August 2011

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Chicago Passes Plus Prize Packs to ‘Contagion’ With Matt Damon

CHICAGO – In our latest special edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 admit-two advance-screening movie passes plus three grand prize packs up for grabs to the highly anticipated new film “Contagion” with Matt Damon, Kate Winslet and Jude Law!

Interviews: Oliver Schmitz, Khomotso Manyaka of ‘Life, Above All’

CHICAGO – The spectre of AIDS seems to have diminished, but the continent of Africa still has a huge problem fighting the disease. Director Oliver Schmitz (”Paris, Je T’Aime”) focuses his lens on this physical and cultural crisis in “Life, Above All.”

Film Review: Performance of Exemplary Cast Collects on ‘The Debt’

CHICAGO – Re-imagining, almost re-engaging the evil of the Holocaust has been thoroughly examined in film for years. “The Debt” looks at another angle, that of revenge and how much that revenge can wreak havoc on the truth.

Performance of Exemplary Cast Collects on ‘The Debt’

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

CHICAGO – Re-imagining, almost re-engaging the evil of the Holocaust has been thoroughly examined in film for years. “The Debt” looks at another angle, that of revenge and how much that revenge can wreak havoc on the truth.

Blu-Ray Review: Excellent ‘Win Win’ With Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan

Win Win

CHICAGO – The best film of the first quarter of 2011 was a sublime little gem from the great Thomas McCarthy (“The Station Agent,” “The Visitor”) called “Win Win.” The clever, character-driven dramedy with Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan was recently-released on Blu-ray and DVD, and it deserves to find (and very likely will with word-of-mouth) a loyal audience on the home market. This is a great movie.

Film News: Josh Brolin Signs on For Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’ Remake

Oldboy

CHICAGO – If a remake of the 2003 Korean film “Oldboy” didn’t look like it was going to happen, it sure does now. After Spike Lee had signed on to direct the Americanized remake a few weeks ago, just yesterday Empire reported that Josh Brolin has signed on to play the lead character.

Interview: Vera Farmiga Ascends to ‘Higher Ground’

CHICAGO – As an actress, Vera Farmiga broke out big in 2009 with her Oscar nominated performance in “Up in the Air.” Farmiga is now taking a total filmmaker’s role, playing the lead character and directing the new film, “Higher Ground.”

TV News: Season 13 ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Cast Officially Revealed

Dancing With the Stars Fall 2011

CHICAGO – The official results are in. The cast for the thirteenth season of the ABC reality series “Dancing with the Stars” was announced tonight during the commercial breaks of the show “Bachelor Pad.”

HollywoodChicago.com Halfoff: 46% Off 4-Pack of AMC Gold Experience Movie Tickets Plus Free Popcorn

AMC Theatres Halfoff through Goldstar

CHICAGOWhy pay full price for four AMC movie tickets when you can pay half? Until this Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. only, HollywoodChicago.com offers you through Goldstar this exclusive 46 percent discount! Our readers even snag a free popcorn with this deal, too!

Video Game Review: Goofy, Bizarre ‘No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise’

CHICAGO – Games don’t get much weirder than “No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise.” This import of the Nintendo Wii hit that has now been repurposed for both the standard wireless controller and the Playstation Move is such a unique, bizarre game that it almost warrants playing it purely for the copious personality on display. It’s too bad that said personality can’t overcome frustrating gameplay and repetitive action but this is a modest success that could work for the right player.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Hostage,’ ‘Rounders,’ ‘Swingers,’ ‘Good Will Hunting’

Good Will Hunting

CHICAGO – A few beloved films from the ’90s are making their debut on Blu-ray…and “Hostage.” We can’t really find the tie between the Bruce Willis action flick and “Rounders,” “Swingers,” and “Good Will Hunting” but it actually is an underrated flick and it’s hitting HD this month from the same company (Lionsgate releasing Miramax titles) and we didn’t want to discriminate. The best of the bunch is probably the Gus Van Sant Oscar-winner but the movie that introduced the world to Vince Vaughn & Jon Favreau isn’t far behind. Pick up your favorite.

