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October 2012

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 20 Pairs of Passes to New Bond Film ‘Skyfall’ With Daniel Craig

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 20 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the highly anticipated new Bond film “Skyfall” starring Daniel Craig (which we’ve already given five stars)!

Interview: Director Robert Zemeckis Explains Reasons For ‘Flight’

CHICAGO – Oscar-winning director Robert Zemeckis (“Back to the Future,” “Forrest Gump”) returns to live-action for the first time since “Cast Away” this week with the spectacular “Flight,” starring Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, and Bruce Greenwood.

Blu-ray Review: AnnaLynne McCord Dazzles in Darkly Amusing ‘Excision’

Excision Blu-ray

CHICAGO – AnnaLynne McCord is the sort of actress whose face begs to be photographed. The camera can remain on her for an indefinite amount of time and manage to capture endless fascinating nuances. As someone who has never watched an episode of the rebooted “90210” series, I hadn’t seen McCord in anything until Richard Bates Jr.’s “Excision.” Now I consider myself a fan.

DVD Review: Stunning Power of ‘The Invisible War’ Will Floor You

The Invisible War

CHICAGO – There have been a lot of good movies in 2012 but very few truly stellar ones. Near the top of the list when people ask me what I consider the best films of 2012 is the year’s best documentary, Kirby Dick’s stunning “The Invisible War,” a film that says so much about where we are as a nation. It both reveals a horrible, shameful part of our country’s military and the heroic people trying to stop it. It’s now on DVD and it’s truly a must-see.

Video Game Review: ‘Pro Evolution Soccer 2013’ a Scrappy Sports Game

PES 2013

CHICAGO – 2012 marks the first time in three years I haven’t played the new “FIFA” game with my annoying wannabe-European roommate. Like clockwork, each year he’d bound into our apartment with the world’s premier soccer title, unwrap it, pack the hookah (making me guess the flavor even though I could never tell the difference - and told him this every time) and we’d proceed to play until I beat him, at which point he’d lose interest in playing me, and instead move to his bedroom to play on the easiest mode with the best team and I presume drink creme de menthe and listen to The Smiths.

Film Review: James Bond Returns in Stunning, Spectacular ‘Skyfall’

CHICAGO – “Skyfall” is a gorgeous, action-packed, superbly structured piece of modern filmmaking. It is not only one of the best James Bond movies in the five-decade history of the beloved character but it’s one of the best action movies of the last decade. Sam Mendes’ film is smart, sexy, dangerous, and, most stunningly of all, beautiful.

James Bond Returns in Stunning, Spectacular ‘Skyfall’

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

CHICAGO – “Skyfall” is a gorgeous, action-packed, superbly structured piece of modern filmmaking. It is not only one of the best James Bond movies in the five-decade history of the beloved character but it’s one of the best action movies of the last decade. Sam Mendes’ film is smart, sexy, dangerous, and, most stunningly of all, beautiful.

DVD Review: Laughable ‘2016: Obama’s America’ Assumes You’re an Idiot

2016: Obama's America DVD

CHICAGO – If the Koch brothers have proven anything over the last several months, it’s that money speaks louder than the truth. Facts may not be for sale, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be buried. At a time when more information is available to the general public than ever before, an alarming number of Americans are content in remaining blissfully uninformed.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 25 Pairs of Passes to ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ in 35-Millimeter

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the Music Box Theatre’s 35-millimeter showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”!

Interview: Robert Zemeckis Red Carpet at Chicago International Film Festival Premiere of ‘Flight’

Robert Zemeckis, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – One of the great American directors of audience favorite movies is Chicagoan Robert Zemeckis. Known primarily for his “Back to the Future” trilogy, Zemeckis has broken new ground with his recent motion capture animated films “Polar Express,” “Beowulf” and “A Christmas Carol.” His new film “Flight” premiered on the Closing Night of the Chicago International Film Festival on October 25th, 2012.

