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Alan Cumming

Blu-ray Review: Alan Cumming Delivers Oscar-Caliber Work in ‘Any Day Now’

Any Day Now Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Evoking the civil rights melodramas of the ’60s, such as Guy Green’s wrenching “A Patch of Blue,” with a dash of Robert Benton’s 1979 masterpiece, “Kramer vs. Kramer,” Travis Fine’s “Any Day Now” shamelessly aims to tug at the heartstrings. And tug at them he does with considerable success, thanks in large part to the riveting, career-best performance delivered by Alan Cumming. It’s the sort of work that could’ve easily been honored with an Oscar nod, had Fox Searchlight or Harvey Weinstein picked it up.

Film Review: Alan Cumming Shines in Heartbreaking ‘Any Day Now’

CHICAGO – Travis Fine’s “Any Day Now” is an old-fashioned social problem film painted in the broadest of strokes. Fairly early on, the audience is faced with two choices: either resist the film’s assuredly tear-jerking formula or submit to it. Though some critics will always opt for the first choice, regardless of a film’s merits, I’m willing to praise a formula as long as it’s well-executed.

DVD Review: Emmy-Nominated Third Season of CBS’s ‘The Good Wife’

The Good Wife S3

CHICAGO – Whenever a TV critic argues that network TV drama is dead and that it’s all moved to basic cable, there’s usually a solitary show that they point to as the exception — CBS’s “The Good Wife.” This critical darling, an Emmy winner for Best Actress in Dramatic Series last year (and Supporting Actress the year before and multiple nominee for this season), was recently released in a modest third-season DVD set from CBS and Paramount. It’s disappointing that the show isn’t available in HD and the special features are pretty light for what is arguably network TV’s best remaining drama.

DVD Review: Strong Packages For CBS Dramas ‘Blue Bloods,’ ‘The Good Wife’

Blue Bloods, Tom Selleck

CHICAGOCBS’s “Blue Bloods” and “The Good Wife,” both recently released on DVD (first season for the former, second season for the latter), were interesting stories in April of this year as ratings watchdogs expressed concerns that either or both could be canceled despite loyal fan bases. Both were given the reprieve because they have viewers who just won’t give up on them. See why with this stellar pair of releases.

Film Review: Only the Kiddies Will Connect to ‘The Smurfs’

The Smurfs

CHICAGO – There is nothing wrong with “The Smurfs” that a thousand volts of electricity couldn’t cure. It is well made, looks good in the optional 3-D and has a competent cast trying their hardest. What it lacks is a spark, either of nostalgia or a fresh update, as it meanders with the seen-it-all-before template.

Film Review: Christina Aguilera, Cher Star in Horrible ‘Burlesque’

Burlesque
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 0.5/5.0
Rating: 0.5/5.0

CHICAGO – I worry that some impressionable youth will see Steve Antin’s horrendous “Burlesque” and be turned off musicals forever. This is not a musical. This is a music video; an ego piece for two fading stars that is one of the most creatively bankrupt pieces of cinema in years. Actually, most music videos are better.

News: Chicago Dance Auditions For Cher Film ‘Burlesque’ on Oct. 23, 2010

Burlesque auditions in Chicago for Cher film

CHICAGO – We have learned that there will be a dance contest in Chicago on Oct. 23, 2010 in celebration of the upcoming film “Burlesque” starring Cher, Christina Aguilera, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, Alan Cumming and Peter Gallagher.

Video Game Review: Ultra-Violent ‘Wet’ Provides Jolt That Wears Off With Repetition

Wet

CHICAGO – Bethesda Softworks’ “Wet” is a sloppy wet kiss to the cinema of the grindhouse as filtered through Quentin Tarantino’s love affair with it. The game plays not so much as an ode to B-movie thrills but to the way that QT interprets them. Clearly (and admittedly) inspired by “Kill Bill,” “Wet” is an often-fun but also often-frustrating shooter with style to spare but not as much substance as one would hope.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bad Words

    Looming over “Bad Words” is the potential it could have had, as is, were it released ten years ago. With its focus of R-rated behavior poking at the projected innocence of children, along with the couple of chromosomes that keep Bateman’s Trilby from being a Vince Vaughn character, this movie is certainly a product of the comedies that have sculpted out the manchild story in the past decade.

  • Winter's Tale

    The theatrical poster for “Winter’s Tale,” after promising that “It’s not a true story, it’s a love story,” made a large demand from its viewers at the bottom: “This Valentine’s Day, Believe In Miracles.” While there is indeed a difference between filmmaking and marketing, it is hard to not imagine writer/director Akiva Goldsman whispering “believe in miracles” into the ear of every executive who helped “Winter’s Tale” come to life, immediately after throwing glitter on them.

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