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Film Review: Imagine What Could Have Been for ‘Danny Collins’

Danny Collins

CHICAGO – “Danny Collins” is a shoulda-woulda-coulda film. It was inspired by the true story of a John Lennon letter acquired by a musician 40 years after he was suppose to to have received it, and then re-imagined as a cheap soap opera, punctuated by far superior John Lennon songs.

Interview: Director Dan Fogelman on Nurturing ‘Danny Collins’

CHICAGO – Dan Fogelman is a familiar behind-the-scenes creator, having wrote scripts and screenplays for “Cars,” “Fred Claus,” “Tangled,” “The Guilt Trip” and “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” He takes on his first directorial effort, the story of “Danny Collins,” a faded rock star who finds redemption through a lost letter from John Lennon.

Interview: Director David Gordon Green, Tye Sheridan Talk ‘Joe’

CHICAGO – When traveling on a Nicolas Cage trip, it’s best to buckle up. Director David Gordon Green collaborated with Cage on the new film, “Joe,” and actor Tye Sheridan (“Tree of Life,” “Mud”) was Cage’s teenage co-star. Cage portrays the title character, a reformed hellraiser who can’t help but have sympathy for a lost soul.

TV Review: David Mamet’s ‘Phil Spector’ with Al Pacino, Helen Mirren

CHICAGO – With the larger-than-life acting tics that have invaded most of Al Pacino’s performances in the last twenty years, it seemed inevitable that the actor was the only person who could possibly play a notable loon like Phil Spector. In tonight’s HBO movie named after the legendary producer, Pacino chews the scenery as one would expect but it’s Helen Mirren who steals the piece from the Oscar winner.

Blu-ray Review: Michael Mann’s Masterful ‘The Insider’ Makes HD Debut

The Insider

CHICAGO – There are still a stunning number of films from the ’90s and ’00s not on Blu-ray but BVHE recently corrected one of those oversights by releasing the stellar “The Insider,” one of the best films of arguably the best year for cinema in the last two decades — 1999.

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.”

Slideshow: Al Pacino, Christopher Walken at Opening of 48th Chicago International Film Festival

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CHICAGO – It was true star power as the 48th Chicago International Film Festival kicked off on October 11th, 2012. The Opening Night film was “Stand Up Guys,” and appearing on behalf of the film was Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin and director Fisher Stevens.

Video Game Review: Say Hello to a Very Little ‘Scarface’ for iOS

CHICAGO – I wonder when Brian De Palma and Al Pacino were making “Scarface” if they had any idea how much of a phenomenon they were about to unleash on the world. “Scarface” is no mere movie. It has had more of a shelf life than most of the superhero, fantasy, and typically fan-centric films of its day.

Blu-ray Review: Adam Sandler’s ‘Jack and Jill’ Sucks Twice as Much

Jack and Jill

CHICAGO – Adam Sandler has become such a lazy filmmaker that he’s now just building films around his personal vacation schedule. He wanted to take an outdoors-y vacation with his friends and the result was “Grown Ups.” He wanted to go to Hawaii and the result was “Just Go With It.” He wanted to take a cruise and we have to sit through “Jack and Jill.”

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  • Punk Punk

    CHICAGO – For theater that is audaciously in-the-now and generates a sparkle of life, there are few better storefront (garage, gothic gathering place) groups than “Nothing Without a Company.” Their latest, eclectic kick-in-the-head production is the intensely diverting and weirdly fun “Punk Punk.”

  • Assassination Theater

    CHICAGO – There are two dates in modern American History that ring in the heads of certain generations. Of course, there is September 11th, 2001, but the granddaddy of that date is November 22nd, 1963. That is when an American president, John F. Kennedy, was shot point blank in the head and killed on the street of an American city. The official proclamation from the government is that a lone assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, fired those shots. In a new Chicago play, “Assassination Theater,” subtitled “Chicago’s Role in the Crime of the Century,” the jury is still decidedly out.


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