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Film Review: ‘Novitiate’ Goes Inside the 1960s Catholic Church

Novitiate

CHICAGO – In a “mystery of faith” narrative disguised as a feminist statement, the new film “Novitiate” goes inside a nunnery in 1964 America, just as the Catholic Church was about to make some radical changes to their procedures. How it affected the church is how it affected the nuns, and the intriguing insider story is full of back room shocks.

Interview, Audio: Kyle Mooney & Dave McCary Create ‘Brigsby Bear’

CHICAGO – “Live from New York, it’s a new generation of ‘Saturday Night Live’ movies!” Four guys from SNL… performers Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett, segment director Dave McCary, and producer/performer Andy Samberg all pitch in to create “Brigsby Bear,” the odd story of a man-boy who loves a TV show.

Interview: Tom Hiddleston, Director Marc Abraham on ‘I Saw the Light’

CHICAGO – The legacy of country music singer Hank Williams is embraced in every lonesome twang you hear in any song. The actor Tom Hiddleston (“Thor”) transcends his Loki roots to embody the 1950s songster in a way that is otherworldly, working from the script and direction of Marc Abraham.

Film Review: ‘Truth’ Exposes the Obstacles in Modern Journalism

CHICAGO – One of the indications of how the story depicted in “Truth” still resonates was that the CBS Network refused to show advertising for it. The film is a lesson in messing with true power – CBS News went after the ruthless Bush administration during an election year, and they went down.

Film Review: Mary Elizabeth Winstead is Emotionally Wrecked in ‘Smashed’

Smashed

CHICAGO – “Young Drunks in Love” could be the subtitle of the new film “Smashed,’ or maybe “Recovery Can’t Recover All.” Regardless, Mary Elizabeth Winstead gives a career-defining performance as a young adult facing up to that adulthood, and leaving behind everything she has known for a life that’s healthier, but less familiar.

Film Review: The Dog Days of Diane Keaton in ‘Darling Companion’

Darling Companion

CHICAGO – “If you want a friend in Washington,” Harry S. Truman once said, “get a dog.” The same can be said for the film industry, as they keep producing canine quandaries. Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Sam Shepard and Elisabeth Moss cozy up to their own ‘Darling Companion.’

Film Review: ‘Footnote’ Deserves Prominence With Great Storytelling

Footnote

CHICAGO – Answering the question, “Where are all the great film thrillers about Talumdic Studies?,” the awesome film “Footnote” considers that very subject, pitting the always complicated relationship between a father and son against an treasured academic prize. Even though it sounds starchy, it actually had more verve than most spy movies.

Film Review: ‘In Darkness’ Illuminates Another Horror of the Holocaust

In Darkness

CHICAGO – The subject of the Holocaust has become an entire film genre onto it’s own, embracing many different styles. The latest Holocaust film, “In Darkness,” feels like a disaster movie, and iconic Polish director Agnieszka Holland has steered it to a Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

Blu-ray Review: Woody Allen’s Exquisite, Romantic ‘Midnight in Paris’

Midnight in Paris

CHICAGO – At times, Woody Allen’s new film releases stink like an old glove, and thankfully there are times when they fit like an old glove. His latest is “Midnight in Paris,” just released on Blu-ray and DVD. This is classic romantic Woody, set in the City of Lights, and featuring Owen Wilson taking on the Allen persona. It’s also featured in my Top 10 Films of 2011.

Film Review: Strength of ‘Life, Above All’ Found in Khomotso Manyaka

Life, Above All 2

CHICAGO – As long as one person is inflicted with HIV, or full-blown AIDS, the crisis will never be averted, despite less of a profile in America and Europe. Africa is still in the midst of dealing with the epidemic, and Khomotso Manyaka portrays a symbol of that struggle in the enlightening “Life, Above All.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 10th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • 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).

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