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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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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Spike Heels Stage Play

    CHICAGO – If you can remember the 1990s outside of childhood, you are in the glow of middle age, so congratulations. The Brown Paper Box Co. theater ensemble takes us back to those thrilling days of yesteryear with “Spike Heels,” a relationship comedy centering on the co-mingling antics of two couples, with a slight nod toward George Bernard Shaw and the play “Pygmalion” (or its musical counterpart, “My Fair Lady”).

  • Book of Merman, The

    CHICAGO – One potential theater-goer loves the “The Book of Mormon.” The other would rather stay home and watch old Ethel Merman YouTube videos. Pride Films & Theater offers the ultimate solution by combining both in a campy musical, “The Book of Merman.” Yep, two Elder characters from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints meets foghorn singer Ethel Merman.

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