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Film Review: ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ is a Worthy Addition

CHICAGO – I guess from now on, it will never be the holidays without a Star Wars movie, and why not? Every year, we’ll have a celebration with the ardent fans and characters that are one in that universe, “a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away.” For 2016, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

Film Review: ‘Moana’ is Walt Disney Pictures at its Breezy Best

CHICAGO – “Moana” is a solid example of the time honored Disney musical. It is exactly the sort of sun drenched warm weather beacon we residents of cold weather climes can enjoy as the holiday season approaches, and it a refreshing change from another spin of Mele Kalikimaka.

Film Review: Marvel Studios Reaches New Heights in Satisfying ‘Captain America: Civil War’

CHICAGO – “Captain America: Civil War” is more of an “Avengers” movie than it is a Captain America movie. But that’s okay because this is easily the best Avengers movie Marvel Studios has ever made, and it also might be the best movie the studio has ever made.

Film Review: ‘Zootopia’ is an Odd But Endearing Disney Animated Film

CHICAGO – Walt Disney Studio’s latest animated extravaganza is best viewed as a child’s introduction to the buddy cop movie, since you can’t exactly start a toddler on “Midnight Run” or “Lethal Weapon 2.” But in this case it’s a bunny cop movie.

Film Review: ‘The Good Dinosaur’ is Pixar Studio’s Most Ordinary Film

Good Dinosaur, The

CHICAGO – The animation in Pixar Studio’s latest feature ,“The Good Dinosaur,” is nothing short of extraordinary. At times throughout the film, the images looked like they came right out of National Geographic, and I truly couldn’t believe i was watching animation. However, this delightful animation is in service to an undistinguished prehistoric buddy comedy that wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of “The Flintstones.”

Film Review: ‘Cinderella’ Finds New Magic in Old Fairy Tale

CHICAGO – In the years since “Shrek,” the fractured fairy tale has become Hollywood’s default approach. We’ve been treated to so many irreverent and increasingly labored treatments of storybook characters, that Disney’s new live-action “Cinderella” comes off as relatively fresh by comparison.

Film Review: Bigger Not Better ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’

CHICAGO – This is what happens when a beloved book gets sucked into the big Hollywood studio machine and gets all the endearing qualities – plus its heart and soul – sucked right out of it. “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad movie.

Film Review: ‘Maleficent’ is All Dressed Up With No Story to Tell

CHICAGO – If “Maleficent” were an actual fairy tale storybook, I’d say it has beautiful illustrations but not much story to tell. As the title character Angelina Jolie is a towering presence with an unforgettable look, but the film itself is all dressed up with nowhere to go.

Film Review: Muppets Still Know How to Entertain in ‘Muppets Most Wanted’

CHICAGO – There is a comfort, like a favorite drink in a childhood mug, about Jim Henson’s legendary Muppets and their standard of entertainment and humor. It’s brilliant that Walt Disney Studios continues to understand what makes them work, producing their latest, “Muppets Most Wanted.”

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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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