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Alvin and the Chipmunks

Film Review: Sprightly Bear Tale ‘Paddington’ is Good Fun

Paddington with Ben Whishaw

CHICAGO – It may prove hard to recall an era of talking creatures in live-action movies before the napalm hellfire of “Alvin and the Chipmunks” or “The Smurfs.” But, lest we forget, “Babe” has more Academy Awards than “The Master.” Arriving at the coy and wise time of the film year where expectations are either golden or underneath the barrel, talking bear Paddington arrives stateside as a well-behaved throwback to brighter days for a simple genre, with an efficient sense of humor and a few globs of vision, too.

Video Game Review: Kids Will Dance to ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel’

Alvin and the Chipmunks Wii Game

CHICAGO – Reviewing games based on kids movies that are as clearly aimed at children as are the DS and Nintendo Wii tie-ins for “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” can be a tough assignment. What approach is appropriate? I generally think that I can only be honest about my personal experience with a game, but what if that game isn’t designed with my demographic in mind? Personally, I struggled with getting enjoyment out of either console version but I think some of my eight and nine-year-old relatives would love both.

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  • Sherlock Holmes with David Arquette (teaser)

    CHICAGO – Different isn’t bad and might be great, but you’d better have an irrefutable reason to change what was never broken. Campy being the only word to accurately convey this alternate-reality version of Sherlock Holmes with an original script, writer Greg Kramer and director Andrew Shaver try too hard to be different without ever figuring out why.

  • Merry Widow, The

    CHICAGO – Standing up at the Lyric Opera house in Chicago is unusual before a show. But in this case, it was the night after a tragedy, and the operetta “The Merry Widow” – set in Paris, France, in 1905 – was about to unfold. The orchestra struck up La Marseillaise, a reminder that we’ll always have Paris.


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