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Film Review: ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ Won Some of the Battles But Lost the War

CHICAGO – War is an ugly part of our civilization, but it can be told beautifully. The complexities of battle are often dark and overwhelming, but inside of that there is also a light that reflects hope and love. “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” wants to show us both sides of the war, but despite the bright visuals it is still shrouded in problems.

Film Review: SNL Rightly Touts Its Influence in ‘Live From New York!’

Livefront.jpg

CHICAGO – Love, hate or maintain indifference to it, the TV dinosaur “Saturday Night Live” has and will continue to influence American culture as long as it may reign. To celebrate its 40th Anniversary, filmmaker Bao Nguyen takes a fresh look at the iconic television show in “Live From New York!”

Film Review: ‘Home’ Continues Trend of So-So Animated Films

CHICAGO – What was once an “event” – even the the most medium level animated film was a rare movie occasion – has now become commonplace in the film market. Once that tipping point was reached, suddenly the event became just another weekend, with just another film like “Home.”

Blu-ray Review: ‘Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut’

Little Shop of Horrors

CHICAGO – Frank Oz’s “Little Shop of Horrors” was one of my favorite movie musicals when I was a kid but I’ll admit that I hadn’t seen it i decades and was a little concerned that my nostalgia for the film was misguided. Mere minutes into the new Blu-ray release, I knew the opposite was true — this is an even better film than you remember, now fully enhanced by the legendary alternate ending that the studio forced Oz to cut after test screenings nixed it. This is a great release.

DVD Review: Nostalgia Greater Than Laughs in ‘Carol’s Favorites’

Carol Burnett Favorites

CHICAGO – Say or sing “I’m so glad we had this time together…” and persons of a certain generation will immediately respond, “…just to have a laugh or sing a song.” The theme to the “The Carol Burnett Show” is indelibly etched in show business memory, and Time Life Video is taking advantage of those days with the DVD release of “The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Favorites.”

DVD Review: ‘Steve Martin: The Television Stuff’ Collects Comedy History

Steve Martin: The Television Stuff

CHICAGO – Do young people know of the importance of Steve Martin to the history of comedy? In the ’70s, he helped revolutionize the form through his unique, smart, daring approach on-stage and in his TV comedies and on “Saturday Night Live.” Much of the material that made him a superstar has been collected in a stellar three-disc set from Shout Factory, now available on DVD under the banner “Steve Martin: The Television Stuff.”

Blu-ray Review: Remarkably Talented Ensemble Gets Small in ‘The Big Year’

The Big Year

CHICAGO – Given the wacky nature of Owen Wilson, Jack Black, and Steve Martin in their family comedies and the tendency of all three talented actors to over-act, people will probably be surprised at how generally-subdued their collaboration on “The Big Year” ended up. In fact, while the movie is genial and good-natured, it’s also surprisingly dull. The characters never resonate beyond their descriptions - rookie, veteran, and the jerk in between. So, while the filmmakers deserve credit for not injecting the proceedings with gross-out humor, they needed to inject it with something to bring it to life.

Film Review: Owen Wilson, Steve Martin, Jack Black Flock Up in ‘The Big Year’

The Big Year

CHICAGO – “The Big Year” is advertised as a comedy. The subject is bird watching, or as the new film likes to express the proper term, “birding.” It stars comic legend Steve Martin, and funnymen Jack Black and Owen Wilson. It is both not funny and is ACTUALLY, seriously about birding. Time to fly away.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Chicago Passes to ‘The Big Year’ With Jack Black, Steve Martin

CHICAGO – In our latest comedy edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 40 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance Chicago screening of “The Big Year” with Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson from “The Devil Wears Prada” director!

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Wiz, The

    CHICAGO – When stage theater can cause outbreaks of elation, celebration and joy, then it must be due to Kokandy Productions’ revival of “The Wiz.” The urban reinterpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” story – told through tuneful euphoria and jubilant dance – is ecstatically produced, in every morsel of its stagecraft.

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