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”).
CHICAGO – I was paying attention to the movie. Correction: I was mostly paying attention to the movie. It was challenging to ignore my angry, empty stomach and fully enjoy the food coma that is “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2”.
CHICAGO – CBS must have a whole wing of their headquarters dedicated to Chuck Lorre. Why not? He paid for it. He has been such a key part of their success over the last decade that it’s hard to think of any network-creator relationship that’s been more financially notable. “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Mike & Molly” — all winners of acting Emmys and at least the first two stand among the most popular comedies of their era. Can he do it again with “Mom,” premiering tonight, September 23, 2013? Don’t bet against him.
CHICAGO – Sacha Baron Cohen is undeniably fearless. He is the kind of voice we need in mainstream comedy — someone who is willing to go to any extreme for a joke. At his best, he’s one of the most creative and intelligent comedians alive. However, he’s been unable recently to deliver consistent films as “Bruno” disappointed and “The Dictator,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, has some very funny moments but wears out its welcome at even a short running time.
CHICAGO – Ali G, Borat, Bruno and the Stationmaster Guy in “Hugo” is now “The Dictator.” Sacha Baron Cohen puts on another character mask and produces his usual style of cheap laughs with a surprising sense of political sharpness. Anna Faris and Ben Kingsley go along for the ride.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the highly anticipated “R”-rated comedy “The Dictator” from the warped mind of Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat,” “Brüno”)!
CHICAGO – Why can’t anyone figure out how to use Anna Faris effectively? She’s got some of the best comic timing of any actress working today but she can’t find a good script in which to display it. Take her latest venture, the misogynistic, creepy, and just BAD “What’s Your Number?,” a pale excuse for a chick flick that should look even more ghostly in light of the similarly-themed and far-superior “Bridesmaids” earlier this year.
CHICAGO – NBC announced Monday morning that actor Ben Stiller and actress Anna Faris are slated to host “Saturday Night Live” in October. The announcement also stated that Foster the People would be the musical guest in Stiller’s show, and Drake would perform when Faris hosts.
CHICAGO – Most comedies feature a few key decisions or even just a few moments where you, the viewer, know someone made the wrong choice. Whether it’s something as small as thinking that a punchline works when it doesn’t or something major like the wrong casting decision, modern movie goers are smart enough to tell when they’re watching something dumb. “Take Me Home Tonight,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD is very, VERY dumb.
CHICAGO – I must admit that I was dreading “Yogi Bear” like most teenagers dread 3rd period Calculus. I have avoided the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movies with just cause and can’t stand the new trend of CGI characters talking to human ones in kids movies. They’re usually pale excuses for family entertainment and the previews for “Yogi Bear” made my stomach turn. So consider it faint praise when I say it’s not THAT bad. Oh, it’s still bad and you can do a lot better for your family movie dollar but it’s more forgettable than truly wretched.
CHICAGO – Nostalgia films need a couple of elements to make them work. First, instant recognition with the era, and second, a reason to go there. “Take Me Home Tonight” lacks both characteristics, and lead actor Topher Grace can’t seem to light a fire under the rest of it.