TV” there has been periods of up-and-down popularity, shows that have been around seemingly forever (“Big Brother,” “Amazing Race”) and spinoffs to new styles like “documentary series” as networks like the National Geographic Channel emerged. In all those permutations, producer Stephanie Buxbaum has experienced it all, and has the career and stories to prove it.

  • Deadbeat2

    CHICAGO – Not many web series start out as music videos, but the new online (YouTube) drama “Deadbeat 2” was just that. Created, written and directed by Danny Froze, the made-in-Chicago story recently premiered episodes five and six in the series, which features actor Kiwaun Stoutmire in the lead role of Ronnie.

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