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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

  • Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

    CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

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