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Stephen Frears

Interview: John Cusack Channels Brian Wilson in ‘Love & Mercy’

CHICAGO – John Cusack has never rested on his laurels, which are many in his film career, nor stood still as an artist or an actor. His latest film is the magnificent “Love & Mercy,” in which he portrays music legend Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys as a middle aged man, trying to break free of the circumstances in his life.

Film Review: Life’s Other Plans at Full Disclosure in ‘Philomena’

CHICAGO – Although “Philomena” sounds like a faraway land, it actually is a name of a real Irish lady, who lost her son through a Catholic adoption service that was designed to hide her out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Judi Dench portrays the title character as an older woman, with Steve Coogan as the reporter trying to help locate the son for her.

Interview: Steve Coogan on the Art of Faith in ‘Philomena’

CHICAGO – “Philomena” is not a state of being or location. It is the name of a woman whose child was taken away, through Catholic adoption services in Ireland during the mid 20th Century. Judi Dench portrays that woman in a modern context, and her costar is notable British comedian – and co-screenwriter of the story – Steve Coogan.

Blu-ray Review: Bruce Willis, Rebecca Hall in Dull ‘Lay the Favorite’

Lay the Favorite

CHICAGO – Every once in a Hollywood while, a true head-scratcher comes along. How on Earth did this movie, with this many talented people involved, end up so boring? If you told me that Stephen Frears (“The Grifters,” “The Queen”) was re-teaming with his “High Fidelity” scribe D.V. DeVincentis on a dramedy with the great Rebecca Hall and Bruce Willis, I would probably put that flick on a highly-anticipated list.

DVD Review: ‘Tamara Drewe’ Charms, Exasperates in Equal Measure

Tamara Drewe DVD

CHICAGO – A simple glance at the trailer and poster for “Tamara Drewe” would lead one to assume that the film was a showcase for the largely untapped abilities of Gemma Arterton. At age 25, she’s already been wasted in three regrettable Hollywood blockbusters, emerging as little more than a low-rent Rachel Weisz. Her strong work in British productions like “The Disappearance of Alice Creed” suggests that she may merely be miscast.

Film Review: Gemma Arterton Displays Luminosity as ‘Tamara Drewe’

Tamara Drewe, Gemma Arterton

CHICAGO – There are some movies that are gut level great because of plot, atmosphere and pacing, and then there are movies like “Tamara Drewe,” which rely on the elusive star power of the performer to drive its engine. Gemma Arterton portrays the title character and lights up the screen with a vivid presence in this simple story of a woman’s homecoming.

Interview: Director Stephen Frears on His Vision For ‘Tamara Drewe’

CHICAGO – Director Stephen Frears is a storytelling legend who sneaks up on us. Besides his new film “Tamara Drewe,” which played at this year’s Chicago International Film Festival, Frears has a filmography that includes “The Queen,” “Mrs. Henderson Presents,” “High Fidelity,” “The Snapper,” “Hero,” “Prick Up Your Ears” and “My Beautiful Laundrette.”

Movie News: 2010 Chicago International Film Festival Announces First 20 Films

CIFF logo

CHICAGO – Cinema/Chicago is proud to announce the first 20 new films scheduled to appear at the 2010 Chicago International Film Festival, October 7th – 21st. The Chicago festival continues to combine the films of established directors/talent with promising newcomers. Expect some foreign and domestic film surprises.

DVD Review: ‘Cheri’ Knows Love Isn’t Love if It’s All About You

Cheri

CHICAGO – “Cheri” could be confused with an updated adaptation of a Jane Austen novel if its characters weren’t so comfortable with what goes on between the sheets. Like players in many stuffy costume dramas, they wear the best clothes, live in lavishly decorated homes and speak their perfect grammar in posh accents. But since they aren’t sexually repressed, they do it all with a little bounce in their step.

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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 3rd, 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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