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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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  • The Projects

    CHICAGO – The legacy of public housing is one of the strangest forces of karma in the City of Chicago. For example, sites that were once some of the roughest and most neglected housing for the poor now contain luxury condos. It is the people of those former hellholes that still remember the sorrowful history of what they once called home. The American Theater Company (ATC) have gathered these stories for the poignant and extraordinary “The Projects.”

  • Gambler, The 2

    CHICAGO – Browsing Dostoyevsky titles with consideration for proper roles for Mark Wahlberg, one might expect the Beantown hero to take on an adaptation of “The Idiot” before anything like “The Gambler.” After all, while Wahlberg has proven to be a diverse screen force - one who has well-grown past his Funky Bunch days - he often leans towards goofy men, or at least goofy men in goofy movies.

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