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Tracy Letts

Superb Allegorical Story Told in Essential ‘Christine’

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

CHICAGO – In one of the great American films of the year, character actor Rebecca Hall interprets a based-on-truth incident from the 1970s, as she portrays the title character of “Christine.” The film encapsulates the nature of mental health, gender issues and the pursuit of random numbers.

Unexpected Lessons for the Student of ‘Indignation’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – America was a very different place in 1951, and there are very few people around to tell us about it. That is why reminders of the more confining social order that existed back then is necessary, and is expressed in the film “Indignation.” This is an adaptation of a recent Philip Roth novel, and he was able to articulate the era.

Realistic, Difficult Lives Are Exposed in ‘Wiener-Dog’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO –Director Todd Solondz has made a career out of not shying away from the most uncomfortable negativities of life. From extreme disconnection (“Happiness”) to pedophilia (“Life During Wartime”) to the sad rejection of pre-teen years (“Welcome to the Dollhouse”), Solondz pulls no punches. He achieves that harsh intent yet again in “Wiener-Dog.”

Unoriginal, Unfunny ‘This is Where I Leave You’ a Poor Man’s ‘August: Osage County’

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

CHICAGO – Jason Bateman and an all-star cast got me there. The unfunny copycat story left me regretting it. If you don’t start with a solid plot that’s at least somewhat new, it doesn’t matter how many “A”-listers you throw into an ensemble. They’re just individuals doing the best they can with weak material. But the film’s fatal flaw is it can’t figure out who it is – a comedy, drama or dramedy? – and it didn’t do just one thing well.

Family Secrets, Fine Acting in ‘August: Osage County’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – There will be inevitable comparisons to the Pulitzer Prize-winning stage version of “August: Osage County” from the thousands of people who have been touched by the stage play. But in giving the film version a chance, there is the same passion, drama and heat of family dysfunction within it, with a dream cast.

Matthew McConaughey Delivers in Searing ‘Killer Joe’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – William Friedkin’s film of Tracy Letts’ “Killer Joe” takes no prisoners. One of the central characters is introduced from the waist down and to say that the film climaxes in violent, sexual oddity would be like saying “The Avengers” features a few superheroes. However, it would be a mistake to allow the controversy or the shock value to become the story of this excellent noir comedy that takes black humor to a new level of darkness.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Downward Dog

    CHICAGO – From “Mr. Ed” to “Dog with a Blog,” talking animals have had their place on TV. The latest has origins as a web series, with the clever title “Downward Dog.” The show premieres on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 (9:30pEST/8:30pCST), on ABC TV, and features Ned the Dog as Martin, and human companions portrayed by Allison Tolman and Lucas Neff.

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    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.

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