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Aaron Paul

Interview: Director Gavin Hood has His ‘Eye in the Sky’

CHICAGO – The new film “Eye in the Sky” is as contemporary a war film that currently could be made. The overview of drone warfare includes the distant “pilots” on the computer screen, the leaders in their paneled offices, and the target on the ground – which includes the enemy, but also several innocents.

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: ‘Need for Speed’ Also Has Need for a Better Script

Need for Speed

CHICAGO – In interviews to promote the movie, Aaron Paul has said that he was chosen by Steven Spielberg himself to be the lead in this high-speed action thriller, while the executive producer was binge-watching “Breaking Bad”. Those are certainly some undeniable cool points that I can’t blame him for mentioning, regardless of how the movie is received. 

Film Feature: The 10 Best Films of Sundance 2014

The instant-response nature of our media has forced a bizarre question on nearly every minute of the Sundance Film Festival — “Is it a GOOD year?” Journalists and festival goers talk in hushed tones about the first time they saw beloved Sundance films like “Clerks,” “Bottle Rocket,” “Winter’s Bone,” or “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and wonder if there’s anything this year to compare. Personally, I had a spectacular year.

2014 Sundance Diary, Day 2: New Filmmakers Lead the Way

Sundance has always been an interesting blend of new and old; domestic and international; star power and new faces. In the last 24 hours, the two movies that struck the loudest chord with me come from young filmmakers, and that couldn’t make me happier.

TV Review: AMC Begins Final Arc of Beloved ‘Breaking Bad’

CHICAGO – Walter White is back. Those four words mean more to loyal fans of “Breaking Bad” than any other this Summer.

DVD Review: Fifth Season of ‘Breaking Bad’ Stuffed with Extras

Breaking Bad S5

CHICAGO – Sony knows that AMC’s “Breaking Bad” has one of the most loyal fan bases in television and so have released increasingly impressive Blu-ray and DVD season sets of the Emmy Award-winning program. The latest, the first half of the fifth season that aired in Summer 2012, comes with EIGHT HOURS of special features, including an exclusive scene, deleted scenes, and star-filled commentaries on every single episode. It’s one of the most impressive TV releases of the season for arguably the best show on TV.

DVD Review: Great Performances Anchor Smart Drama of ‘Smashed’

Smashed

CHICAGO – I’m upset I didn’t see “Smashed” in time to produce my year-end lists for 2012 (Sony Pictures Classics inexplicably never sent a screener and I missed it in theaters). Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s stellar lead performance and Aaron Paul’s pitch-perfect support would have been included in both of my performance pieces. They’re so good here, balancing the truth of youthful addiction in ways that we rarely see in film.

Film Review: Mary Elizabeth Winstead is Emotionally Wrecked in ‘Smashed’

Smashed

CHICAGO – “Young Drunks in Love” could be the subtitle of the new film “Smashed,’ or maybe “Recovery Can’t Recover All.” Regardless, Mary Elizabeth Winstead gives a career-defining performance as a young adult facing up to that adulthood, and leaving behind everything she has known for a life that’s healthier, but less familiar.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • King and I, The

    CHICAGO – The venerable musical “The King and I,” by the legendary team of (Richard) Rodgers and (Oscar) Hammerstein, is now 65 years old. The Lyric Opera of Chicago is injecting fresh life into this senior aged play, with a sumptuous new production that is top drawer at every level.

  • New Country

    CHICAGO – The Country Music industry has become as huge as any category of music entertainment. So Mark Roberts, the creator of the TV sitcom “Mike & Molly,” has fashioned a boisterous new play about the machinations of that genre of music industry, and gave it the plaintive title of “New Country.”

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