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Alfred Molina

DVD Review: Historical Figures Cheersed in Brilliant ‘Drunk History: Seasons 1 & 2’

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.

Film Review: Celebrating the Ordinary Couple in ‘Love is Strange’

CHICAGO – It is a time, and the time is now. Leave it to filmmaker Ira Sachs to break a barrier simply by having the right timing. Exploring a long time gay couple, right at the cusp of their now-legal marriage, opens the door to an odd series of ordinary circumstances in “Love is Strange.”

Interview: Director Ira Sachs Reminds Us ‘Love is Strange’

CHICAGO – One of the notable films to kick off the autumn film season is writer/director Ira Sach’s “Love is Strange.” The story of two men in a longtime gay relationship, who finally can marry – but whose lives go off track unexpectedly – features brilliant performances from veterans John LIthgow and Alfred Molina.

Film Review: Pixar Scores Again With Delightful ‘Monsters University’

CHICAGO – Let’s everybody say it together, “the key to great animation is a great story.” This has to be the motto for Pixar Animation – now part of Disney. Their latest, “Monsters University,” is a prequel with a heart, soul and attention to what makes this type of entertainment work.

TV Review: David E. Kelley Returns with Effective ‘Monday Mornings’

CHICAGO – David E. Kelley is one of the most influential and important TV voices of the modern era with massive hits like “L.A. Law,” “Picket Fences,” “Chicago Hope,” “The Practice,” “Ally McBeal,” “Boston Public,” and “Boston Legal”. However, it’s been a few years and a few failures for Kelley in the recent past and he’s overdue for another hit. Maybe it will be TNT’s “Monday Mornings,” premiering tonight and delivering in unexpectedly successful ways.

Blu-ray Review: Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man’ Films Re-Released in Time For Reboot

Spider-Man trilogy DVD

CHICAGO – Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man,” “Spider-Man 2,” and “Spider-Man 3” were just released on Blu-ray to coincide with the upcoming theatrical release of Mark Webb’s reboot, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” opening in theaters on July 3, 2012. All of the Sony BD releases are pretty standard although purists will like the consistent packaging and the chance to own them at a low price point (close to $10 at some outlets) before they’re probably repackaged again when “Amazing” hits Blu-ray in time for the holidays. None of the releases include any notable new special features (other than the inclusion of Ultraviolet and some games on the first film) but they all included a wealth of them in previous editions.

TV Review: TNT’s ‘Scott Turow’s Innocent’ Deserves Prosecution

Scott Turow's Innocent

CHICAGO – With the success of mystery shows like “C.S.I.” and “The Mentalist,” why not try and bring back a staple of the ’70s and ’80s TV scene, the mystery movie of the week? Such is the thinking behind TNT’s programmers, as the network will debut a whopping four stand-alone mystery movies in the next month, starting with tonight’s debut of “Scott Turow’s Innocent,” starring Bill Pullman, Marcia Gay Harden, Alfred Molina, and Richard Schiff. Despite the stellar cast, this is a limp, dull effort that will only serve to remind viewers why they don’t make TV movies like this often any more.

Film Review: Taylor Lautner Stars in Silly, Ineffective ‘Abduction’

CHICAGO – After the success of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” and “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” Taylor Lautner could have taken any number of paths to breakout with his own star vehicle. He chose to try and fashion himself into an action star, appearing in this weekend’s “Abduction” as a young man discovering he has a very special past.

TV Review: Star-Powered, Clever Season Premiere of ‘Harry’s Law’

Harry's Law

CHICAGO – I had serious issues with the series premiere of NBC’s “Harry’s Law” earlier this year and some of those problems remain with the second-season premiere but there’s a reason that the first line of tonight’s episode is “Good morning, Harry — Our new beginning.” With a pair of mega-talented guest stars plus two great new permanent additions, “Harry’s Law” is significantly improved in season two. Everyone is going to be watching “The X Factor” tonight but those that stray to NBC should be pleasantly surprised by the first episode of this clever multi-part storyline.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Megan Fox

    CHICAGO - Look past the cheesy carbs and b-boy poses, this shiny mo-cap reboot of cartoon juggernaut “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” offers slick entertainment that makes for a welcome surprise for middle school fare. Proving that executive producer Michael Bay has both grown up but it still frightfully in tune with what jazzes teens, this surprise box office hit is indeed a nice slice of a blockbuster spectacle, whether or not a viewer cares about the turtles or not.

  • HoliDaze Front

    CHICAGO – Need a break from the noise of the holidays? Step Up Productions, – in residence at Chicago Dramatists Theater – present “HoliDaze,” a collection of six one-act plays, all dealing with the nature and nurture of the season. The showcase runs through December 21st, 2014.

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