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Film Review: Uneven ‘Annie’ Makes Some Very Bad Decisions

CHICAGO – The diabetes-inducing Broadway musical “Annie” does not deserve two film versions – including the newest release – especially since both are tortuous and somewhat dark. The “modern” version even eliminates most of the strength that “Annie” possessed on stage, its chipper songs.

Interview: Anson ‘Potsie’ Williams on His Book ‘Singing to a Bulldog’

CHICAGO – When is comes to appreciating life, one great practitioner is Anson Williams, better known as the character “Potsie” from the 1970s TV series “Happy Days.” Williams wants to remind everybody to “pay it forward,” as he does in highlighting his unlikely mentor in his new book, “Singing to a Bulldog.”

Film Review: Too-Long ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ Delivers on Intimate, Hand-to-Hand Combat

CHICAGO – Though he’s never been called it before in scientific speak, I’m saying it now: Peter Jackson is a master of mitosis. He’s one of Hollywood’s best in splitting up the cinematic cellular DNA of one story into three because, apparently, he can’t do epics unless they’re in groups of three.

Blu-ray Review: Slices of Solid Action in Surprising ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Megan Fox

CHICAGO - Look past the cheesy carbs and b-boy poses, this shiny mo-cap reboot of cartoon juggernaut “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” offers slick entertainment that makes for a welcome surprise for middle school fare. Proving that executive producer Michael Bay has both grown up but it still frightfully in tune with what jazzes teens, this surprise box office hit is indeed a nice slice of a blockbuster spectacle, whether or not a viewer cares about the turtles or not.

Film News: Chicago Film Critics Association Names ‘Boyhood’ as 2014’s Best Picture

CHICAGO – ‘Boyhood,’ director Richard Linklater’s story of a boy maturing from age 6 to age 18 – using the same actor over 12 years – was designated Best Picture by the Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) at a ceremony on December 15th, 2014.

Film Review: A Lost WWII Hero Remembered in Slick Thriller ‘The Imitation Game’

CHICAGO – The heroism of World War II codebreaker Alan Turing has been lost in time. Partly due to the secrecy of his mission within the British military in World War II, but also because of the intolerance that erased him soon after his incredible accomplishments.

Film News: ‘Birdman’ Tops Chicago Film Critics Association 2014 Best Film Nominees

CFCA logo

CHICAGO – The best movies of 2014 were on display as the Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) announced their nominees in several categories of film excellence. Leading the pack was director Alejandro G. Inarritu’s “Birdman,” Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and newcomer Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash.” The best in each category will be announced on Monday, December 15th.

Film Review: No Faith in the Spectacle of ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’

CHICAGO – The world certainly didn’t need another “Ten Commandments,” but director Ridley Scott tries to remake the 50’s Biblical epic anyway – led by Christian Bale as a scowling and shouting Moses. Yet Bale can’t hold a staff to Charlton Heston and Scott is no Cecil B. DeMille.

Film Review: Schizophrenic ‘Top Five’ is Evolution for Chris Rock

CHICAGO – Chris Rock wants you to take him seriously, so he has made a comedy with inconsistent laughs, and a nod towards the weird fishbowl lives that today’s celebrities endure. It’s a rare film where the last part is stronger than the first few acts, a mishmash that is “Top Five.”

Theater Review: Step Up Productions Gives the Gift of ‘HoliDaze’

CHICAGO – Need a break from the noise of the holidays? Step Up Productions, – in residence at Chicago Dramatists Theater – present “HoliDaze,” a collection of six one-act plays, all dealing with the nature and nurture of the season. The showcase runs through December 21st, 2014.

Interview: Morten Tyldum, Graham Moore of ‘The Imitation Game’

CHICAGO – Telling the story of Alan Turing – the British closeted gay man who broke a Nazi code in World War II, saving millions of lives – was put upon the talented shoulders of two disparate individuals. Screenwriter Graham Moore – from Chicago – and Norwegian director Morten Tyldum collaborated on “The Imitation Game.”

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  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Megan Fox

    CHICAGO - Look past the cheesy carbs and b-boy poses, this shiny mo-cap reboot of cartoon juggernaut “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” offers slick entertainment that makes for a welcome surprise for middle school fare. Proving that executive producer Michael Bay has both grown up but it still frightfully in tune with what jazzes teens, this surprise box office hit is indeed a nice slice of a blockbuster spectacle, whether or not a viewer cares about the turtles or not.

  • HoliDaze Front

    CHICAGO – Need a break from the noise of the holidays? Step Up Productions, – in residence at Chicago Dramatists Theater – present “HoliDaze,” a collection of six one-act plays, all dealing with the nature and nurture of the season. The showcase runs through December 21st, 2014.

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