April 2013

Interview: Dennis Quaid, Ramin Bahrani of ‘At Any Price’

CHICAGO – Writer/director Ramin Bahrani delivers his most mainstream film this weekend with the Chicago release of “At Any Price,” an old-fashioned melodrama starring Dennis Quaid as a grain farmer caught in some awful situations in order to protect his family.

Video Game Review: ‘Darkstalkers: Resurrection’ Awakens Dormant Franchise

Darkstalkers: Resurrection

CHICAGO – “Darkstalkers: Resurrection” is the latest effort in a series of attempts by Capcom to capitalize on their storied past by releasing compilations of popular games to the XBLA. “Resurrection” collects the bizarrely titled “Night Warriors: Darkstalkers Revenge” and “Darkstalkers 3”, into one convenient package along with an assortment of goodies including bonus videos, art, youtube replays, and a bunch of other stuff to hopefully satiate the desires of the long neglected fan base.

Interview: John C. McGinley Channels Red Barber in ‘42’

CHICAGO – John C. McGinley will probably always be known for the classic TV character Dr. Perry Cox on the long-running “Scrubs.” But through his character actor career, he has taken on a variety of roles, including the portrayal of Red Barber, the play-by-play man for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the recent film “42.”

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Guilt Trip’ Marred by Maddeningly Formulaic Script

The Guilt Trip Blu-ray

CHICAGO – “The Guilt Trip” is hideously uninspired dreck of the most shameful variety. It casts two major yet mismatched talents and refuses to utilize their distinctive gifts for the entirety of its running time. All they’re required to do is sleepwalk through a plot so uninspired that audiences will have no problem predicting its path with their eyes closed and their ears covered.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ With Kate Hudson

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 50 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” starring Kate Hudson!

Blu-ray Review: Criterion Treats Cult Hit ‘Repo Man’ Like Classic Film

Repo Man

CHICAGO – One of the many things I love about The Criterion Collection is the even battlefield that it creates within its own archives. A film by Alfred Hitchcock or Akira Kurosawa or Charles Chaplin can sit next to a cult hit like “Repo Man.” I grew up in the era of “Repo Man“‘s growing cult status and it’s amazing to me to see this midnight movie given the same level of respect as films widely recognized as classics. “Repo Man” is a classic in its own way and the people at Criterion recognize that. Fans of the movie, and there are MANY, will be more than satisfied.

Blu-ray Review: Sweet, Charming ‘A Monster in Paris’

A Monster in Paris

CHICAGO – Just as there are tiers of animation in the United States, there are varying degrees of quality in our imported product as well. In the States, we know not everything can be Pixar. I suppose the French equivalent is not everything can be “The Illusionist” or “Triplets of Belleville”. And so we shouldn’t approach the recently imported 3D family film, “A Monster in Paris” with that standard of movie magic. The script for this fantasy is a bit thin and the visuals can be disappointing but it has a pleasant spirit, bouncy energy, and air of romance that allow it to work well for a rental. And it’s not weighed down with the gross-out jokes and pop culture references that often sink Hollywood 3D animated productions.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Promised Land’ Leaves Potential of Premise Unrealized

Promised Land Blu-ray

CHICAGO – When a film promises to tackle a timely topic like fracking, it has raised the bar of expectations considerably. Sure, the filmmakers don’t need to take a stand on the issues they raise, but they have an obligation to explore them with some level of depth or insight. Otherwise, they risk getting charged with committing a “bait and switch,” and that’s precisely what Gus Van Sant’s “Promised Land” does.

Video Game Review: ‘Sacred Citadel’ is a Retro Refuge

CHICAGO – I like to think most everyone fondly remembers the golden age (roughly 1987 - 1991) of arcade-y side-scrolling beat em’ ups. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, “The Simpsons”, “X-Men”, “Golden Axe”, “Double Dragon”, “Streets of Rage”, “Maximum Carnage”, and about a half dozen other games had the nation’s youth punching, kicking, jumping, and special attacking through quarter after quarter in the arcade, and continue after continue on their home consoles.

DVD Review: ‘Gate of Hell’ Gets Extra-Free Criterion Release

Gate of Hell DVD

CHICAGO – Beneath every honorable warrior is a cold-hearted opportunist hell-bent on dominating his victimized prey at all costs. That’s a theory indelibly illustrated by Teinosuke Kinugasa’s revered 1953 classic, “Gate of Hell,” a melodrama populated by such frustrating characters that it nearly loses the viewer’s interest before its admittedly splendid finale, when the tale takes on grand dimensions of Greek tragedy.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 10 Blu-ray, DVD Combo Packs to Marlon Wayans’ ‘A Haunted House’

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Combo Pack with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 10 free Blu-ray and DVD combo packs up for grabs for the home entertainment release of the new Marlon Wayans spoof “A Haunted House”!

