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Film Review: Bill Murray Rolls Downhill in ‘Rock the Kasbah’

Rock the Kasbah

CHICAGO – What’s up with this movie? Everything in it is so wrong headed, despite movie star casting and a attempt toward “current events.” Setting itself in a modern and complex country – Afghanistan – but creating a perspective on that country that is straight ugly American, “Rock the Kasbah” is a total downer.

Preview: Jennifer Hudson to Perform at Art Van’s Grand Opening on July 30, 2015 in Downers Grove, Ill.

Jennifer Hudson, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – Jennifer Hudson has won an Academy Award and a Grammy. Not bad for the 33-year-old singer and actress who was discovered as a runner-up on “American Idol.” She will perform in Downers Grove, Ill. this Thursday, July 30, 2015 at Art Van Furniture’s grand-opening event “The Art of WOW!”

Film Review: ‘Sparkle’ is Dull for Whitney Houston Swan Song

CHICAGO – Given the shocking circumstances of Whitney Houston’s passing, it is a bit disconcerting to see her vibrantly alive again in the new film “Sparkle.” However, if she was still with us, this trifling and dull film would soon be forgotten. Jordan Sparks, Derek Luke and Carmen Ejogo co-star.

Interview: Jordin Sparks Moves to the Spotlight in ‘Sparkle’

CHICAGO – Stepping up from American Idol winner to a major film lead role looks smooth and easy for Jordin Sparks. She won Idol in 2007, released a couple of multi-platinum albums, and now plays the title character in “Sparkle,” which also has the final on-screen performance of Whitney Houston. It all seems natural for this major talent.

Exclusive Portraits: Jennifer Hudson in Sweet Home Chicago For Book Signing

Jennifer Hudson, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson came back to her hometown of Chicago last month to sign her new book, “I Got This: How I Changed My Ways and Lost What Weighed Me Down.” She also announced she is moving back to the area, after purchasing a multi-million dollar home right outside the city.

TV News: FOX Announces 2012 Mid-Season Schedule

Alcatraz

CHICAGOFOX just announced their premiere dates for the 2011-2012 midseason including exactly when to tune in for the return of “American Idol,” along with the highly-anticipated premieres of J.J. Abrams’ “Alcatraz,” new mystery “The Finder,” Kiefer Sutherland drama “Touch,” and the animated adaptation of “Napoleon Dynamite.” They also scheduled the return of two nearly-canceled shows — “Breaking In” and “Bob’s Burgers” — along with announcing that “I Hate My Teenage Daughter,” “Glee,” and “Bones” will be taking some time off in the winter, returning with new episodes in the spring.

TV Review: ‘Top Chef: Texas’ Switches Recipe on Reality Hit

CHICAGO – Some fans are going to want to send back the latest offering from Chef Tom Colicchio and the team behind Bravo’s Emmy-winning “Top Chef.” At first, it’s a little baffling to see one of the most acclaimed reality programs of all time switch up its formula this notably with a series of starting challenges that will remind viewers of “American Idol.”

TV News: FOX’s ‘The X Factor’ Opens Below Ratings Expectations

The X Factor

CHICAGO – The highly-anticipated series premiere of “The X Factor” on FOX was watched by enough people to not be considered a failure but its numbers were well below insider expectations, falling FAR short of “American Idol” numbers and not even topping the night as the most-watched program. It was a solid opening by most standards when it comes to assessing new programs but far from an instant hit, and if it slides (as most new shows do) it could be one of the year’s surprise losers.

TV Review: Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul Need to Prove ‘The X Factor’

CHICAGO – Singing competitions are becoming as pervasive as sports on TV. But as the “leagues” multiply, will the audience show up to yet another franchise? The granddaddy of all prime time singing judges, Simon Cowell, hopes he has “The X Factor” to create another hit, which premieres September 21st on FOX.

TV News: FOX Announces Fall Schedule, Details New Series

CHICAGOFOX made their Fall schedule official this morning, putting to rest any lingering hope for fans of “The Chicago Code” (or the other four canceled bubble programs) and detailing what will air when.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 10th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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