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Sissy Spacek

Theater Review: ‘Carrie: The Musical’ is Surprisingly Serious

CHICAGO – Some people spend the rest of their lives trying to compensate for slights felt in high school – that social jungle is staged in “Carrie: The Musical.” Based on Stephen King’s novel, the story of Carrie White is presented as an adversarial tale by Bailiwick Chicago at Victory Gardens Theater.

Interview: Chloe Grace Moretz Takes on Iconic Role of ‘Carrie’

Chloe Grace Moretz is only 16 and already has 50 credits to her name, including “(500) Days of Summer,” “Kick-Ass,” and “Let Me In.” She filmed “The Amityville Horror” remake on the North side of the city when she was only 5 and returned this week to talk about starring in her first lead role, the title part in Kimberly Peirce’s remake of the Stephen King classic, “Carrie.”

Blu-ray Review: Terrence Malick’s ‘Badlands’ Joins Criterion Collection

Badlands

CHICAGO – Any list of the most influential films of the ’70s that doesn’t include Terrence Malick’s brilliant “Badlands” is incomplete. It’s one of those cinematic works that’s so important to its era and how it influenced filmmakers that saw it that it’s hard to put into reviews in a brief review such as this one. It is iconic in the way Malick took the familiar (it’s based on a true story that was well-known at the time) and made it artistic. It’s also a great selection for The Criterion Collection, joining Malick’s “Days of Heaven” and “The Thin Red Line” in the most important series of Blu-rays ever released.

Blu-ray Review: Beloved ‘The Help’ With Viola Davis, Emma Stone

The Help

CHICAGO – “The Help” has been one of the most divisive movies of 2011. I know some critics who absolutely loathe it, finding the easy-to-digest version of something as important as civil rights to be offensive. I get that. I know some critics who love it, finding the performances strong enough to carry the movie over any sentimental rough patches. I get that too. The movie is too much of a phenomenon for any self-respecting cinema buff to miss it entirely. So, as much as I’d love to offer a solid thumbs up or down, I’m falling pretty squarely in the middle, edging just barely to a recommendation, but you need to see it for yourself just to see on which side of the controversial fence you fall.

Blu-Ray Review: Robert Altman’s ‘3 Women’ Remains Mesmerizing

3 Women

CHICAGO – One of the most remarkable things about Robert Altman was his refusal to give in to the pressures of pleasing an audience. He made films for himself. There may be no better example of this than “3 Women,” a film that defies too much examination in part because it’s purposefully vague as it was based on a dream of Mr. Altman’s. He had a dream, woke up, and turned it into a treatment, from which they shot the movie. It’s surreal, bizarre, and totally mesmerizing, and is one of the newest Criterion Blu-rays.

Film Review: Emma Stone, Viola Davis Lend a Hand to ‘The Help’

CHICAGO – Using fiction to express the importance of real historical events is seductive and sometimes disingenuous. The new film “The Help” manages to counteract that notion through high level, emotional performances.

Interviews: ‘The Help’ Director Tate Taylor, Star Octavia Spencer

CHICAGO – The search for the right actress to portray the pivotal role of Minny in the new film “The Help” ended with Octavia Spencer. The veteran performer was key in expressing the particulars of the character, which was enhanced by director Tate Taylor.

Interview: Emma Stone on Career-Expanding ‘The Help’

CHICAGO – Emma Stone has had a meteoric rise in her film career in four short years. From impressing with her 2007 film debut in “Superbad,” she has moved rapidly through “Zombieland,” “Easy A” and is coming up as Skeeter Phelan in “The Help.”

Film Review: Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek Elevate Drama ‘Get Low’

CHICAGO – What could possibly drive a man into such a deep pit of despair that he would choose to break from society and take on the life of a hermit?

Interview: Aaron Schneider Directs Robert Duvall, Bill Murray in ‘Get Low’

CHICAGO – The legend of a 1930s country hermit – part folk tale, part exaggeration and some truth – comes to life through director Aaron Schneider and the great Robert Duvall in the new film “Get Low.” Also featuring Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek, this character driven drama is a pastiche of secrets, regrets and redemption.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 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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