On WGN Radio: HollywoodChicago.com’s Brian Tallerico on Fall 2011 TV Premiere Dates, Part 2

WGN Radio

CHICAGO – Brian Tallerico appears on Bill Moller’s program on Saturday, August 27th, 2011 to answer listener questions about premiere dates for programs including “Boardwalk Empire,” “Treme,” “NCIS,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Breaking Bad,” and more.

Blu-Ray Review: Brilliant Dissection of Faith in ‘Secret Sunshine’

Secret Sunshine

CHICAGO – The partnership between IFC and The Criterion Collection has led to a number of great releases (“A Christmas Tale,” “Che”) and a few questionable entries (“Life During Wartime”) but rarely has it completely unearthed a film as little-seen as Lee Chang-Dong’s brilliant “Secret Sunshine.” This award-winning dissection of faith amidst tragedy never even received a Chicago release as far as I can remember but it absolutely deserves a wider audience. This is a great film given a strong release by the DVD/Blu-ray series ever.

TV News: Rumors Swirl Around New Cast of ‘Dancing With the Stars’

Dancing With the Stars Logo

CHICAGO – Rumors are flying around the internet about the new cast of the ABC reality series “Dancing with the Stars.” While the official announcement of the cast will come tonight at 7 p.m. central during the commercial breaks for the show “Bachelor Pad,” some people just can’t wait to find out which celebrities will be slipping on ballroom shoes.

Blu-Ray Review: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster Deserve Bigger Audience For ‘The Beaver’

CHICAGO – If there was one film this year that I wished had found a wider audience more than any other it is definitely Jodie Foster’s “The Beaver,” a daring, challenging piece that would have had an uphill battle at the box office even if the personal life of its star, Mel Gibson, hadn’t made that climb even steeper.

Box Office News: Hurricane Lowers Attendance, ‘The Help’ Still Tops

Help, The

CHICAGO – Hurricane Irene caused some drops in the number of attendees out on the east coast this weekend, but “The Help” was still able to come in at number one at the box office, marking the second week in a row where the film led the pack. This is quite the accomplishment considering the film finished in second place in its debut weekend and came in as the front runner in its second and third weeks in the theaters.

Film Review: Paul Rudd Makes a Difference as ‘Our Idiot Brother’

CHICAGO – Advertised deceptively as a comedy, the new film “My Idiot Brother” has a Zen-like quality that is surprising, and oddly captivating, but cannot sustain itself and eventually runs out of steam. Paul Rudd plays the brother to three errant sisters, portrayed by Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer.

Paul Rudd Makes a Difference as ‘Our Idiot Brother’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Advertised deceptively as a comedy, the new film “My Idiot Brother” has a Zen-like quality that is surprising, and oddly captivating, but cannot sustain itself and eventually runs out of steam. Paul Rudd plays the brother to three errant sisters, portrayed by Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer.

Film Review: Zoe Saldana Sinks in Tedious, Illogical ‘Colombiana’

CHICAGO – Only the director of “The Transporter 3” could make a movie in which the gorgeous Zoe Saldana changes outfits as often as she speaks lines of dialogue as dull as the tedious, illogical, useless “Colombiana.” Sure, the final showdown has some damn cool action but it takes a hundred often-unbearable minutes to get there.

Zoe Saldana Sinks in Tedious, Illogical ‘Colombiana’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Only the director of “The Transporter 3” could make a movie in which the gorgeous Zoe Saldana changes outfits as often as she speaks lines of dialogue as dull as the tedious, illogical, useless “Colombiana.” Sure, the final showdown has some damn cool action but it takes a hundred often-unbearable minutes to get there.

