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.
CHICAGO – It’s been five years since the last Harry Potter film, and for fans eager to scratch that itch for a dreamworld of magic again “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” will probably suffice. It’s this story’s tangential connection to the Harry Potter universe that is its biggest asset – but the film unfortunately can’t muster up much wonder on its own.
CHICAGO – Unfortunately you can’t judge “The Book Of Life” by its cover. The movie draws on the fertile imagery of the Mexican “Day Of The Dead” to create its own animated world. The animation is excellent and the wooden characters seem to spring to life – but those performances are as wooden as a board.
CHICAGO – Leave it to the wondrous auteur, director Guillermo del Toro, to push the boundaries of giant science fiction epics simply by paying homage to their predecessors. The grand, glorious embrace of “Pacific Rim” leaves no stone of cult film fun unturned.
CHICAGO – “Frankie Go Boom” is a comedy about deplorable people who commit heartless acts and expect us to laugh at them. It casts the hugely lovable Chris O’Dowd as the most loathsome schlub ever to materialize on the big screen since Josh Gad’s wretched comic relief in “Love and Other Drugs.” And it puts Ron Perlman in drag but fails to give him a single laugh-worthy line. What a misfire.
CHICAGO – Jordan Roberts “3, 2, 1… Frankie Go Boom” is available On Demand in advance of its October theatrical release and it’s likely to be enticing to fans of the mega-hit “Sons of Anarchy” (which premiered this week to record-setting numbers) and those looking for a new comedy as the multiplex is crowded with horror and action movies. The raunchy comedy feels like a cousin of the Judd Apatow brand without the same degree of timing but the likable cast goes a long way to getting one over the screenwriting speed bumps.
CHICAGO – The Shakespearian tragedy that is “Sons of Anarchy” ascends to a new level of drama in the strong first two episodes of the fifth season as the writers pick up close to where they left off in the brilliant fourth year of one cable’s biggest hits. With fantastic guest stars like Jimmy Smits and Harold Perrineau, “Sons of Anarchy” seems likely to top even last year’s impressive numbers.
CHICAGO – The third season of “Sons of Anarchy” was an absolute mess, the kind of misguided, repetitive disaster that can sometimes kill a great show. And yet the creators and team behind this hit FX series completely bounced back in season four, recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. With more emphasis on the dark family secrets of Clay (Ron Perlman), Gemma (Katey Sagal), and Jax (Charlie Hunnam), “Sons of Anarchy” arguably reached its peak this season and I expect the upcoming fifth season (come back Tuesday for a review) to top even this one. Catch up before getting back on your ride.
CHICAGO – “Drive” will surely be one of the most remembered and beloved films of 2011, no matter what Academy members (who notoriously snubbed the film except for one lone tech nod) may think. And so it is disappointing that the Blu-ray edition from Film District and Sony is surprisingly light on special features. The film itself looks (and especially sounds) incredible and, considering it was my #2 for 2011, is well worth a pick-up, but you can presume that this is a placeholder for a Special/Ultimate/Collector’s Edition inevitably down the road.
CHICAGO – In our latest trilogy edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Blu-ray, we have 5 Blu-rays up for grabs for the home entertainment release of “The Scorpion King 3: Battle For Redemption”!
CHICAGO – There were a disturbing number of remakes in 2011 that failed to justify their existence, including “The Thing,” “Footloose,” and, perhaps worst of all, Marcus Nispel’s “Conan the Barbarian.” The man behind the equally worthless remakes of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Friday the 13th” has carved out his own niche of dubious filmmaking decisions that make the original look like a masterpiece in comparison. The first “Conan” worked almost entirely because of the star power brought to it by Ah-nuld. The words star power and Jason Momoa have never been used together in a sentence before now.