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Ron Livingston

Interview, Audio: John Carroll Lynch Directs an Elegy for Harry Dean Stanton in ‘Lucky’

Lucky

CHICAGO – He is a familiar character actor, having a long career with roles in TV and film as diverse as “Fargo,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “Gran Torino,” “The Americans.” and the recent “Jackie” and “The Founder.” He is actor John Carroll Lynch, and he has made his directorial debut in the wonderfully essential “Lucky,” whose title character is portrayed by Harry Dean Stanton. The film is a perfect elegy for the actor, who passed away last month at the age of 91.

Film Review: ‘The 5th Wave’ Crashes, Then Slowly Dissipates

CHICAGO – Is there ever an end to the Young Adult Dystopia genre (“Hunger Games,” “Maze Runner,” etc.)? Or are we cursed with the end of the world every year, if it weren’t for those meddling kids? “The 5th Wave” is the latest adaptation, and if you haven’t read the source novel, good luck following it.

Interview: Jason Segel on the Origins of ‘The End of the Tour’

CHICAGO – Jason Segel is a real mensch. The tall and angular actor is open, active and caring about his career, and he fulfills another part of his performance evolution in director James Ponsoldt’s “The End of the Tour.” Segel portrays author David Foster Wallace, when he appeared on behalf of his 1996 novel “Infinite Jest.”

Film Review: Tartan Prancer – Yes, a Fictional Albanian Car – Steals the Otherwise Borrowed Show in ‘Vacation’

CHICAGO – Retreads from classics are often as weary as having to write that they are almost never as good as the original. And here we go again with the Ed Helms-led “Vacation,” which fails to capitalize on the beloved Chevy Chase film “National Lampoon’s Vacation” from 1983.

Blu-ray Review: Modern Horror Doesn’t Get Much Better Than ‘The Conjuring’

Conjuring, The

CHICAGO – James Wan’s “The Conjuring” is such a remarkable leap forward from the director of “Saw” and “Insidious.” I’ve always thought that Wan was talented but his use of sound, music, and forced perspective in this brilliant horror flick immediately propels him to the top of the list for the best genre directors. He’s reportedly leaving horror behind after this mega-hit ($300 million worldwide) behind (he’s filming “Fast & Furious 7” now). The genre will miss him but it’s understandable that he probably thinks he can’t top this truly great movie.

Film Review: ‘Parkland’ Starkly Recreates November 22, 1963

CHICAGO – It’s been close to 50 years since 11/22/1963, the day when a certain American innocence was lost with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In time for that anniversary, is the excellent film overview entitled “Parkland.”

TV Review: Amazing Ensemble Drives Success of ‘Boardwalk Empire’

CHICAGOHBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” found a narrative urgency and a deep sense of poetic melancholy in 2012’s season three, the best of the program’s run to date.

Film Review: Olivia Wilde Shines in Joe Swanberg’s Excellent ‘Drinking Buddies’

CHICAGO – Joe Swanberg’s “Drinking Buddies” has been billed as the Chicago writer/director’s breakthrough largely due to the star power on display in the cast list but the film works not merely because of the notable talents of its cast but a new maturity and wisdom displayed by its creator.

Interview: Joe Swanberg Dares to Cross the Line in ‘Drinking Buddies’

CHICAGO – It takes a special sort of filmmaker to hit it big without compromising any artistic principles. This month marks a career high for Chicago’s own DIY trail-blazer, Joe Swanberg, whose microbudget gems have influenced everyone from Lynn Shelton (“Touchy Feely”) to Lena Dunham (“Girls”).

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

  • Wonder Woman

    CHICAGO – There are few films in 2017 that are as historically important as they are cinematically well-crafted. Of those, there is only one I saw three times in theaters. That honor comes in the form of the revolutionary “Wonder Woman,” which not only shows huge promise for the future of DC Comics films but for comic book-based films as a whole.

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