September 2011

Film Review: Not Much to Build Upon in Vague ‘Dream House’

CHICAGO – Mixing three actors with great reputations – Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts – with Jim Sheridan, a six time Oscar nominated director, would assume to yield some fruitful results. But with “Dream House,” the artifice is indistinct and ill-defined, ultimately much ado about nothing.

Not Much to Build Upon in Vague ‘Dream House’

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

CHICAGO – Mixing three actors with great reputations – Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts – with Jim Sheridan, a six time Oscar nominated director, would assume to yield some fruitful results. But with “Dream House,” the artifice is indistinct and ill-defined, ultimately much ado about nothing.

Film Review: Story Too Broad to Execute in ‘Machine Gun Preacher’

Machine Gun Preacher 2

CHICAGO – When one movie has an ex-con, drug retribution violence, his religious conversion, his building of a church, his preaching, his trip to Southern Sudan in Africa, his opening of an orphanage and his family, then it’s too big a story to tell. Therein lies the challenge for “Machine Gun Preacher.”

Story Too Broad to Execute in ‘Machine Gun Preacher’

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

CHICAGO – When one movie has an ex-con, drug retribution violence, his religious conversion, his building of a church, his preaching, his trip to Southern Sudan in Africa, his opening of an orphanage and his family, then it’s too big a story to tell. Therein lies the challenge for “Machine Gun Preacher.”

TV Review: Mediocre ‘Hung,’ ‘How to Make It in America’ Return to HBO

Hung S3

CHICAGO – Not all HBO shows are created equal. While critics have devoted thousands of words to the brilliance of shows like “Boardwalk Empire,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and “Game of Thrones,” a few other offerings from the most important TV network of the last quarter-century have gone under the radar.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Chicago Passes to ‘The Way’ With Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez

The Way with Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez

CHICAGO – In our latest adventure/comedy edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 40 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance Chicago screening of “The Way” with Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen from writer/director Emilio Estevez!

TV News: CBS Misses Ratings Target With ‘How to Be a Gentleman’

How to Be a Gentleman

CHICAGO – It has felt for a few years like everything CBS threw against the wall would stick. Sure, shows like “The Defenders” and “$#*! My Dad Says” got canceled but they weren’t bombs. Ladies and gentleman, we are happy to report that the new Kevin Dillon sitcom “How to Be a Gentleman” is an official bomb. With a household rating of only 5.5, the show dropped a remarkable 41% from its lead-in (“The Big Bang Theory”) and was even down 18% from the second episode of “$#*! My Dad Says” at this time last year. Thanks for ignoring this mess.

Film Review: Anna Faris Falls Flat in Awful ‘What’s Your Number?’

What's Your Number?
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Why can’t anyone figure out how to use Anna Faris effectively? She’s got some of the best comic timing of any actress working today but she can’t find a good script in which to display it. Take her latest venture, the misogynistic, creepy, and just BAD “What’s Your Number?,” a pale excuse for a chick flick that should look even more ghostly in light of the similarly-themed and far-superior “Bridesmaids” earlier this year.

Anna Faris Falls Flat in Awful ‘What’s Your Number?’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Why can’t anyone figure out how to use Anna Faris effectively? She’s got some of the best comic timing of any actress working today but she can’t find a good script in which to display it. Take her latest venture, the misogynistic, creepy, and just BAD “What’s Your Number?,” a pale excuse for a chick flick that should look even more ghostly in light of the similarly-themed and far-superior “Bridesmaids” earlier this year.

Film Review: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen in Moving ‘50/50’

CHICAGO – Jonathan Levine’s “50/50” is a daring blend of buddy comedy, light romance, family drama, and, oh yeah, cancer movie. The tightrope act of a script by Will Reiser is elevated in remarkable ways by one of the best ensembles of the year, led ably by the great Joseph Gordon-Levitt, doing career-best, Oscar nomination-worthy work.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen in Moving ‘50/50’

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

CHICAGO – Jonathan Levine’s “50/50” is a daring blend of buddy comedy, light romance, family drama, and, oh yeah, cancer movie. The tightrope act of a script by Will Reiser is elevated in remarkable ways by one of the best ensembles of the year, led ably by the great Joseph Gordon-Levitt, doing career-best, Oscar nomination-worthy work.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ Exudes Ageless Radiance

Breakfast at Tiffany's Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – With her gamine physique and ageless radiance, it’s easy to see why many cinephiles regard Audrey Hepburn as the greatest of all screen beauties. Yet it isn’t merely her unconventional appearance that continues to keep moviegoers mesmerized. It’s her utter lack of vanity and unmistakable sweetness that ground her in an earthy reality unoccupied by fellow icons like Monroe.

