Cillian Murphy

Film News: Best Picture at 96th Academy Awards is ‘Oppenheimer’

CHICAGO – In a breezy and memorable 96th Oscars … which took place on March 10th, 2024 … the Best Picture was “Oppenheimer,” with Cillian Murphy taking Best Actor and Robert Downey, Jr. for Best Supporting Actor from the same film. Emma Stone was the surprising Best Actress for “Poor Things” and Da’Vine Joy Randolph was Best Supporting Actress for “The Holdovers.”

Film Review: ‘Oppenheimer’ is a Masterpiece That Allows Us to Think

CHICAGO – With “Oppenheimer,” director Christopher Nolan reminds us of what a blockbuster can be. They need not all be brain dead exercises in grunting and effects. Instead he delivers a thoughtful film that manages to synthesize complex elements like quantum physics into a piece of cinematic entertainment that just might be his most profound film yet.

Film Review: ‘A Quiet Place II’ is No Echo, But a Sonic Boom of a Sequel

CHICAGO – The horror genre gets a bad rap but in many ways, they’ve earned it. That’s not to say that every horror film is inherently bad, but at the smallest sign of financial/critical success, the studios will try to franchise it like it’s an IHOP. For example, let’s look at the cautionary tale known as the Saw franchise, which recently released a film that likely none of you saw.

Film Review: 'Free Fire' Knows That Happiness is a Warm Gun

Free Fire

CHICAGO – In a film that had a sassy, arbitrary perspective on its own flipped-out story, “Free Fire” sought to out-Quentin Tarantino in freaky funny characters and ammo-splurging gun battles. Director Ben Wheatley (“High-Rise”) took an ensemble cast to rarified heights of insult comedy, revenge dynamics and bullets that hit the bone.

Interview: Director Ben Wheatley Ignites His New Film ‘Free Fire’

CHICAGO – One of the more lovely examples of pure cinema – if that description can be given to a film with nearly constant gunplay – is in the upcoming release of “Free Fire.” Director Ben Wheatley (“High-Rise”) constructs a dark and funny scenario within one room, and fills it with symbolism and homage to other movies.

Blu-ray Review: Great Gift Set Comes Early in ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’

The Dark Knight Trilogy

CHICAGO – Believe it or not, it’s already time to start holiday shopping, which means it’s the time of year that studios release lavish gift sets for their most beloved films. No one is better at this holiday season product design than Warner Bros., who has released great Limited Edition sets for “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factor,” “Ben-Hur,” and the “Harry Potter” films in recent years. The first one this year is one of the best I’ve seen, a gorgeously packaged and beautifully accompanied collection for “The Dark Knight Trilogy,” including awesome physical collectibles and 90 minutes of new special features.

Film Review: Cillian Murphy, Robert De Niro in Messy ‘Red Lights’

CHICAGO – “Red Lights” is a mess. And yet it’s also not messy enough. Rodrigo Cortes follows up his vastly superior “Buried” with this supernatural tale filled with plot contrivances that would make M. Night Shyamalan call bullshit. Still, he does so with a direct, straightforward style when a bit less polish would have given it the character it’s missing.

Interview: Cillian Murphy, Rodrigo Cortes Run ‘Red Lights’

CHICAGO – Writer/director Rodrigo Cortes really broke through with the award-winning “Buried,” starring Ryan Reynolds. He returns this week with a very different thriller called “Red Lights,” starring the great Cillian Murphy, who joined Mr. Cortes recently in Chicago for a discussion about “2001,” working with Robert De Niro, and the complexity of audience expectations.

DVD Review: ‘In Time’ Wastes Timely Premise With Unsatisfying Script

In Time DVD

CHICAGO – During last year’s groundswell of Occupy protests, several films and television shows attempted to exploit the class divide for the purposes of entertainment. Only ABC’s irresistible soaper, “Revenge,” fared equally well with critics and audiences, who embraced it as a guiltily pleasurable fantasy in which the rich are brought to justice. Too bad that premise is so rarely a reality.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Michael Shannon and Travis A. Knight, Red Orchid's TURRET

    CHICAGO – When in the presence of a powerful acting force like Michael Shannon, the depth of performance is emotional and passionately essential. He co-leads with Travis A. Knight in Red Orchid Theatre’s World Premiere of Levi Holloway’s “Turret,” just extended to June 22nd at the Chopin Theatre.

  • Joe Turner's Come and Gone Goodman Theatre

    CHICAGO – The late playwright August Wilson left a gift to the world in the form of his “American Century Cycle,” a series of plays each individually set in a decade of the 20th Century, focusing on the black experience. Chicago’s Goodman Theatre presents Wilson’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” now through May 19th, 2024 (click here).

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