Interview: Bruce Boxleitner at 2013 C2E2 Talks Career, New TV Series

Bruce Boxleitner, photo by Joe Arce.

CHICAGO – The Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) is happening in the Windy City over the weekend of April 26th-28th, with special guests, seminars, autograph booths and vendors covering the huge floors of the McCormick Place Convention Center. Among the special guests is Bruce Boxleitner, representing his former TV series Babylon 5, and several new science fiction projects.

Film Review: Phony Emotional Connections Trip Up ‘Arthur Newman’

CHICAGO – In what could be subtitled, “The Challenge of American Accents,” the new release “Arthur Newman” has a laugh-inducing U.S. inflection face-off between Brits Colin Firth and Emily Blunt. Amid that obstacle, there is a lame road picture that emotionally is false, and makes no sense.

Phony Emotional Connections Trip Up ‘Arthur Newman’

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

CHICAGO – In what could be subtitled, “The Challenge of American Accents,” the new release “Arthur Newman” has a laugh-inducing U.S. inflection face-off between Brits Colin Firth and Emily Blunt. Amid that obstacle, there is a lame road picture that emotionally is false, and makes no sense.

Blu-ray Review: Quentin Tarantino’s Great ‘Django Unchained’ Gets Quickie Release

Django Unchained

CHICAGO – Who but Quentin Tarantino could make a nearly-three-hour movie about slavery and turn it into the highest-grossing film of his career? The movie made over $160 million domestically and over $400 million worldwide on its way to two major Oscars — Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor. With all of its massive success, one might expect a lavish Blu-ray release. What we get is a bit more cut-rate. It’s got a good transfer but it’s slight on special features and it’s very likely that a special edition is inevitable. Then again, I’ve been waiting for the “Kill Bill” recut, full-movie edition that QT promised years ago.

Film Review: Ken Loach Misfires with Generic ‘The Angels’ Share’

The Angels' Share
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “Once you’re involved in the shit, you can’t get out.” Ken Loach, filmmaker of the working class and longtime supporter of people who are just trying to better their lives knows this kind of statement isn’t true. We can all climb out of the shit. And his latest, “The Angels’ Share,” is yet another tale of a young man who has made some mistakes in his life beginning that climb to adulthood and responsibility. While it has some likable characters, particularly its charismatic lead, it’s impossible to shake the feeling that we’ve seen this movie before. To be blunt, I never had a reason to care, which is not something that can be said about most of Loach’s films. This one is just bland.

Ken Loach Misfires with Generic ‘The Angels’ Share’

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

CHICAGO – “Once you’re involved in the shit, you can’t get out.” Ken Loach, filmmaker of the working class and longtime supporter of people who are just trying to better their lives knows this kind of statement isn’t true. We can all climb out of the shit. And his latest, “The Angels’ Share,” is yet another tale of a young man who has made some mistakes in his life beginning that climb to adulthood and responsiblity. While it has some likable characters, particularly its charismatic lead, it’s impossible to shake the feeling that we’ve seen this movie before. To be blunt, I never had a reason to care, which is not something that can be said about most of Loach’s films. This one is just bland.

Film Review: Turn Down the Invitation to ‘The Big Wedding’

CHICAGO – “The Big Wedding” begins with Robert De Niro performing a particular love making maneuver on Susan Sarandon, and is caught in the act by Diane Keaton. What could have happened in a cutting-edge indie feature in 1981 is the basis of a lame bit in 2013, and so it goes for the rest of the film.

Turn Down the Invitation to ‘The Big Wedding’

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

CHICAGO – “The Big Wedding” begins with Robert De Niro performing a particular love making maneuver on Susan Sarandon, and is caught in the act by Diane Keaton. What could have happened in a cutting-edge indie feature in 1981 is the basis of a lame bit in 2013, and so it goes for the rest of the film.

Film Review: Sensual ‘Renoir’ Fails to Explore Titular Giants’ Genius

Renoir Film Review

CHICAGO – Naming a picture after two of the great artistic minds in human history is quite a high bar to set. Director/co-writer Gilles Bourdos attempts to tell the tale of both impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet) and his son, the future filmmaker Jean Renoir (Vincent Rottiers), who would go on to helm controversial masterpieces such as 1939’s “The Rules of the Game.” These are fascinating people, but the script doesn’t even begin to do them justice.

Sensual ‘Renoir’ Fails to Explore Titular Giants’ Genius

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

CHICAGO – Naming a picture after two of the great artistic minds in human history is quite a high bar to set. Director/co-writer Gilles Bourdos attempts to tell the tale of both impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet) and his son, the future filmmaker Jean Renoir (Vincent Rottiers), who would go on to helm controversial masterpieces such as 1939’s “The Rules of the Game.” These are fascinating people, but the script doesn’t even begin to do them justice.

