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Film Review: ‘Blue Jasmine’ Puts Woody Allen Back on Top

CHICAGO – The auteur Woody Allen is one of the most prolific post-studio-system directors, averaging one film a year for close to 40 years. His meditations on life have become part of the culture, and he brilliantly expresses himself once again – with help from Cate Blachett – in the emotional “Blue Jasmine.”

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 15 Free ‘Rise of the Guardians’ DVDs With Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: DVD with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 15 free DVDs up for grabs for the highly anticipated home release of “Rise of the Guardians” from the creators of “How to Train Your Dragon”!

Blu-ray Review: Minor Woody Allen Comedy ‘To Rome with Love’ Still Delights

To Rome with Love Blu-ray

CHICAGO – After acknowledging that the rewards of reality are infinitely preferable to the shallow pleasures of a nostalgic dreamworld in his Oscar-winning crowd-pleaser, “Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen’s tirelessly neurotic psyche appears to be more calm and serene than ever before. Perhaps his compulsion to make one picture a year has finally brought him some sort of therapeutic catharsis.

Film Review: Banal Story, Unique Visuals Define ‘Rise of the Guardians’

Rise of the Guardians

CHICAGO – Okay, we get it. The current crop of animators can create amazing worlds, full of sensory-expanding images and visions of magical awe (and in 3D). But, if there is a dull story interacting with the eye candy, it can feel like a fancy cake that tastes like sawdust. Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Isla Fisher Jude Law and Hugh Jackman lend their voices to “Rise of the Guardians.”

Film Review: Woody Allen’s ‘To Rome with Love’ is Episodic, Choppy

CHICAGO – Writer/director Woody Allen continues his film travelogues in “To Rome with Love,” touring The Eternal City with four separate vignettes. An all-star cast – including Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Penélope Cruz and Woody himself – hit and miss with this varying blend of stories.

Film Review: Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough Have Fun in ‘Rock of Ages’

CHICAGO – Although the jukebox musical needs an available pasture to be put out onto, the new film “Rock of Ages” – based on the Broadway stage play – improves on that genre by having a little fun and lots of tongue-in-cheek. Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand rock the cashbox.

Film Review: Story Lets Down Chloe Grace Moretz in Stupid ‘Hick’

Hick

CHICAGO – It’s understandable that people from the Southern or rural United States would criticize the general media. With films like “Hick,” which generally portray them as idiots or sociopathic, there is no balance or honest characterizations. Chloe Moretz, Blake Lively, Eddie Redmayne and Alec Baldwin add their take on it all.

Interview: ‘30 Rock’ Star Kevin ‘Dot Com’ Brown Embraces Career in Comedy

Kevin Dot Com Brown Interview

CHICAGO – While some stand-up comics shield themselves with an ironic, larger-than-life persona, Kevin “Dot Com” Brown’s approach is more conversational. He mines the humor in his own life while developing a genial rapport with the audience. Some may still find him to be larger than life, but that would most likely be due to his formidable size.

Film News: ‘The Help’ Wins Top Prize at Screen Actors Guild Awards

The Help

CHICAGO – The 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards premiered tonight, celebrating the best acting performances of the year. The awards are voted on by the members of the Screen Actors Guild, (apparently) making the awards more meaningful to the winners as they were chosen by their peers.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Star Trek Into Darkness

    CHICAGO – With J.J. Abrams not involved with the creation of a third “Star Trek” movie, a compendium of his work within the franchise only seems fitting. Loaded with special features but only a few new ones, this disc set is a strong choice for those who don’t already have both entertaining blockbusters in their collection.

  • References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot

    CHICAGO – In “References to Salvador Dali Makes Me Hot,” now at the Den Theatre in Chicago through September 7th, the intersect of author José Rivera and the strong cast of actors make for a formidable partnership. Committed and passionate interpreters take both the soft and edgy parts of the narrative to task.

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