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May 2015

Film Review: ‘San Andreas’ Loads Its Story with Too Many Faults

CHICAGO – The best way, perhaps the only way, to enjoy the disaster movie “San Andreas” is to check your brain at the door, or better yet leave it at home for safekeeping. Bringing new meaning to the term mindless entertainment, “San Andreas” dares its audience to turn off their minds, and enjoy the ride.

‘San Andreas’ Loads Its Story with Too Many Faults

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

CHICAGO – The best way, perhaps the only way, to enjoy the disaster movie “San Andreas” is to check your brain at the door, or better yet leave it at home for safekeeping. Bringing new meaning to the term mindless entertainment, “San Andreas” dares its audience to turn off their minds, and enjoy the ride.

Slideshow: Actor Colin Egglesfield Promotes ‘Shout Out!’ Clothing Line

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Colin Egglesfield new line is ‘Shout Out!’ clothing.

CHICAGO – Colin Egglesfield has been a popular character actor for years, best known for portraying Josh Madden on the daytime drama “All My Children” for four seasons. Egglesfield was in Chicago last year, promoting his new “Shout Out!” clothing line, which he uses as a vehicle to promote “stay in school” initiatives like Project Grad, that has programs throughout the United States.

Film Review: Terribly Scripted ‘San Andreas’ With Dwayne Johnson a Heartless Special Effects Spectacle

CHICAGO – When the story is as weak as the film’s fault lines and the character development never develops, the problem with blowing $100 million mostly on special effects is all you’re left with is unintelligent disaster porn.

Terribly Scripted ‘San Andreas’ With Dwayne Johnson a Heartless Special Effects Spectacle

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

CHICAGO – When the story is as weak as the film’s fault lines and the character development never develops, the problem with blowing $100 million mostly on special effects is all you’re left with is unintelligent disaster porn.

Film Review: Unusual, Passionate ‘Aloha’ is Deeply Resonant

CHICAGO – Films with major movie stars that take real chances on story formula are rare. “Aloha” is one such example, and produces considerations that are way off the beaten path. Is it an allegory? An absurdity? An homage to 1960s paranoia? Only writer/director Cameron Crowe knows for sure.

Unusual, Passionate ‘Aloha’ is Deeply Resonant

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

CHICAGO – Films with major movie stars that take real chances on story formula are rare. “Aloha” is one such example, and produces considerations that are way off the beaten path. Is it an allegory? An absurdity? An homage to 1960s paranoia? Only writer/director Cameron Crowe knows for sure.

Slideshow: Comedian Richard Lewis on His New Book ‘Reflections From Hell’

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The new book from Richard Lewis is ‘Reflections From Hell.’

CHICAGO – The “Prince of Pain” was in Chicago recently. Richard Lewis, the overtly introspective and hilarious stand up comedian, has written a new book – “Reflections From Hell” – and appeared at Chicago’s City Winery, plus sold out two shows at the legendary Zanies comedy club.

Film Review: Life is Never Over in ‘I’ll See You in My Dreams’

CHICAGO – Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you, if you’re the main character in “I’ll See You in My Dreams.” Blythe Danner portrays a long-time widow whose routine is set, but life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. The series of extraordinary events are life lessons, at a point in life where class is dismissed.

Life is Never Over in ‘I’ll See You in My Dreams’

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

CHICAGO – Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you, if you’re the main character in “I’ll See You in My Dreams.” Blythe Danner portrays a long-time widow whose routine is set, but life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. The series of extraordinary events are life lessons, at a point in life where class is dismissed.

Interview: Writer/Director John Maclean of ‘Slow West’

Slow West, 2015

CHICAGO – Now playing at Chicago’s Music Box Theater and on VOD (but best seen on the largest screen possible), “Slow West,” is a tight genre journey pic that invigorates the western while confirming that its territory remains open, despite the many who have passed through.

Film Review: ‘Poltergeist’ Remake Has a Soul of Its Own

CHICAGO – Whether it’s the 1982 original or the remake just released in theaters today to the wrath of numerous fans, the lesson of “Poltergeist” remains the same: Don’t do a half-assed job when relocating skeletons for corporate greed, or suffer the supernatural consequences.

‘Poltergeist’ Remake Has a Soul of Its Own

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

CHICAGO – Whether it’s the 1982 original or the remake just released in theaters today to the wrath of numerous fans, the lesson of “Poltergeist” remains the same: Don’t do a half-assed job when relocating skeletons for corporate greed, or suffer the supernatural consequences. Fear not, however, as this is one remake that doesn’t just dress up a nostalgic skeleton for the modern horror crowd, but one that reminisces, and looks forward, with a mostly intelligent, genuine heart.

Theater Review: People History is Revived in American Theater Company’s ‘The Projects’

The Projects

CHICAGO – The legacy of public housing is one of the strangest forces of karma in the City of Chicago. For example, sites that were once some of the roughest and most neglected housing for the poor now contain luxury condos. It is the people of those former hellholes that still remember the sorrowful history of what they once called home. The American Theater Company (ATC) have gathered these stories for the poignant and extraordinary “The Projects.”

