Warner Home Video

Interview: Douglas McGrath of ‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical’

CHICAGO – While a musical stage play is known for its songs rather than dialogue or story, all has to be created. And the playwright for the opening-in-Chicago “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” is veteran actor, director and scribe Douglas McGrath. ‘Beautiful’ opens December 1st, 2015, at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago.

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.

Blu-ray Review: Barbra Streisand’s ‘A Star is Born’ Remake Fizzles Out Fast

A Star is Born Streisand Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Barbra Streisand is a classic example of a genuine talent who started out big and quickly became too big for her britches. She never came close to topping her phenomenal debut in 1968’s “Funny Girl,” which presented the larger-than-life performer in all of her contrasting shades—funny and tragic, vulnerable and indomitable. Sadly, that picture marked the last time Streisand could conceivably pass for anyone other than—well, Streisand.

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Apparition’ Ranks as One of 2012’s Worst Films

The Apparition Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Remember that scene in “Ghostbusters” where Sigourney Weaver slides toward a hellish demon while pinned to a chair? Or the utterly chilling moment in “Ju-On” where the contorted body of a vengeful spirit crawls toward its latest victim? Or how about that little indie movie about a young couple plagued by an inexplicable onslaught of paranormal activity?

Blu-ray Review: ‘Chernobyl Diaries’ Fails to Transcend Offensive Premise

Chernobyl Diaries Blu-ray

CHICAGO – There’s something very wrong with Bradley Parker’s “Chernobyl Dairies,” and the problem is right there in its title. The very notion of setting a knee-jerk horror film at the site of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster is so offensive that it’s bound to halt many moviegoers from judging the picture on its own terms. It’s the cinematic equivalent of an obscenely tasteless haunted house.

Blu-ray Review: Interminable ‘Rock of Ages’ Goes On and On and On and On

Rock of Ages Blu-ray

CHICAGO – How can the same man who made one of the most lovable movie musicals of the last decade go on to make one of the most hatable? Adam Shankman’s bouncy, broad approach was a splendid fit for the playful “Hairspray,” but it is all wrong for Chris D’Arienzo’s raunchy, melodramatic ode to ’80s rock. His show, “Rock of Ages,” may have been a hit on Broadway, but it was a complete flop with moviegoers and critics alike.

Blu-ray Review: Tim Burton’s ‘Dark Shadows’ Stages Toothless Vampire Satire

Dark Shadows Blu-ray

CHICAGO – “Dark Shadows” flops on the screen like an undead fish out of water. It doesn’t have one ounce of the spontaneity or style that made the work of its director, Tim Burton, or its star, Johnny Depp, so irresistible during their hot streak of the ’90s. The was back when Burton/Depp collaborations promised something more than peerless production values and morbid variations on familiar themes.

Blu-ray Review: Relentlessly Bland ‘Wrath of the Titans’ Ultimately Bores

Wrath of the Titans Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Just because a tale is enormously influential and older than the hills doesn’t mean that it’s foolproof. Just ask “John Carter.” Or “Mirror Mirror.” What makes the “Titans” franchise particularly unseemly is its air of smugness. It trashed Ray Harryhausen’s admittedly outdated 1981 version of “Clash of the Titans” in its 2010 remake, but failed to establish a personality of its own.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Superman vs. The Elite’ Delivers the Goods for Comic Fans

Superman Vs The Elite Blu-ray

CHICAGO – It always takes a few minutes for viewers to adjust their eyes to the stiff, herky-jerky movements of characters in a direct-to-video animated film from DC Comics. “Superman vs. The Elite” opens with a cheeseball caricature of the Man of Steel headlining an outdated kiddie cartoon. It’s pretty silly, but at least the satirical characters are far more expressive than the “real” Superman once he rears his blandly noble head.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ Offers Nothing New

Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Now that BBC’s acclaimed “Sherlock” has offered the definitive version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved detective, Guy Ritchie’s routine “Holmes” franchise looks all the more elementary in comparison. No amount of trademark mugging from leading man Robert Downey Jr. can compensate for the overwhelming hollowness of this slickly edited series.

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