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February 2013

Film Review: Kiarostami Continues to Mesmerize with ‘Like Someone in Love’

Like Someone in Love
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Minor Abbas Kiarostami is still a reason for celebration. While the internationally acclaimed auteur’s latest work, “Like Someone in Love,” opening tomorrow at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago, is a bit more frustrating than his best films (“Certified Copy,” “The Wind Will Carry Us”), it still contains such confident, intriguing filmmaking that it merits consideration for your movie dollar this weekend.

Kiarostami Continues to Mesmerize with ‘Like Someone in Love’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Minor Abbas Kiarostami is still a reason for celebration. While the internationally acclaimed auteur’s latest work, “Like Someone in Love,” opening tomorrow at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago, is a bit more frustrating than his best films (“Certified Copy,” “The Wind Will Carry Us”), it still contains such confident, intriguing filmmaking that it merits consideration for your movie dollar this weekend.

Video Game Review: ‘Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’ Slices and Dices

CHICAGO – A decade or so ago, “Metal Gear Solid” came out and accomplished two things. First, it invented the stealth action genre for consoles. Sneaking behind enemies, choking them out, and making it through a particularly grueling area undetected achieved a cycle of stress, relief, triumph, and joy.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Game of Thrones: The Complete Second Season’ Serves as Standard

CHICAGO – “Game of Thrones: The Complete Second Season” is one of the undeniable best TV-on-Blu-ray releases in the brief history of the form.

Blu-ray Review: Teen Comedy ‘Fun Size’ Doesn’t Fit Anyone

Fun Size

CHICAGO – “Fun Size” is such a weird, weird movie. Who was it made for? It bears the Nickelodeon label but also a PG-13 rating and enough suggestive humor that it could never air uncut on the network. Perhaps the clear fact that no one ever figured out its audience is why it never found one, grossing less than any Nick movie to date and opening in 10th place. You may be curious now that it’s on Blu-ray and DVD. Just rent one of the films this work so clearly mimics instead.

Blu-ray Review: Beautifully Restored Edition of James Cameron’s ‘The Terminator’

The Terminator

CHICAGO – I have to admit that I greeted the new Blu-ray edition of James Cameron’s wildly-influential “The Terminator” with a raised eyebrow and heavy dose of skepticism. Another release for a movie that has hit the home market over and over again felt like a cash grab. A restoration? Sure. From the first minute, “The Terminator” feels new in this edition, a gorgeously remastered HD transfer of a genre classic.

Blu-ray Review: Michael Mann’s Masterful ‘The Insider’ Makes HD Debut

The Insider

CHICAGO – There are still a stunning number of films from the ’90s and ’00s not on Blu-ray but BVHE recently corrected one of those oversights by releasing the stellar “The Insider,” one of the best films of arguably the best year for cinema in the last two decades — 1999.

TV Review: Get on the Streets with ‘Boston’s Finest’

CHICAGO – “Cops,” “The First 48” — people love getting on the ground with real cops, the men and women who fight crime in an increasingly dangerous world. There’s something about riding along with law enforcers that is instantly engaging — the danger, the side of society we don’t often see, the real-life action.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Silent Hill: Revelation’ is Shockingly Bad

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D with Sean Bean

CHICAGO – You may be rolling your eyes. Oh, look, another critic ripping on a bad horror movie. But you may not know that not only am I a horror movie fan in general but I particularly liked the first “Silent Hill” film, to the point that I’m quoted on the DVD case for the flick. I approached the critically reviled “Silent Hill: Revelation” thinking that I might again be in the minority but would be happy to be so. I am not.

TV Review: Star-Studded ‘Parade’s End’ is True Accomplishment

CHICAGOHBO brings BBC2’s “Parade’s End,” based on the highly-acclaimed novels by Ford Madox Ford, stateside and the star-studded mini-series with a breathtakingly good script from the legendary Sir Tom Stoppard is a must-see for anyone interested in historical drama, quality acting, or the kind of stunning production values usually reserved for big-screen adaptations with Oscar aspirations.

