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Andy Lau

Film Review: ‘A Simple Life’ Celebrates the Transcendent Beauty of Human Selflessness

A Simple Life Film Review

CHICAGO – The inherent drama of reality is trickier to capture on camera than one might suspect. Cinéma verité failed as soon as filmmakers utilized manipulative techniques to contrive on-camera drama. The staged shouting matches, comedic barbs and tearful breakdowns prevalent on Reality TV are as phony (or, dare I say, phonier) than the human behavior witnessed in scripted productions.

Film Review: Epic, Unusual ‘Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame’

Detective Dee

CHICAGO – The roots of the cinematic obsession with wizards, the force and middle earth can be traced back somewhat to the tradition of the martial artist, and the magical realism that is practiced in that genre of films. “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame” packs in action, magic politics and fantasy in a tale based on a real Chinese empress.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘The Warlords’ Triumphantly Depicts War as Hell

The Warlords Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – In the opening moments of Peter Ho-Sun Chan’s “The Warlords,” martial arts superstar Jet Li performs one of his bravest physical feats yet. He breaks into tears. This comes as a bit of a shock, considering Li’s status as one of China’s most formidable onscreen ass-kickers. Yet it’s in keeping with Chan’s uncommonly emotional approach to depicting historical events often drained of humanity.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Wonder Woman

    CHICAGO – There are few films in 2017 that are as historically important as they are cinematically well-crafted. Of those, there is only one I saw three times in theaters. That honor comes in the form of the revolutionary “Wonder Woman,” which not only shows huge promise for the future of DC Comics films but for comic book-based films as a whole.

  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

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