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Amanda Peet

Blu-ray Review: Sweet, Sentimental ‘The Way, Way Back’

The Way, Way Back

CHICAGO – “The Way, Way Back” made a solid $21 million domestically but I kind of expected it to be an even bigger hit when I saw it back in January at the Sundance Film Festival. I saw several dozen films at this year’s fest and nothing produced a response like Nat Faxon & Jim Rash’s sweet, sentimental comedy. The audience I saw it with LOVED it. And now that it’s on Blu-ray and DVD, I expect it to reach an even bigger audience through word-of-mouth recommendations. It’s a fun, clever movie with some great performances, including a supporting turn by Sam Rockwell that stands with the best of the year.

Film Review: For a Real Summer Movie, Go ‘The Way, Way Back’

CHICAGO – Nothing evokes the time, sights and smells of summer like the getaway resort. The long days, the mystery of night, the first crush and the summer job are all brought back in the soapy yet fun “The Way, Way Back,” featuring Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 5 Blu-ray, DVD Combo Packs to ‘Identity Thief’ with Jason Bateman

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Combo Pack with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 5 free Blu-ray and DVD combo packs up for grabs for the highly anticipated home release of “Identity Thief” with Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy!

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 30 Pairs of Passes to ‘Identity Thief’ With Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 30 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of “Identity Thief” with Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy!

TV Review: NBC’s ‘Bent’ Has Promise But Likely Won’t Have Time to Fulfill It

CHICAGO – The cast of NBC’s “Bent” is strong enough that it could easily pull that common sitcom trick of a shaky start that develops into something greater. I’m not trying to compare the programs directly in terms of quality but have you see the first 5-6 episodes of “30 Rock” now that it’s in syndication? They were awful.

Blu-Ray Review: Jack Black Hams it Up in Exhausting ‘Gulliver’s Travels’

Gulliver's Travels

CHICAGO – It’s not uncommon to see truly talented people sucked into awful family fare. I think some actors, perhaps after doing a few too many “dark” roles in films aimed at adults, jump at the opportunity to do something light-hearted, fun, and for the little ones. How else to explain people as talented as Emily Blunt and Jason Segel getting sucked into the disappointing comedy “Gulliver’s Travels,” another piece of evidence in the mounting case against Jack Black?

Film Review: Jack Black, Emily Blunt Think Big in ‘Gulliver’s Travels’

CHICAGO – Call it too much holiday eggnog, but the re-imagining of the immortal classic “Gulliver’s Travels,’ starring Jack Black, Emily Blunt and Jason Segal, has a little Yuletide fun and hurts no one. If you like Jack Black, you’ll enjoy the film. If you don’t, find another way to spend 93 minutes this tinsel time weekend.

Blu-Ray Review: Catherine Keener, Rebecca Hall in Great ‘Please Give’

Please Give

CHICAGO – I’ve seen over a hundred films since seeing Nicole Holofcener’s “Please Give” and the movie has somehow lingered in the back of my mind. It’s what happens when characters are this well-drawn and believable. If a movie feels genuine, it has a much longer staying power and writer/director Holofcener (“Lovely and Amazing,” “Friends With Money”) makes dramedies about people that almost instantly feel completely genuine. “Please Give,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, is one of the best dramedies of the year.

Catherine Keener Shines in Nicole Holofcener’s Rewarding ‘Please Give’

Please Give
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Writer/director Nicole Holofcener (“Lovely and Amazing,” “Friends With Money”) has an amazing ability to write characters that immediately feel genuine. It helps to have an actress as free of artifice as Catherine Keener as your regular lead but we shouldn’t diminish Holofcener’s rare ear for dialogue that actually sounds like it wasn’t created by a screenwriting machine.

No Matter How Hard You Believe Otherwise, ‘The X-Files: I Want to Believe’ Most Anemic Story Yet

CHICAGO – Following an addictive TV series that spanned from 1992 to 2002, I wanted to believe “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” would more dynamically pay homage to its television success than Chris Carter’s first film attempt in 1998. In take two, though, it didn’t happen.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bad Words

    Looming over “Bad Words” is the potential it could have had, as is, were it released ten years ago. With its focus of R-rated behavior poking at the projected innocence of children, along with the couple of chromosomes that keep Bateman’s Trilby from being a Vince Vaughn character, this movie is certainly a product of the comedies that have sculpted out the manchild story in the past decade.

  • Winter's Tale

    The theatrical poster for “Winter’s Tale,” after promising that “It’s not a true story, it’s a love story,” made a large demand from its viewers at the bottom: “This Valentine’s Day, Believe In Miracles.” While there is indeed a difference between filmmaking and marketing, it is hard to not imagine writer/director Akiva Goldsman whispering “believe in miracles” into the ear of every executive who helped “Winter’s Tale” come to life, immediately after throwing glitter on them.

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