Film Review: ‘Brighton Rock’ Remake Fails to Justify its Existence

Brighton Rock
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Rowan Joffe’s long-gestating remake of “Brighton Rock” (the 1947 noir classic was based on the beloved book by Graham Greene) raises the question least-desired in one of these situations – why bother? Sure, the story is a nifty little tale of a rising criminal undone by his own avarice and the love of a girl and the cast assembled for the remake is an undeniably talented ensemble.

‘Brighton Rock’ Remake Fails to Justify its Existence

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Rowan Joffe’s long-gestating remake of “Brighton Rock” (the 1947 noir classic was based on the beloved book by Graham Greene) raises the question least-desired in one of these situations – why bother? Sure, the story is a nifty little tale of a rising criminal undone by his own avarice and the love of a girl and the cast assembled for the remake is an undeniably talented ensemble.

Film Review: Ineffective ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’ From Producer Guillermo Del Toro

CHICAGO – Echoing elements of masterful works by Producer Guillermo Del Toro (most notably “The Devil’s Backbone,” “Pan’s Labyrinth”), “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” is an incredibly frustrating remake, a film that reminds one of scary movies instead of actually producing scares itself.

Ineffective ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’ From Producer Guillermo Del Toro

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Echoing elements of masterful works by Producer Guillermo Del Toro (most notably “The Devil’s Backbone,” “Pan’s Labyrinth”), “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” is an incredibly frustrating remake, a film that reminds one of scary movies instead of actually producing scares itself.

Video Game Review: Incredible Gaming Experience of ‘Deus Ex: Human Revolution’

CHICAGO – Rarely has an action game given me the same sense of accomplishment as “Deus Ex: Human Revolution.” While we’ve come a long way in the genre over the last few years, most shooters are still based on predetermined patterns. Enemies pop up in the same place. The same doors must be opened. Precise paths must be taken.

TV News: FOX Revives Canceled Comedy Series ‘Breaking In’

Breaking In

CHICAGO – Fans who enjoyed the new comedy series “Breaking In” and feared the show wouldn’t last longer than the seven episode first season need not worry. FOX officially announced this afternoon that they would be renewing the show for a second season of production, even after announcing a few months ago that it was canceled.

Blu-Ray Review: Don’t Bother to Take ‘Something Borrowed’

Something Borrowed

CHICAGO – “Something Borrowed” is just a stupid, stupid movie. It’s not painful nor as horrendous as many recent romantic comedies largely through the overall likeability of star Ginnifer Goodwin, but it’s just stupid. It features stupid people doing stupid things and serves as more of a cautionary tale about picking the right people to support you than it does as any sort of modern romance. With too-little chemistry as friends or lovers, “Something Borrowed” never clicks. It should disappear soon from Blu-ray and DVD shelves and all but the most diehard fans of the romantic genre or the stars involved should give it back.

Celebrity News: ‘Treme’ Actor Michael Showers Found Dead at 45 in Mississippi River

Treme

CHICAGO – Foul play may be involved in the discovery of the body of an actor from one of HBO’s hit shows. Michael Showers, best known for his work in the HBO series “Treme,” was found dead yesterday morning in New Orleans. Showers was 45 years old.

DVD Review: Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Killing’ Features Early Work of Future Master

The Killing

CHICAGO – When film lovers hear the name of one of the great masters of the form — Stanley Kubrick — their mind usually races to one of his most famous flicks, whether it be “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “Dr. Strangelove,” “The Shining,” or even “Full Metal Jacket.” But where did one of our most beloved directors hone his craft? In a series of smaller films, two of which are now available in a single Criterion Blu-ray or DVD release — “The Killing” and “Killer’s Kiss.”

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    CHICAGO – Seemingly ripped from the headlines, by way of “Dr. Strangelove,” the new Netflix TV series “Space Force” debuted on May 29th, 2020. Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com reviewed the series during the Eddie Volkman Show (Star 96.7 FM in Joliet, Illinois) on June 5th, 2020.

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