Film Review: Awe Factor is Sorely Lacking in ‘Tomorrowland’

CHICAGO – For a movie all about the awesome power of inspiration, innovation and wonder, “Tomorrowland” has precious little of its own. “Tomorrowland” the title promises a kind of retro futuristic world where anything is possible, but “Tomorrowland” the movie rarely delivers anything approximating joy.

Awe Factor is Sorely Lacking in ‘Tomorrowland’

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

CHICAGO – For a movie all about the awesome power of inspiration, innovation and wonder, “Tomorrowland” has precious little of its own. “Tomorrowland” the title promises a kind of retro futuristic world where anything is possible, but “Tomorrowland” the movie rarely delivers anything approximating joy.

Interview: Actor David Dastmalchian on His Remarkable Film ‘Animals’

CHICAGO – Sometimes you just need a break, that small window of opportunity to burst through and make the mark. Actor David Dastmalchian knows all about that phenomenon, as he produced and starred in his semi-autobiographical film “Animals,” and got the break of a lifetime landing a role in the film, “The Dark Knight.”

Exclusive Portraits: Brad Garrett of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’

CHICAGO – The six foot, eight inch Brad Garrett is used to towering over the competition, but it is his comedic chops that got him the part of Robert Barone in the popular sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Garrett was at Hollywood Palms Cinema, on behalf of Anderson’s Bookshop, both in Naperville, Ill., to promote his new book, “When the Balls Drop.”

Interview: Stage Director Gary Griffin on the Stratford Festival HD Movie ‘Antony and Cleopatra’

Antony and Cleopatra

CHICAGO – The romance of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, has fascinated sensibilities for centuries. William Shakespeare, no slouch when it comes to cultural commentary, wrote his version of the pairing in “Antony and Cleopatra,” the latest in the Stratford (Ontario) Festival of High Definition cinema adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays. Chicagoan Gary Griffin directed the stage production, that was rendered to HD. The screenings of “Antony and Cleopatra” will take place on May 21st, 2015, in various movie theaters across the country, including Chicago.

Video Game Review: ‘Broken Age’ is Tricky, Whimsical & Outstanding

Broken Age

CHICAGO – Double Fine Productions delves into the deepest, most repressed parts of the imagination and brings the wonders it finds into our reality. I took a long while to play and review “Broken Age,” the company’s Kickstarter darling, not because it was long or overly difficult, but because I was left thinking about the game constantly once I finished.

Film News: Chicago Filmmaker Prashant Bhargava of ‘Patang’ Dies at 42

Prashant Bhargava

NEW YORK – He was a Chicago-born director who explored his culture with a delicacy and poignancy that set his debut feature film “Patang” apart from any other experience, and within that art he sought to understand the world beyond his American birthplace. Prashant Bhargava passed away suddenly in New York City on May 16th, 2015, of undisclosed causes. He was 42 years old.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Passes to ‘Poltergeist’ With Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 40 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new horrorPoltergeist” starring Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt from producer Sam Raimi (“Spider-Man”) and writer Steven Spielberg!

Film Review: Sequel’s Tune is Off Key in ‘Pitch Perfect 2’

Pitch Perfect 2

CHICAGO – “Pitch Perfect 2” wasn’t bad. There was the same off-kilter weirdness and funny lines of the first film, but in this sequel there were also stretches of boring, seemingly made-up stuff to slog through. I guess repeating a premise about college singing groups doesn’t offer much more to say.

Sequel’s Tune is Off Key in ‘Pitch Perfect 2’

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

CHICAGO – “Pitch Perfect 2” wasn’t bad. There was the same off-kilter weirdness and funny lines of the first film, but in this sequel there were also stretches of boring, seemingly made-up stuff to slog through. I guess repeating a premise about college singing groups doesn’t offer much more to say.

Film Review: An Adrenaline Junkie’s Dream, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ a Badass Bass Haven

CHICAGO – It’s “the greatest action movie ever made,” so says the television commercials (which means it’s true). And it’s buoyed by other quotables galore including “what a lovely day!,” “from mastermind George Miller,” “pulse pounding,” “heart wrenching” and “teeth grinding”.

An Adrenaline Junkie’s Dream, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ a Badass Bass Haven

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – It’s “the greatest action movie ever made,” so says the television commercials (which means it’s true). And it’s buoyed by other quotables galore including “what a lovely day!,” “from mastermind George Miller,” “pulse pounding,” “heart wrenching” and “teeth grinding”. While these words are actually true, though, the film doesn’t need them to sell it.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Orange is the New Black

    CHICAGO – Orange Day is Friday (July 27, 2018)… as in “Orange is the New Black.” That’s when Season Six will be available for download from Netflix, as the online series continues to showcase the women inmates at Litchfield Penitentiary, three of whom are played by Taylor Schilling (Piper), Kate Mulgrew (Red) and Dascha Polanco (Daya).

  • Everybody, Brown Paper Box Co

    CHICAGO – When is the last time a stage play, based in an intimate setting, made you think about your life, death, and the destiny inherent in both? “Everybody,” staged by Brown Paper Box Co. (BPBCo), is such a play, and the energetic aura and sense of surprise that the show contains is soul soothing wonder. The show has various evening/matinee performances at the Pride Arts Center in Chicago run through August 12, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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