Film Review: Cameron Crowe’s ‘Pearl Jam Twenty’ is Amazing Rock Doc

CHICAGO – Very few music documentaries in the history of the form have more successfully conveyed the inner workings and outer artistic expression of a band than Cameron Crowe’s brilliant “Pearl Jam Twenty,” a joyful, inspirational examination of the importance of creative integrity and great rock ‘n’ roll.

Cameron Crowe’s ‘Pearl Jam Twenty’ is Amazing Rock Doc

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

Very few music documentaries in the history of the form have more successfully conveyed the inner workings and outer artistic expression of a band than Cameron Crowe’s brilliant “Pearl Jam Twenty,” a joyful, inspirational examination of the importance of creative integrity and great rock ‘n’ roll. Pearl Jam has survived for two decades as so many of their peers have come and gone by staying true to their music and their fans.

Entertainment News: 2011 Hollywood Celebrities & Memorabilia Show in Chicago

Cindy Williams, Photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – The Hollywood Celebrities & Memorabilia Show kicks off on Saturday, October 1st, and for the final time it will be hosted by Ray and Sharon Courts. The dynamic duo has been bringing this show to Chicago, which connects fans with celebrities for autographs and photos, for nearly 20 years.

Slideshow: New ‘The Avengers’ Photos Reveal Six Heroes in 2012 Film

| Image 1 of 6 |
Black Widow

CHICAGO – A new set of photos, released today, shows each of the heroes of “The Avengers” in a tight close up. The excitement of having six different heroes in one movie made for six different photos, each showing one of the suited up heroes.

Film News: Opening Scene Secrets Revealed For ‘Bond 23’

Quantum of Solace

CHICAGO- It has been almost three years since the release of the last 007 film, “Quantum of Solace,” and it finally looks like things will officially get under way for the twenty-third Bond film. In a return to an area not foreign to James Bond, the opening sequences of the film have apparently been slotted to take place in Istanbul.

Interview: Director Charles Martin Smith Spins a ‘Dolphin Tale’

CHICAGO – Charles Martin Smith has had a varied career as an actor and a director. He was one of the famous ensemble cast members of “American Graffiti,” directed by George Lucas, and broke out himself as a director in the mid-1980s. His latest work as a filmmaker was one of last week’s big box office hits, “Dolphin Tale.”

TV News: FOX’s ‘The X Factor’ Dips in Ratings, ‘Modern Family’ Stays Hot

The X Factor

CHICAGOFOX’s new reality singing competition, “The X Factor,” dropped in its ratings from last week’s premiere to this week’s new auditions. While the drop is no surprise (almost every show drops in ratings from the premiere to the weeks that follow) “The X Factor” was already slightly disappointing in its viewership from week one.

TV Review: Clichés Dominate CBS’s Stupid ‘How to Be a Gentleman’

CHICAGO – It’s funny how one tweak of the formula can lead to something tasty while another can lead to something rancid. On paper, CBS’s “2 Broke Girls,” one of the breakout hits of the season both critically and commercially, is not that dissimilar from “How to Be a Gentleman,” which premieres tonight on CBS in the cush post-“The Big Bang Theory” timeslot.

Blu-Ray Review: Julie Taymor’s ‘The Tempest’ Redeemed By Excellent Extras

The Tempest Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – Risk-taking visionaries are always exciting to watch in action, even when their gambles don’t quite pay off. Yet while the recent projects tackled by Julie Taymor have sported great promise on paper, their externalized metaphors often work against the material she’s aiming to enhance. In her Beatles musical “Across the Universe,” soldiers were seen carrying the Statue of Liberty into Vietnam while singing, “She’s so heavy.”

