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Timothy Spall

Film Review: ‘Early Man’ is Unabashedly Freaking Hilarious

CHICAGO – Humor flows from one individual, and reaches another. Whether the receiver laughs or not is subjective, based on experiences and worldview. It can be agreed, however, that animator Nick Park (“Wallace & Gromit”) is hilarious, and he’ll make the world laugh in “Early Man.”

Video Interview: Author Deborah Lipstadt on Holocaust ‘Denial’ With Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson

CHICAGO – HollywoodChicago.com interviews the “Queen of Truth,” Deborah Lipstadt, whose book and famous court trial inspired the new film “Denial”. This year’s “Spotlight” but for the Jews, Rachel Weisz plays Lipstadt opposite Timothy Spall, who portrays the Holocaust denier David Irving.

Film Review: Eccentric Story of ‘Mr. Turner’ Still Visually Arresting

Mr. Turner

CHICAGO – The thing that can be said for British writer/director Mike Leigh is that it’s never known what story may capture his fancy. The auteur of “Happy-Go-Lucky,” “Topsy-Turvy,” “Secrets and Lies” and “Life is Sweet” now tackles the last quarter century of a notable British painter’s life, through his strange maneuverings and unconventionality, in “Mr. Turner.”

Film Review: Convoluted British Heist Flick ‘Wasteland’ Tests Your Patience

Wasteland
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – I’m not sure there’s ever been a heist film in which the heist is discussed, debated, and argued about more than “Wasteland,” opening in Chicago this Friday, August 2, 2013. We know from the beginning, with its “Usual Suspects” narrative trick of an arrested man telling a cop how he got there, that things went wrong. And then we get to hear about the plan for things to go wrong over and over and over again. Writer/director Rowan Athale thinks he has made a crime caper a la “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels” but the constant spinning of wheels drains the piece of its energy until a final act gets so convoluted that the whole thing falls apart.

Film Review: Odd Fairy Tale of ‘Upside Down’ is Also Inside Out

Upside Down

CHICAGO – Definitely one of the strangest films so far in 2013 is “Upside Down,” featuring a dream pairing of Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturgess. The problem is they exist as disparate lovers on opposing planets, with opposite gravitational pulls. Thus what is up for Kirsten is down for Jim, or vice-versa?

DVD Review: World of Nightmares on Display in Effective ‘Heartless’

Heartless

CHICAGO – “Heartless” is a Faustian nightmare, a story of a man who sees behind the curtain of the real world to the creatures of chaos that really run it. It’s a surprisingly riveting and accomplished piece of work, bursting at the seams with attitude and ideas. Many films have attempted to recreate a truly terrifying night vision but “Heartless” finds that dark place between the waking world and that of our worst dreams to become something that deserves (and probably will find on DVD) a wider audience.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Topsy-Turvy,’ ‘The Mikado’ Join Criterion Collection Together

Topsy-Turvy

CHICAGO – Leave it to The Criterion Collection to not just perfectly remaster one of the most acclaimed films of the ’90s but to take its ancestor, the film version of the play in which the modern classic centers around, and give it a similarly remarkable treatment. Fans of Mike Leigh’s “Topsy-Turvy” will adore the new Criterion edition, available now on DVD and Blu-ray, but they should also pick up “The Mikado” to see the inspirational musical in its entirety.

Film Review: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush Star in Confident ‘The King’s Speech’

The King's Speech
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech” has been barreling through the awards season with a number of significant nominations, including six from the Chicago Film Critics Association just today. I understand why. The film does nothing wrong. It features confident production values and good performances but never reaches the peak of excellence for this critic. “The King’s Speech” is a good film that’s been inflated by some viewers to great even if it doesn’t quite deserve the throne.

Go Ask ‘Alice in Wonderland’ With Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway

CHICAGO – It’s like living in a dream. Director Tim Burton’s adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” uses 3-D magic for a timeless classic and creates gratitude for this current era of technology and creativity.

DVD Review: Take a Bite Out of ‘The Hunger: The Complete First Season’

The Hunger

CHICAGO – “The Hunger” is one of the more unusual entries in the history of the TV anthology series, a personal favorite sub-genre of this writer raised on “The Twilight Zone,” “The Outer Limits,” “Tales From the Crypt,” and “Amazing Stories”. It has amazing star power, a loose relation to a great ’80s horror movie, and enough thrills to entertain, but has been largely forgotten by TV history.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Cornerstone, Nothing Without a Company

    CHICAGO – We all need some help. The stage play group Nothing Without a Company realizes that, and has collaborated with the organization “Cornerstone” to provide that assistance. Cornerstone is a seminar and a happening in downtown Chicago, facilitated by “experts” to generate your potential. The presentation has a Thursday-Sunday run at Michigan Avenue’s Artspace 8 through April 29th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Cold War

    CHICAGO – Local filmmaking is thriving, thanks to the many creators who choose to make independent movies in Chicago. Co-directors Stirling McLaughlin and J. Wilder Konschak (also writer) brought their cast and crew to the Windy City to make their comedy, “Cold War.” The film made its digital debut on April 6th, 2018, and will be available on iTunes, Google Play, FandangoNow, Amazon, Vudu and more.

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