TV Review: ‘Rebirth’ Beautifully Chronicles Our Ability to Heal

CHICAGO – How do we go on? How do we pick up the pieces after devastation so shocking and damaging that words can hardly do it justice? The great lesson on the ten-year anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11/01 may be that we might have different ways to heal, but we all do it. We move forward.

TV Review: Real-Life Costumed Street Fighters Highlighted in ‘Superheroes’


CHICAGO – There have been a pair of fascinating feature films recently in which the lead character chose to combat evil by dressing like a caped crusader and fighting crime. It didn’t really work out too well for the leads in “Kick-Ass” or “Super” (which just-so-happens to come out on Blu-ray and tomorrow) but you may be surprised to learn that stories like these are not purely works of fiction. There actually are men and women going for what one calls “the real-life superhero experience” and their stories are chronicled in HBO’s documentary “Superheroes,” airing tonight, August 8th, 2011.

Interviews: Director Michael Rapaport, Phife Dawg on ‘Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest’

CHICAGO – Hip-hop owes part of its legacy to the Queens, New York rappers “A Tribe Called Quest.” The group’s story is explored in Director Michael Rapaport’s documentary, “Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest.”

Film Review: Director Tom Shadyac Tells of Personal Revelations in ‘I Am’

I Am Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Tom Shadyac was on top of the world. He had directed several blockbuster comedies including “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” “Bruce Almighty.” “The Nutty Professor,” and more. When he got into an accident and found himself the victim of a syndrome that made him welcome coming death, he reached that revelatory moment that often happens to people in horrible situations as he reassessed not only his value system but that of the entire world. He chronicled his journey for “I Am,” a well-intentioned documentary that is just too unfocused, scattered, and philosophically thin to matter.

Film Review: Memorable, Informative ‘The Elephant in the Living Room’

CHICAGO – You will not soon forget Lambert the lion. His story is as tragic to this viewer as any seen in documentary filmmaking in recent years for he never should have been in the situation chronicled in the excellent “The Elephant in the Living Room,” opening this Saturday at the Siskel Film Center in Chicago and playing in other major markets already.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Waiting For Superman’ Presents Bleak Picture of Public Education

Waiting For Superman

CHICAGO – Davis Guggenheim was crowned one of the Kings of the new documentary movement when his “An Inconvenient Truth” won the Oscar for its category but the follow-up, a scathing look at the public education system, failed to make the cut after a wave of controversy hit the film like a melting glacier. How much of the drama surrounding “Superman” — some of which went as far as to suggest that facts in the film were wrong and that case studies of children were faked — was deserved and how much was blown out of proportion? Rent or buy the film, now on DVD and Blu-ray, and decide for yourself.

Film Review: Excellent ‘Louder Than a Bomb’ Begins First Chicago Run

Louder Than a Bomb Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

CHICAGO – As pundits continue to debate the Academy’s choices for the Best Documentary of 2010, one of the most purely enjoyable that I saw last year is opening at the Siskel Film Center for its first Chicago run since the Chicago International Film Festival last October. “Louder Than a Bomb” is the most enjoyable and inspiring film you could see in a theater over the next week. Don’t miss it.

Blu-Ray Review: Spectacular ‘The Tillman Story’ Demands Your Attention

The Tillman Story

CHICAGO – When the Oscar nominations were announced last week, one of the most egregious snubs took place in the category of Best Documentary, where Amir Bar-Lev’s spectacular “The Tillman Story” missed out on not just the award it should have WON but even a nomination. This is not just a snub, it’s shameful, although this has long been a category in need of a massive overhaul. See for yourself when “The Tillman Story” hits DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow, Feb. 1, 2011.

DVD Review: ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ Redefines Documentary

Exit Through the Gift Shop

CHICAGO – The brilliant “Exit Through the Gift Shop” may look like a documentary but it’s closer to a piece of performance art, a daring examination of the creative expression of street art that becomes an expression itself. How much of it is true? How much is scripted? Unlike other “controversial” 2010 documentaries “I’m Still Here” and “Catfish” it doesn’t matter this time because Banksy’s amazing film is a joy to behold either way.

DVD Review: ‘Restrepo’ Harrowingly Depicts Human Cost of War


CHICAGO – “Restrepo” is not your average war documentary. It is a terrifying you-are-there experience that will give you goosebumps as the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. This is real. This is not Hollywood. And it is riveting, spectacular filmmaking.

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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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