Interview: Viola Davis Red Carpet at Chicago International Film Festival

Viola Davis, photo by Joe Arce.

CHICAGO – Consummate – in both performance style and manner – is a perfect descriptive for actor Viola Davis. The Oscar nominee for “Doubt” and “The Help” is in the hottest period of her career right now, and the Chicago International Film Festival honored her on October 22nd with their Career Achievement Award at the Black Perspectives Tribute.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 25 Pairs of Passes to ‘A Late Quartet’ With Philip Seymour Hoffman

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of “A Late Quartet” starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Walken!

Blu-ray Review: Fascinating Dissection of a Timeless LP in ‘Classic Albums: Peter Gabriel: So’

so thumb.jpg

CHICAGO – I’m a little biased when it comes to analyzing a documentary about Peter Gabriel. He’s one of the most important musicians of all time, particularly in the way he blended world music and pop in the ’80s, an art form that reached a peak with the timeless “So,” the latest recording analyzed in Eagle Rock’s award-winning “Classic Albums” series of Blu-rays and DVDs. In hindsight, the production is missing a few key players but those who do come to talk about “So” do so with love and insight.

Blu-ray Review: Wes Anderson’s Brilliant ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ Given Average Release

Moonrise Kingdom

CHICAGO – Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” was a surprising delight in theaters this past Summer but it seems even more effective at home where one can approach this excellent comedy on an intimate, personal level. Perhaps it’s because so much of “Moonrise” plays like old home movies or long-lost memories of youth that the film holds up so well on repeat viewing. Sadly, the Blu-ray release is woefully underwhelming with a great Bill Murray commercial but little else in terms of special features.

Film Review: ‘Keep the Lights On’ Plays Like Memory of Doomed Relationship

CHICAGO – Ira Sachs’ intimate “Keep the Lights On” is about the intersection of love and addiction and how the two can rarely exist in the same relationship. It is reportedly at least semi-autobiographical and the film undeniably has the feeling of memory, both in its emotional honesty and its episodic nature.

‘Keep the Lights On’ Plays Like Memory of Doomed Relationship

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Ira Sachs’ intimate “Keep the Lights On” is about the intersection of love and addiction and how the two can rarely exist in the same relationship. It is reportedly at least semi-autobiographical and the film undeniably has the feeling of memory, both in its emotional honesty and its episodic nature. It is a film in which we see snapshots of a long-term love affair that seems doomed from the start. The raw truth of much of it is strong enough to make the sometimes frustrating structure forgivable.

Film Review: Weak Story Wipes Out ‘Chasing Mavericks’

Chasing Mavericks

CHICAGO – After the initial disappointment that “Chasing Mavericks” wasn’t about the pursuit of John McCain archetypes – it’s political season, don’t you know – it was interesting to note that mavericks are water waves, and chasing them means surfing. Hang ten, dudes.

Weak Story Wipes Out ‘Chasing Mavericks’

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

CHICAGO – After the initial disappointment that “Chasing Mavericks” wasn’t about the pursuit of John McCain archetypes – it’s political season, don’t you know – it was interesting to note that mavericks are water waves, and chasing them means surfing. Hang ten, dudes.

Film Review: John Hawkes’ Honest Work Just Saves ‘The Sessions’

CHICAGO – Sometimes an actor can deliver on so many levels at once that it makes flaws of a film easier to overlook. I’ll admit that while watching “The Sessions,” I was so caught up in the honest, true performance from the great John Hawkes that I didn’t consider many of the film’s dramatic failings until I began to consider my review.

John Hawkes’ Honest Work Just Saves ‘The Sessions’

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

CHICAGO – Sometimes an actor can deliver on so many levels at once that it makes flaws of a film easier to overlook. I’ll admit that while watching “The Sessions,” I was so caught up in the honest, true performance from the great John Hawkes that I didn’t consider many of the film’s dramatic failings until I began to consider my review. Hawkes’ work here is that good that it carries one away on a wave of emotion that dismisses critical thought. The film around him could have been better but you’re unlikely to realize that while you’re watching it.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 30 Pairs of Passes to ‘Flight’ With Denzel Washington From Robert Zemeckis

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 30 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated advance screening of “Flight” with Denzel Washington from Robert Zemeckis!

