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Aubrey Plaza

Film Review: Studio Ghibli Gives Fans Sweet ‘From Up on Poppy Hill’

CHICAGO – The torch is being passed at Studio Ghibli from the great Hayao Miyazaki (“Princess Mononoke,” “Spirited Away”) to his son Goro, who directs this week’s tender “From Up on Poppy Hill,” certainly not one of the best in the Ghibli canon but a well-made, enjoyable melodrama nonetheless. A full awareness that it’s kind of a cheap melodrama (one of the characters even says so) doesn’t change the fact that it is but the young Miyazaki’s visual palette is notably beautiful and the voice work is strong throughout.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ Embraces Quirky Characters

Safety Not Guaranteed

CHICAGO – Colin Treverrow’s “Safety Not Guaranteed” is one of the most consistently enjoyable and clever films of 2012. With a script that walks a tonal tightrope and a spectacular ensemble, this is the kind of smart, quirky, unexpected comedy that one hopes for when they stray from the beaten path of the Hollywood movie. It was a wonderful Summer movie alternative that should have an even-bigger life on Blu-ray.

Film Review: ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ with Aubrey Plaza is Delightful Journey

Safety Not Guaranteed
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – I love “Safety Not Guaranteed.” It reminds me of films of my youth – the sci-fi/dramedy hits of directors like Robert Zemeckis, Richard Donner, and Steven Spielberg – that gifted viewers with wonderful characters with which we could identify. The set-up may be ridiculous but as long as we feel grounded with the people within it, we’ll go along with anything. This is something that’s been lost over the years and writer Derek Connolly and director Colin Trevorrow have found in their delicate, lovely film.

Interview: Director Colin Trevorrow Warns ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’

CHICAGO – Colin Trevorrow’s “Safety Not Guaranteed” is a fantastic blend of sci-fi, romance, and comedy. In other words, it’s the kind of movie they don’t make that often any more but they virtually mastered back in the ’80s with the films of Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg (both clear influences on this work). It’s smart, delicate, and one of the best directorial debuts of 2012. Trevorrow sat down with us in downtown Chicago recently and proved to be as interesting an interview as his clever film would suggest that he would be.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Chicago Passes to ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ With Mark Duplass

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 50 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the comedy “Safety Not Guaranteed” from the producers of “Little Miss Sunshine”!

TV Review: ‘Parks and Recreation’ Makes Case For Best Comedy

Parks and Recreation

CHICAGO – “Modern Family” may have just won the Emmy and “Louie” & “Curb Your Enthusiasm” both had very strong summer outings, but the fourth-season premiere of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” (and the equally-hysterical episode that follows it) makes the case that the Amy Poehler vehicle is the best comedy on television right now. With incredibly smart writing and increasingly impressive performances from the entire ensemble, “Parks and Rec” just keeps getting funnier.

DVD Review: NBC’s ‘Parks and Recreation’ is Best Comedy of 2011

Parks and Recreation

CHICAGO – There’s quite a race for the best comedy of the year and I suspect that “Modern Family” will take the Emmy at Sunday’s awards (which we’ll get into more in-depth with a predictions feature later in the week), but the winner by a nose for this critic is NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” a show that just got better episode by episode as its brilliant third season progressed. See for yourself with the recently-released DVD from Universal.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’ Bursts With Special Features

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

CHICAGO – Edgar Wright’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” may have been (incorrectly) perceived as a box office bomb but a large cult grew around the film before it was even released and it’s a following that will only grow stronger with the fantastic Blu-ray release, a disc filled with more special features than even the most hardcore fan of the movie could have hoped for. The movie is still a bit flawed but it plays well at home and I can’t say enough about how wonderful it is when a top-notch studio like Universal treats a loyal film following with the respect they deserve.

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  • The King of Comedy

    Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.

  • 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves

    CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.

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