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Abigail Breslin

Film Review: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Dour Zombie Drama ‘Maggie’

Maggie, 2015

CHICAGO – A common quagmire during a zombie outbreak, as expressed in the 367 films about the topic made about such an event since 2000, concerns what to do when your loved one is infected. For many movies, it makes for the tearful, climactic moment; for the dour drama “Maggie,” it’s the total narrative examination that just about fills half a movie, featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a rugged, lumberjack dad who is disturbed by the ailing conditions of his infected daughter (played by Abigail Breslin).

Blu-ray Review: ‘August: Osage County’ is a Rusty Family Drama

August: Osage County

CHICAGO – John Wells’ adaptation of Tracy Letts’ “August: Osage County” is a movie that fell off the radar in 2013 during the busiest time of the year. When we were all caught up in narratives of lone survival, or tales of how this country was morally eroded by financial excess, this loud ode to miserable family gatherings moved into theaters, scooped up a couple of Oscar nominations for its revered talent (Meryl Streep & Julia Roberts), and then vanished.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Haunter’ Does More Than Simply Haunt


CHICAGO – Director Vincenzo Natali’s name always gets my attention. You always get the sense tha the’s trying to do something new. He first came to prominence with “Cube” (1997), which is a gorily stylistic bit of cheap psychological horror masquerading as science fiction. “Nothing” (2003) put two men in a literal void reminiscent in some ways of the classic and surreal Chuck Jones Looney Tune “Duck Amuck”. “Splice” (2009) offered an updated Frankenstein myth mixed with sexual politics and a critique of profit-driven genetic engineering.

Film Review: Family Secrets, Fine Acting in ‘August: Osage County’

CHICAGO – There will be inevitable comparisons to the Pulitzer Prize winning stage version of “August: Osage County” from the thousands of people who have been touched by the stage play. But in giving the film version a chance, there is the same passion, drama and heat of family dysfunction within it, with a dream cast.

Interview: Finding Truth with Cast of ‘August: Osage County’

CHICAGO – Gathering an ensemble cast for a film version of a Pulitzer Prize winning stage play is a tricky assignment. Some of the actors selected for “August: Osage County” – play and screenplay by Tracy Letts – are a mix of veterans (Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale) and relative newcomers (Julianne Nicholson).

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Passes to ‘August: Osage County’ with Meryl Streep

August: Osage County with Meryl Streep

CHICAGOHighly anticipated! In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of advance-screening passes up for grabs to the darkly searing “Tracy Letts” comedy “August: Osage County” starring Meryl Streep!

Film Review: ‘Ender’s Game’ Loses Personality in Journey From Book to Film

CHICAGO – Gavin Hood’s “Ender’s Game” may be the best example of a current problem with science fiction: From “Oblivion” to “After Earth” to most of “Star Trek Into Darkness” and now this adaptation of the Orson Scott Card book, modern science fiction has become so depressingly sterile as to drain the genre of most of its joy.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of IMAX Tix to ‘Ender’s Game’ with Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated new sci-fi “Ender’s Game” starring Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield!

Blu-ray Review: Good Turn From Halle Berry Wasted on ‘The Call’

The Call with Halle Berry

CHICAGO – I love Brad Anderson and the vision he showed in films like “Session 9,” “Transsiberian,” and his amazing episode of “Masters of Horror,” “Sounds Like.” He’s also done great work on television on shows like “Fringe” and “Boardwalk Empire.” And so while it seemed clear that “The Call,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, was little more than a director-for-hire gig, there was no denying they hired a really talented director. Sadly, even Anderson can’t save a remarkably boneheaded script that exploits more than scares and really falls apart in a final act that needed a full rewrite. Halle Berry gives it her all but this just doesn’t work.

Film Review: Tense Thriller Has Halle Berry Answering ‘The Call’

CHICAGO – “The Call” rises above the usual crime drama for a couple of reasons. First, it is a thriller that runs at a breakneck speed, using the driving culture of Los Angeles in a cat-and-mouse chase. Secondly, it symbolically emphasizes the plight of women, and honors their empowerment.

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  • Merry Widow, The

    CHICAGO – Standing up at the Lyric Opera house in Chicago is unusual before a show. But in this case, it was the night after a tragedy, and the operetta “The Merry Widow” – set in Paris, France, in 1905 – was about to unfold. The orchestra struck up La Marseillaise, a reminder that we’ll always have Paris.

  • Black White Love Play

    CHICAGO – The love story of a prominent Chicago celebrity couple becomes the basis for a metaphoric and tuneful celebration about courage and coming together. “The Black White Love Play: The Story of Chaz & Roger Ebert” – written and directed by Black Ensemble Theater’s Jackie Taylor – portrays the film critic and the civil rights lawyer in their time, but also creates an atmosphere of emotion through song, sorrow and jubilation.


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