TV Review: ‘Golden Boy’ Piles Up Clichés Despite Interesting Structure

CHICAGO – As the 2012-13 midseason continues to shock with its complete inability to produce a new hit and shows like “Do No Harm” and “The Job” get canceled after only two episodes while other failures like “Cult,” “Zero Hour,” “Deception” and “1600 Penn” limp to their non-renewals, networks keep throwing things at the wall and hoping they stick.

Blu-ray Review: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt Amaze in ‘The Sessions’

The Sessions Blu-ray

CHICAGO – It’s a shame how box office numbers play such a large factor in Oscar votes. Just imagine if “The Blind Side” was a flop. Sandra Bullock wouldn’t have been allowed within a billion miles of the Oscar podium. If Ben Lewin’s “The Sessions” was given a fair shot with audiences, it would’ve easily brought its star, John Hawkes, an Oscar nomination.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 25 Pairs of Passes to ‘21 and Over’ From ‘The Hangover’ Writers

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 “21 and Over” from the writers of “The Hangover”!

Blu-ray Review: 2013 Best Picture Winner ‘Argo’ Given Educational Edition

Argo

CHICAGO – Ben Affleck’s stellar “Argo” won three Oscars last night, including Best Picture of 2012, and Warner Bros. very purposefully timed the Blu-ray and DVD release to capitalize on the film’s wave of success. But they didn’t cut corners to do so. This is one of the best Blu-ray releases in some time, with a stellar collection of special features that don’t just enlighten viewers on the art of filmmaking but offer detailed histories of the true story that just won the Best Picture Academy Award.

Video Game Review: ‘Galaxy on Fire 2’ (In Case You Missed It)

Galaxy on Fire 2

CHICAGO – I’m a Trekkie, tried and true. While not as obsessed as some, I enjoy the sciencey bits, the theoretical discussions between space and time, and the way “Star Trek: The Next Generation” employs real scientific consultants to fact check all sorts of data and concepts that were subtly inserted into the show. So as a kid I was always a Jean-Luc Picard kind of guy in a Han Solo world. Of course, it became a tough choice as time went on. Classic space games like “Elite 2” and “X3: Reunion” and they’re almost-limitless-as-space depth whisked past my peripheral vision, cajoling me bit by bit to dive in.

Video Game Review: ‘Aliens: Colonial Marines’ Fails in Every Way

CHICAGO – How can something this hyped feel so rushed and blasé? Gearbox Software must be counting on the strong “Alien” franchise fanbase to carry sales but word of mouth is going to kill “Aliens: Colonial Marines” quicker than a Xenomorph can kill an unarmed civilian.

Interview: Director Kristi Jacobson Sets ‘A Place at the Table’

CHICAGO – One of the strangest problems in the United States, the richest country in the world, is “food insecurity.” Millions of Americans, lost in economic or working poverty, can’t keep pace with their food needs. The new documentary “A Place at the Table” dissects this social problem, and is co-directed by Kristi Jacobson.

Film News: ‘Argo’ is Best Picture at 2013 Oscars

CHICAGO – With Seth McFarlane as host, the 86th Academy Awards had more fun, and culminated with “Argo” winning Best Picture. Other major awards went to Daniel Day-Lewis (Best Actor, “Lincoln”), Jennifer Lawrence (Best Actress, “Silver Linings Playbook”) and Ang Lee (Best Director, “Life of Pi”).

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 25 Pairs of Passes to ‘The Sweeney’ With Ray Winstone

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 “The Sweeney” starring Ray Winstone!

Film Review: ‘Bless Me, Ultima’ Commits Sin Against Cinema

Bless Me, Ultima

CHICAGO – One of the major tenets of the “memoir” genre – the type of film in which a main character is looking back at their lives – is the unforgettable character that influences them forever. New Mexico during World War II is the setting for “Bless Me, Ultima.”

‘Bless Me, Ultima’ Commits Sin Against Cinema

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

CHICAGO – One of the major tenets of the “memoir” genre – the type of film in which a main character is looking back at their lives – is the unforgettable character that influences them forever. New Mexico during World War II is the setting for “Bless Me, Ultima.”

