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Ben Schwartz

TV Review: Don Cheadle Enters Showtime’s Intriguing ‘House of Lies’

CHICAGO – The premiere of “House of Lies” is a smug, self-aware affair, a pilot that doesn’t show you how smart and clever it is as much as begs you to think it so over and over and over again.

TV Review: J.J. Abrams-Produced ‘Undercovers’ is Stylish, Familiar

CHICAGO – The timing of “Undercovers” might be inopportune — the notion of CIA super spies adding to the deficit by overextending their expense accounts — yet the show itself is bright and exciting with beautiful actors and settings. But despite the presence of J.J. Abrams of “Lost,” it doesn’t break any new ground.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 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.

  • A Field in England (teaser)

    CHICAGO – I can’t recommend this more. “A Field in England” is a flashback and a flash forward all at once. It’s impossible to watch without thinking of great counter culture cinema. In fact when I saw it at Fantastic Fest 2013 it played as part of a double bill with Ken Russell’s “The Devils” (1971). They made perfect cinematic companion pieces. Russell’s film concerned a wayward priest desperate to protect his 17th century city from corruption in the Church only to fall victim to group hysteria when he is, ironically, accused of witchcraft by a jealous nun.

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