CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.
LOS ANGELES – With the flourish of trumpets in “The Bullfighter’s Song,” a pugnacious man would strut on stage and launch a volley of hilarious insults on some unsuspecting targets. That act was Don Rickles, whose show business nicknames included “The King of Zing,” “The Merchant of Venom” and the magnificently ironic “Mr. Warmth.” Rickles died in Los Angeles on April 6th, 2017. He was 90.
CHICAGO – The second volume of shorts created by the most influential and creatively important studio of the last twenty years was recently released on Blu-ray and it’s undeniable that a few of these mini-films are simply better than their full-length competition. Some Oscar-nominated and some including beloved characters, this may not be as obvious a holiday choice as “Brave” or “Finding Nemo,” but “Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 2” is one of the best family Blu-ray releases of the holiday season.
CHICAGO – “Cars 2,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, is disappointing in 1,000 ways. It would be a lackluster family film no matter who made it but the fact that the most important movie studio of the last twenty years, Pixar, produced a film this boring, uninspired, offensive, and just plain horrendous is nearly soul-crushing. This critic counts “WALL-E,” “Finding Nemo,” and all three “Toy Story” movies among the best films ever made. It’s hard to believe “Cars 2” came from the same production company. It’s barely even the same genre.
CHICAGO – It’s always wonderful to see Blu-ray karma turn out the way it should. Blu-ray critics often see great releases with perfect HD and interesting special features for awful movies. Conversely, it’s not uncommon for great films to be given lackluster home releases. “Toy Story 3” is not only one of the best films of 2010, it’s one of the best Blu-rays as well.
CHICAGO – If you don’t at least like the “Toy Story” movies, you’re probably kind of a jerk. Personally, I adore them both and have seen them multiple times on DVD; the standard go-to when babysitting nieces and nephews. And yet watching them again in glorious Disney HD, they still felt new. I’m blinded by love for Pixar, but these are must-owns for anyone with a Blu-ray player.
CHICAGO – Pixar continues their plan for world dominance with their 2009 film “Up” being announced today as the opening film for the 62nd Cannes Film Festival in May. Produced under John Lasseter’s supervision, the film that follows “WALL-E,” “Cars,” “The Incredibles,” “Finding Nemo,” “Toy Story,” and more under the prestigious Pixar banner will be the Opening Ceremony film in Disney Digital 3-D on Wednesday, May 13th, 2009.
CHICAGO – While perfection can be characterized in many ways, there’s only one way to define perfect in film: one with everything you could ask for and nothing you could cut. Though this a highly unlikely proposition, “WALL-E” has become 2008’s first perfect film and one of the best Pixar projects of all time.