Film Review: Oscar Nominee ‘The Gatekeepers’ is Truth to Power

CHICAGO – Normal job justification makes most people defensive. Imagine justifying an anti-terrorist organization. What weapons – besides the physical variety – would be available to you? Fear, jingoism and marginalizing of the “other” are a few of the defensives used by “The Gatekeepers.”

Oscar Nominee ‘The Gatekeepers’ is Truth to Power

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Normal job justification makes most people defensive. Imagine justifying an anti-terrorist organization. What weapons – besides the physical variety – would be available to you? Fear, jingoism and marginalizing of the “other” are a few of the defensives used by “The Gatekeepers.”

Film Review: Werner Herzog Introduces You to ‘Happy People’

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

CHICAGO – In an age increasingly dominated by electronics and man-made comforts, it can be difficult to remember that there are still parts of this spinning planet that are driven by mother nature. One documentarian long-fascinated with the way man interacts with nature is Werner Herzog and he brings his latest, “Happy People: A Year in the Taiga,” to the Music Box Theatre this weekend.

Werner Herzog Introduces You to ‘Happy People’

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

CHICAGO – In an age increasingly dominated by electronics and man-made comforts, it can be difficult to remember that there are still parts of this spinning planet that are driven by mother nature. One documentarian long-fascinated with the way man interacts with nature is Werner Herzog and he brings his latest, “Happy People: A Year in the Taiga,” to the Music Box Theatre this weekend.

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Man with the Iron Fists’ Scrapes Bottom of Kung Fu Barrel

The Man with the Iron Fists Blu-ray

CHICAGO – “The Man with the Iron Fists” is the most tedious picture in many a moon. How, you may ask, can wall-to-wall action possibly by tedious? Two reasons: 1.) The action is nonstop, and 2.) The characters are impossible to care about. The single take of Uma Thurman’s devastated outburst upon awakening from her coma is the emotional hook that keeps the audience engaged as she wreaks her path of vengeance through both volumes of “Kill Bill.”

Film Review: Despite Low Hopes, Dwayne Johnson’s ‘Snitch’ Leaves You Pleasantly Surprised

CHICAGO – Dwayne Johnson doesn’t just want to be The Rock. And perhaps he is more after all. Despite his professional wrestling fame, “Snitch” is Johnson’s plea to be respected as a true, dramatic actor.

Despite Low Expectations, Dwayne Johnson’s ‘Snitch’ Leaves You Pleasantly Surprised

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

CHICAGO – Dwayne Johnson doesn’t just want to be The Rock. And perhaps he is more after all. Despite his professional wrestling fame, “Snitch” is Johnson’s plea to be respected as a true, dramatic actor. He’s doing it now just like Jackie Chan wanted to evolve beyond being just a funny karate man in the latest “The Karate Kid”.

Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com Predicts the 2013 Academy Award Winners

CHICAGO – Hollywood’s favorite night of self-congratulations commences this Sunday, finally putting an end to the awards season and allowing us to get on with the new year in film. One last look back at 2012. Will it be “Argo” or “Lincoln”? Spielberg or the field? What the heck wins Best Original Screenplay?

Blu-ray Review: Dardenne Brothers Triumph Again in ‘The Kid with a Bike’

The Kid with a Bike Blu-ray

CHICAGO – All this fuss about Ben Affleck not getting nominated by the Academy after directing three decent flicks is even more inane in light of the fact that Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, arguably the greatest directing duo in modern cinema, haven’t garnered any Oscar attention. At all. Their latest naturalistic triumph, “The Kid with a Bike,” snagged a mere Golden Globe nod several months before it even premiered on U.S. screens.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kingpin Blu-ray

    CHICAGO – Before 1998’s “The Big Lebowski” there was 1996’s “Kingpin”, the Farrelly brothers bowling comedy that didn’t have the narrative intricacies of the Coen brothers’ classic, but had plenty of jokes about middle-aged men playing the sport. Today finds the release of “Kingpin” to Blu-ray for the first time, coming with only one new special feature.

  • Star Trek Into Darkness

    CHICAGO – With J.J. Abrams not involved with the creation of a third “Star Trek” movie, a compendium of his work within the franchise only seems fitting. Loaded with special features but only a few new ones, this disc set is a strong choice for those who don’t already have both entertaining blockbusters in their collection.

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