Video Game Review: ‘Borderlands 2: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty’

Borderlands 2: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty.

“Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty,” in addition to being an excellent title for a late night “Cinemax” title, also happens to be a new piece of pirate-themed downloadable content for “Borderlands 2,” available for a modest tribute on XBLA. Once downloaded, all one needs to do is access a fast travel station and hightail it to newly appearing “Oasis” on the list of travel beacons.

Film Review: ‘Cloud Atlas’ Reaches For the Sky But Loses Its Way

CHICAGO – Not all great works of literature make great works of film. David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas” is a masterpiece but Tom Tykwer, Andy & Lana Wachowksi’s “Cloud Atlas” is definitely not. It is an ambitious work with many of Mitchell’s fascinating ideas about the ripple effect of emotion through time left intact but it is a work that frustrates as often as it thrills.

‘Cloud Atlas’ Reaches For the Sky But Loses Its Way

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

CHICAGO – Not all great works of literature make great works of film. David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas” is a masterpiece but Tom Tykwer, Andy & Lana Wachowksi’s “Cloud Atlas” is definitely not. It is an ambitious work with many of Mitchell’s fascinating ideas about the ripple effect of emotion through time left intact but it is a work that frustrates as often as it thrills.

Interview: John Hawkes, Director Ben Lewin on ‘The Sessions’

CHICAGO – Sure to be one of the best performances of 2012 is John Hawkes as Mark O’Brien, a polio victim who lived on his own and was a poet, despite no movement from his neck down, and confined for most of the day in an iron lung. Ben Lewin wrote the screenplay and directed the extraordinary story of “The Sessions.”

Film News: Matt Fagerholm Chats About ‘Cloud Atlas’ on Vocalo 89.5FM

Vocalo October 2012

CHICAGO – HollywoodChicago.com writer Matt Fagerholm will chat about the latest independent films on Vocalo 89.5FM from 9:30am to 10am on Friday, October 26th. Topics will include Tom Tykwer, Andy and Lana Wachowski’s hugely ambitious adaptation of David Mitchell’s acclaimed 2004 novel, “Cloud Atlas,” which opens in theaters on Friday, October 26th.

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.

Interviews: City, State Filmmakers Talk Short Films at Chicago International Film Festival

City & State CIFF filmmakers

CHICAGO – One of the great nights of the Chicago International Film Festival is the “City & State” Short Film program, as local filmmakers from Chicago and the State of Illinois present their work. Directors Nadav Kurtz (“Paradise”), Fawzia Mirza, Ryan Logan (“Queen of my Dreams”), Benjamin Kegan (“After Christmas”) and Brad Bischoff (“Where the Buffalo Roam”) were part of that program and spoke to HollywoodChicago.com.

Blu-ray Review: Fascinating Camp of ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?’

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

CHICAGO – Robert Aldrich’s “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” is a fascinating slice of Hollywood camp, a journey behind the front door of faded tinseltown on multiple levels, both in the film itself and through the notoriously feud between its two stars, Bette Davis & Joan Crawford. The film was recently released in a nice digibook Blu-ray release “Anniversary Edition” (50th) from Warner Bros. and it’s one of the more unusual movies you could be for the classic film fan in your family this holiday season. Or any other.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut’

Little Shop of Horrors

CHICAGO – Frank Oz’s “Little Shop of Horrors” was one of my favorite movie musicals when I was a kid but I’ll admit that I hadn’t seen it i decades and was a little concerned that my nostalgia for the film was misguided. Mere minutes into the new Blu-ray release, I knew the opposite was true — this is an even better film than you remember, now fully enhanced by the legendary alternate ending that the studio forced Oz to cut after test screenings nixed it. This is a great release.

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