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Blu-Ray Review: Poetic Vision of Terrence Malick’s Beautiful ‘The Tree of Life’

The Tree of Life

CHICAGO – Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” has stirred up a bit of controversy since its debut early in the Summer of 2011. You almost certainly saw the stories (or Facebook posts or tweets) about the audience walk-outs and signs at theaters that warned ticket buyers that they were about to see something unique.

Film Review: Brad Pitt, Baseball Evolve in Magnificent ‘Moneyball’

CHICAGO – Using sports, especially baseball, as a metaphor for life can get dicey – sometimes the symbolic pieces don’t fit universally for everything. But “Moneyball, ” starring Brad Pitt, hits a grand slam with this old allegory, and educates regarding the true nature of modern large dollar sports.

Interview: Jonah Hill Makes Career Transition in Dramatic ‘Moneyball’

CHICAGO – I’ve done hundreds of interviews and rarely felt more like I was talking to an actor at a career turning point than when I sat with Jonah Hill of “Moneyball” last week. Having spoken to him at his first career turning point for a “Superbad” interview, it was fascinating to see how he’s changed and matured.

Film Review: ‘The Big Uneasy’ Unleashes Maddening Flood of Vital Information

The Big Uneasy On Demand

CHICAGO – Some of the best documentaries are spawned directly from the raw outage of a filmmaker intent on sharing vital truths with the unenlightened public. Every frame is fraught with a sense of urgency that keeps viewers on the edge of their seat much like an engrossing popcorn thriller. Yet great passion alone does not make for great cinema.

Film Feature: All Things Shine in Terrence Malick’s ‘The Tree of Life’

CHICAGO – “Where is it that we were together? Who were you that I lived with? The brother. The friend. Darkness, light. Strife and love. Are they the workings of one mind? The features of the same face? Oh, my soul. Let me be in you now.

Film Review: Terrence Malick’s Captivating Meditation on ‘The Tree of Life’

CHICAGO – I’ve seen Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life” twice now and I still struggle with how to put my reaction to it into words. The film almost defies typical critical discussion with its lack of narrative thrust and a structure that makes it far closer to a poem than a piece of prose. How do you even begin to talk about a piece that works with emotions instead of plot twists?

DVD Review: Spike Lee’s ‘If God is Willing and da Creek Don’t Rise’

If God Is Willing and da Creek Don't Rise DVD

CHICAGO – Perhaps no American artist has chronicled a modern disaster with as much passion and meticulous attention to detail as Spike Lee. His 2006 documentary about the struggles of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts,” was television at its most vital, provocative, wrenchingly powerful and resoundingly humanistic.

Blu-Ray Review: Great Release For ‘Megamind’ With Will Ferrell, Tina Fey

Megamind

CHICAGO – DreamWorks’ “Megamind” features a fantastic voice cast (one of the best of 2010) and will play very well to legions of rugrats over the next few years, but it’s a film that might leave their parents shrugging their shoulders in disappointment. With three of the best animated films ever made hitting theaters last year (“Toy Story 3,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” “The Illusionist”) along with quality alternatives (“Despicable Me,” “Tangled”), it’s likely that “Megamind” will appropriately get lost in the mix of history when people talk about this era of the medium.

Blu-Ray Review: 20th Anniversary of Powerful ‘Thelma & Louise’

Thelma & Louise

CHICAGO – Can you believe that Ridley Scott’s “Thelma & Louise” is twenty years old? Me neither. Well, almost twenty. It’s really going to be two decades old in May and it’s next year’s Oscars that will mark the 20th anniversary of its win for Best Original Screenplay and other multiple nominations including Director and nods for both of its leads, Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon. All three lost to the wave of “The Silence of the Lambs” but it’s easy to see now that it was probably a close vote total for at least one of the two ladies.

Film Review: ‘Megamind’ With Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt Barely Wins Animated Fight

CHICAGO – Being a super-villain is apparently going out of style as “Megamind” follows relatively quickly on the heels of “Despicable Me” and both tell the story of a bad guy realizing that it’s more fun to be good. The title character of “Megamind” (Will Ferrell) is a nefarious super-powered fellow who has just barely lost every fight he’s had with the beloved Metroman (Brad Pitt). It seems appropriate that the film about them is also a marginal affair in which the good just barely outweighs the bad.

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  • Not One Batu

    CHICAGO – The State of Hawaii may be one of the most misunderstood in America. Because of its reputation as a tourist mecca, the fact that native peoples live and work there like any other place is hard to imagine. Also unimaginable is the drug use of island residents, but playwright and Hawaiian native Hannah li-Epstein wrote about it in her stage play “Not One Batu,” now in its Premiere Chicago run at the Berger Park Coach House through July 28th, 2018. For more information, including tickets, click here.

  • Cher Show, The

    CHICAGO – Has anybody in show business had more “comebacks” than Cher… or if you added her many last names Cher Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman? All of the triumphs and downturns are shoehorned into “The Cher Show,” now in Chicago in a pre-Broadway run through July 15, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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