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Film Review: ‘The Jungle Book’ is a Technical Marvel Missing Some Magic

CHICAGO – While Disney Studios’ new live action version of “The Jungle Book” is an improvement over the 1967 animated version, it’s more of a technical marvel than magical fable. And it’s unable to completely transcend the earlier version’s limitations.

Slideshow: Hugh Jackman Wows Chicago at ‘Eddie the Eagle’ Red Carpet

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Hugh Jackman is Bronson Peary in the new film, ‘Eddie the Eagle.’

CHICAGO – The film “Eddie the Eagle” soared at the box office this weekend, and one of the huge stars in it is Hugh Jackman, the Australian-born movie and theater icon. He was in Chicago on February 16th, 2016, to walk the Red Carpet for the film, and HollywoodChicago.com was there to both do video interviews and photograph the event.

Film Review: ‘Eddie the Eagle’ is Predictable But Pleasant Tale

CHICAGO – “Eddie The Eagle” is thoroughly predictable underdog story, but this picture won me over with a plucky persistence fitting for its peculiar protagonist. It’s an admittedly minor but mostly true tale of an oddball outsider overcoming overwhelming odds.

Film Review: ‘Jersey Boys’ Can’t Escape Its Broadway Roots

CHICAGO – Director Clint Eastwood’s “Jersey Boys” suffers from the same inherent fundamental flaw in all of these so-called Jukebox Musicals – their stories are mere afterthoughts. You come for the songs, and suffer through the story.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to Clint Eastwood’s ‘Jersey Boys’

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated musical “Jersey Boys” from director Clint Eastwood starring John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli!

Blu-ray Review: Great Cast Rocks Clever ‘Seven Psychopaths’

Seven Psychopaths

CHICAGO – When I saw the ensemble assembled for Martin McDonagh’s very funny “Seven Psychopaths” and realized it was from the creator of the brilliant “In Bruges,” personal expectations were set pretty high. In fact, higher than this film achieves, but don’t let the fact that it’s not quite as solid as “Bruges” overwhelm your response to this flick, recently on Blu-ray and DVD. It’s still smart, funny, dark, twisted, and unlike anything else on the New Releases shelf.

Film Review: ‘Stand Up Guys’ Worst Waste of Talent Since Booth Shot Lincoln

Stand Up Guys

CHICAGO – Three actors, with three Oscars and an astounding 14 nominations between them, obviously have lost the ability to read a script late in their careers. That or the producers had dirt on them. There is no other reason why Al Pacino, Alan Arkin and Christopher Walken would be the “Stand Up Guys.”

Blu-ray Review: Criterion Releases Controversial ‘Heaven’s Gate’

Heaven's Gate

CHICAGO – Michael Cimino’s “Heaven’s Gate” remains one of the most controversial films of the modern age. Some would go as far as to say that the film’s financial failure in 1980 ushered in an era of studio control in that decade that killed the American auteur movement of the ’60s and ’70s that so redefined the form. It’s not much of a stretch given the historical reputation of a movie that got out of control in the hands of a director who couldn’t manage his own vision. Or is history wrong? Is it an underappreciated classic? Check out the gorgeous new Criterion Blu-ray and decide for yourself.

Blu-ray Review: Scathing ‘Dark Horse’ Flips Apatowian Formula on its Head

Dark Horse Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Movie theaters have rarely appeared as depressingly airless as they do in Todd Solondz’s “Dark Horse.” Rather than confront his adult responsibilities, pathological man-child Abe (Jordan Gelber) storms into the nearest multiplex for his daily consumption of media-fed inspirational escapism. He quietly mouths the answers to pre-movie questions projected in the otherwise vacant theater, as his words fall on nonexistent ears.

Film Review: ‘A Late Quartet’ is Passionate Symphony of the Human Condition

A Late Quartet

CHICAGO – Those who know the language of music at its highest levels seemingly know the secret of the world. But as “A Late Quartet” demonstrates, they also possess the same human foibles as the rest of us. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Christopher Walken portray maestros at an emotional crossroads.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Harry Lennix, photo by Joe Arce

    CHICAGO – The stage play that Harry Lennix is in town to direct – “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red” – is in its last weekend, and is giving the actor/director the best notices of the theater part in his long and successful career. For more information about the play, and ticket availability, click here.

  • Harry Lennix, photo by Joe Arce

    CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’

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