Interviews: Gerard Butler, Sam Childers on ‘Machine Gun Preacher’

CHICAGO – Gerard Butler is movie star good looking, that is very apparent when meeting him. What wasn’t expected was his keen insight, passion and perspective on taking on a challenge and playing a true-life Pennsylvania preacher, who ends up helping children in the most corrupted areas of the Southern Sudan in Africa, in “Machine Gun Preacher.”

DVD Review: Recent Seasons of ‘Body of Proof,’ ‘Castle,’ ‘The Mentalist’

Body of Proof pilot

CHICAGO – How many combined victims do you think there were on the recently-released season series sets for “Body of Proof: The Complete First Season,” “Castle: The Complete Third Season,” and “The Mentalist: The Complete Third Season.” 24 episodes of “The Mentalist,” 24 episodes of “Castle,” 9 episodes of “Body of Proof,” plus some episodes with multiple murders — that’s a lot of dead people. Find justice for them all with these three strong TV on DVD releases, all recent additions to your local “New Releases” shelf.

Interview: Seth Rogen, Will Reiser Bet on Cancer Comedy ‘50/50’

CHICAGO – “A cancer comedy”. It had to be a tough sell. How do you sell a buddy movie in which one of them is probably going to die from the big C? It was a risky proposition. And yet the chorus of acclaim for “50/50” proves that Seth Rogen was right to convince his buddy Will Reiser to turn his true story into a fictional comedy.

TV News: ‘New Girl’ Gets First Full Season Pick-Up of Fall 2011

New Girl

CHICAGOFOX made a lot of TV viewers happy this afternoon when, on the strength of its first two outings, they renewed “New Girl” for a full season. The Zooey Deschanel sitcom will be on until at least Spring of 2012, making it the first new series to get a full-season order from its network. Congratulations to the whole “New Girl” team.

Film News: ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ Set Photo Shows Kristen Stewart in Armor

Snow White and the Huntsman Thumb

CHICAGO – A new photo from the set of the upcoming film “Snow White and the Huntsman” was released today, giving an inside look at Kristen Stewart in a full body armor suit. After years of “Twilight” work, Stewart looks to be taking on a much darker role as the new Snow White.

TV Review: Idris Elba Does Riveting Work on Daring ‘Luther’

CHICAGO – How do those guys on “C.S.I.” and “Criminal Minds” sleep at night? Do they? BBC America’s riveting “Luther” presents a man torn apart by the violence he’s prevented along with how much it has destroyed his personal life.

TV Review: Second Season of ‘Happy Endings’ Delivers More Hilarity

Happy Endings Season Two

CHICAGO – It’s a good thing ABC’s sitcom “Happy Endings” is only 20 minutes, since the frenzied pace of its gags run the risk of exhausting its audience. With so many rapid fire punch-lines bouncing off the screen, one quickly suspects that the perpetually hyper energy level is a sign of desperation. Sampling any given moment from this show could easily repel potential viewers.

TV News: ‘New Girl,’ ‘Unforgettable’ Hold Strong Second Week Ratings

New Girl

CHICAGO – With new shows, it’s always about week two. How far do you drop from the highly-promoted week one numbers when there aren’t as many ads or reviews to remind viewers you’re on the air? CBS’s “Unforgettable” and FOX’s “New Girl” held strong from their week one numbers while “Glee” continued to slide from year to year.

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  • Adriana Leonard & Carley Marcelle

    CHICAGO – When two passionate content creators got together, they sought not only to produce a work of entertainment, but a higher philosophy within it. Co-Writers/Directors and Executive Producers Adriana Leonard and Carley Marcelle have created “Beta” A Digital Series, and they are about to launch it.

  • Xfinity Watchathon

    CHICAGO – Comcast announced last week that the Xfinity Watchathon Week 2020 will take place from May 11th through the 17th. Included in the free offerings for customers will be the Hulu originals “Little Fires Everywhere” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and other original shows from EPIX, STARZ and SHOWTIME channels. The Watchathon will be available on the X1, Flex and Xfinity Stream platforms.

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