Interview: Mitzi Gaynor Lights Up the TCM Classic Film Festival

Mitzi Gaynor

CHICAGO – This weekend is the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Classic Film Festival, and few movie stars alive represent that classic status better than Miss Mitzi Gaynor. Whether co-starring in movies with Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe, or starring in the film version of “South Pacific,” Mitzi Gaynor always inspires the old “razzle dazzle.”

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to ‘The Usual Suspects’ Hosted By Adam Fendelman, Matt Fagerholm

CHICAGOKeyser Söze returns for one night only! On behalf of the Chicago Film Critics Association, HollywoodChicago.com critics Adam Fendelman and Matt Fagerholm have the rare honor to host movie lovers like you and bring one of the greatest mysteries back to the big screen!

Film Review: Jeff Nichols’s ‘Mud’ Will Cause Cinephiles’ Hearts to Swell

CHICAGO – Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint the precise moment when one falls in love with a movie. Other times, it’s as effortless and intuitive as the day one stumbles upon a soul mate. That moment struck me like a bolt of lightning early on in Jeff Nichols’s “Mud,” the most richly satisfying and purely enjoyable moviegoing experience I’ve had thus far in 2013.

Jeff Nichols’s ‘Mud’ Will Cause Cinephiles’ Hearts to Swell

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

CHICAGO – Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint the precise moment when one falls in love with a movie. Other times, it’s as effortless and intuitive as the day one stumbles upon a soul mate. That moment struck me like a bolt of lightning early on in Jeff Nichols’s “Mud,” the most richly satisfying and purely enjoyable moviegoing experience I’ve had thus far in 2013.

Film Review: ‘Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal’ Doesn’t Have Enough Bite

Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – There’s something deeper going on in “Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal,” opening tomorrow at Music Box. I think. It’s about a struggling artist who finds inspiration in a small town when he’s forced to serve as guardian for the title character. Don’t all artists have something in common with cannibals given the way they turn their own (or other people’s) insides into fuel for their creativity? While that’s an engaging and interesting starting place for a horror-comedy, Boris Rodriguez’s movie sadly ends up being neither an effective horror movie nor a memorable satire. It just kind of, pardon me for going there, sleepwalks through its clever set-up.

‘Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal’ Doesn’t Have Enough Bite

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

CHICAGO – There’s something deeper going on in “Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal,” opening tomorrow at Music Box. I think. It’s about a struggling artist who finds inspiration in a small town when he’s forced to serve as guardian for the title character. Don’t all artists have something in common with cannibals given the way they turn their own (or other people’s) insides into fuel for their creativity? While that’s an engaging and interesting starting place for a horror-comedy, Boris Rodriguez’s movie sadly ends up being neither an effective horror movie nor a memorable satire. It just kind of, pardon me for going there, sleepwalks through its clever set-up.

Film Review: Clever Cast Can’t Quite Save Crazy ‘Pain & Gain’

CHICAGO – Michael Bay’s “Pain & Gain” tells such a ridiculous story that it has to be true. Based on the infamous case of the Sun Gym Gang, a trio of bodybuilders who committed some unspeakable, bizarre crimes, “Pain & Gain” nearly works through the sheer charisma and talent of its A-list cast.

Clever Cast Can’t Quite Save Crazy ‘Pain & Gain’

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

CHICAGO – Michael Bay’s “Pain & Gain” tells such a ridiculous story that it has to be true. Based on the infamous case of the Sun Gym Gang, a trio of bodybuilders who committed some unspeakable, bizarre crimes, “Pain & Gain” nearly works through the sheer charisma and talent of its A-list cast.

Blu-ray Review: Star-Studded ‘Gangster Squad’ Bores with Recycled Tropes

Gangster Squad Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Ruben Fleischer’s “Gangster Squad” is a steak devoid of juice. It has all the trappings of an effortlessly enjoyable genre exercise, but it doesn’t bring a single fresh idea to the table. It goes through the usual motions of a standard gangster picture while giving each overqualified member of its ensemble exactly one note to play. And they’re all exceedingly familiar notes, conveying a tune so familiar even Sam would refuse to play it again.

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  • South Side

    CHICAGO – One the brightest comedies set in Chicago is “South Side,” created by Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle. The pair moved the show from Comedy Central to HBO Max, and Season Two dropped for streaming on November 11th, 2021, with the same free-wheeling and hilarious misadventures of Simon and Kareme.

  • Colin in Black & White

    CHICAGO – Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com appears on “The Morning Mess” with Dan Baker on WBGR-FM (Monroe, Wisconsin) on November 4th, 2021, reviewing the new miniseries “Colin in Black & White” – regarding the early years of ex-NFL QB Colin Kaepernick – currently streaming on Netflix.

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