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HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to ‘Labor Day’ with Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated new drama “Labor Day” starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin!

Interview: ‘Young Adult’ Director Jason Reitman on Open-Ended, Non-Message Directing

CHICAGO – Instead of trying to fill giant shoes in the shadows of his legendary filmmaker father Ivan Reitman (“Ghostbusters”), Jason Reitman has been successfully blazing his own path of films without message that are designed to incite your thoughts and question your actions.

Film Review: Jason Reitman, Diablo Cody Sway Us to Like the Unlikable in ‘Young Adult’

CHICAGO – Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) isn’t a girl you’d Facebook like. She’s got one too many dark passengers, she’s a repugnant drunk, she likes too much pink, her white dog is too puffy and most would consider it less than Usher cool that she’s throwing herself at a married man she couldn’t bag back in high school. Or is she? And is Mavis so different than you?

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Chicago Passes to ‘Young Adult’ With Charlize Theron

Young Adult with Charlize Theron

CHICAGO – In our latest dramedy edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance Chicago screening of “Young Adult” from the director of “Up in the Air” (Jason Reitman) and the writer of “Juno” (Diablo Cody) starring Charlize Theron and Patrick Wilson!

Interview: J.K. Simmons Explains Why ‘The Music Never Stopped’

CHICAGO – If you’re not familiar with the name J.K. Simmons, you almost certainly know his face or maybe even just his voice. From “Oz” to “Juno” to “The Closer” to “Portal 2” and even the M&Ms commercials, the very-talented actor has been everywhere in the last few decades. The great character actor recently took time out of his busy schedule to give a call to HollywoodChicago.com on the eve of the release of his excellent drama “The Music Never Stopped” on DVD.

TV Review: ‘United States of Tara’ Offers Showcase For Toni Collette

United States of Tara 3

CHICAGO – I’ve said for two seasons now that Showtime’s “United States of Tara” isn’t as good as it should be, partially because the writing and parts of the ensemble don’t live up to the Emmy-winning work by its stunningly talented star, Toni Collette, but I might have been wrong. The start of season three, debuting tonight, Mar. 28th, 2011 on Showtime, hints at a broader program with a deeper ensemble, but I’m not sure any more that this is a good thing.

DVD Review: Toni Collette, Diablo Cody Shine in ‘United States of Tara: The Second Season’

United States of Tara Season 2 DVD

CHICAGO – It’s difficult to think of a role better suited for the chameleon-like abilities of Toni Collette than Tara Gregson, a devoted wife and mother struggling with dissociative identity disorder. Every episode holds an element of surprise, since viewers are never quite sure which of Tara’s “alters” will emerge next. Will it be the perky ’50s housewife, the flirtatious teenager or the testosterone-oozing Vietnam vet?

TV Review: Toni Collette Continues to Shine on ‘United States of Tara’

United States of Tara S2

CHICAGO – I personally think the show is slightly inferior to its hour-partner “Nurse Jackie,” but Toni Collette does such spectacular work on “United States of Tara” that her performance alone demands you tune in. Like Edie Falco on “NJ,” the incredibly talented Collette takes a challenging role that could have turned into caricature in the hands of a lesser actress and makes it genuine.

Blu-Ray Review: Disappointing ‘Jennifer’s Body’ is Dead on Arrival

Jennifer's Body Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – When Quentin Tarantino sets out to write a World War II thriller set in Nazi-occupied France, he can’t help turning it into a hip commentary on war films. Similarly, when Diablo Cody sets out to write a straightforward horror picture about teenage angst, she can’t help turning it into a snarky farce, featuring characters who wisecrack to the bloody end.

DVD Review: ‘Paper Heart’ Intriguingly Blurs Line Between Reality, Fiction

Paper Heart DVD

CHICAGO – Some actors are so good that it’s easy to take their work for granted. Take Michael Cera, the veteran child actor-turned-unlikely teen heartthrob. From his breakout work in “Arrested Development,” to his crowd-pleasing performances in “Superbad” and “Juno,” Cera has created a comic persona as indelible as Woody Allen’s.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

    CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

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