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Billy Crudup

DVD Review: William H. Macy’s Sappy Directorial Debut ‘Rudderless’

Rudderless, Billy Crudup Anton Yelchin

CHICAGO – Actor William H. Macy’s directorial debut “Rudderless” is a film of open mic songwriting that tackles a recovery from grief with neat lyrics and easy metaphors. Instead of standing out, Macy has provided another sap’s ballad that has the cuteness of “Kumbaya”, one that aims to please the crowd without challenging emotions, only showing them.

Film Review: Direction Proves a Problem For Open Mic Drama ‘Rudderless’

Rudderless, Billy Crudup Anton Yelchin

CHICAGO – Actor William H. Macy’s directorial debut “Rudderless” is a film of open mic songwriting that tackles a recovery from grief with neat lyrics and easy metaphors. Instead of standing out, Macy has provided another sap’s ballad that has the cuteness of “Kumbaya”, one that aims to please the crowd without challenging emotions, only presenting them.

Film News: New Chicago Film Critics Association Series ‘Film with a View’ Presents ‘Almost Famous’ on Oct. 3, 2012

Almost Famous

CHICAGO – The Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) will begin their new series, “Film with a View,” on this coming Wednesday, October 3rd, at the Studio Movie Grill in Wheaton, Illinois, starting at 7:30pm. Admission is only one dollar. The first feature will be “Almost Famous” (2000), the rock movie directed by Cameron Crowe. CFCA member Erik Childress of eFilmCritic.com will introduce the film and lead a discussion afterward.

Blu-ray Review: HBO’s Average ‘Too Big to Fail’ Stages Star-Studded Talkathon

Too Big to Fail Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Sometimes a film is so good that it casts a shadow over all the other pictures that have the misfortune of sharing striking similarities. HBO’s star-studded adaptation of Andrew Ross Sorkin’s book, “Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System—and Themselves” does its titular subject matter justice—but not nearly as well as J.C. Chandor’s “Margin Call.”

Film Review: Troubled ‘Thin Ice’ With Greg Kinnear Barely Works

Thin Ice
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Over a decade ago, Jill & Karen Sprecher made waves on the indie scene with “Clockwatchers” and “Thirteen Conversations About One Thing” but then virtually disappeared. They’re back with another arthouse piece, a “Fargo”-esque black comedy called “Thin Ice,” starring Greg Kinnear, Billy Crudup, Alan Arkin, and more. The strong ensemble makes the relatively weak script (as presented…more on that later) easier to take as the film skates over some treacherous rough patches but never falls through.

Blu-Ray Review: Cameron Crowe’s ‘Almost Famous’ Stands Up a Decade Later

Almost Famous

CHICAGO – As the Oscars are almost upon us, several studios have been releasing Academy Award juggernauts of the past like “Raging Bull,” “Dances With Wolves,” and “The Color Purple.” Consider the re-release of “Almost Famous,” in its “Untitled” form exclusively at Best Buy, an ugly duckling cousin of these releases. Yes, it won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (well-deserved) but it missed out on nods it should have received in multiple other categories. Yes, I’m still angry. “Almost Famous” is one of the best films of the ’00s and has held up beautifully since its release just over a decade ago.

Film Review: Julia Roberts Learns How to ‘Eat Pray Love’

Eat Pray Love
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Despite its flaws, the often-beautiful “Eat Pray Love,” starring Julia Roberts, works because it refuses to talk down to its audience. This is the rare “chick flick” that treats its demographic with respect, never becoming the sentimental or manipulative dreck that so many other filmmakers would have delivered from Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling memoirs.

Blu-Ray Review: Give Johnny Depp, Michael Mann’s ‘Public Enemies’ Another Chance

Public Enemies

CHICAGO – On paper, Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies” looked like it would be a clear contender for end-of-the-year consideration but it has been largely forgotten, only a few months after its release. The cold, dense film didn’t register strongly enough with critics or audiences and it looks like it could disappear without much fanfare. What I think is more likely is that Mann’s dark, complex film will slowly get the recognition it deserves on the home market and it starts with this Blu-Ray release.

DVD Review: Director’s Cut of ‘Watchmen’ Gives Fans Half a Release

Watchmen

CHICAGO – Despite the serious problems I had with Zack Snyder’s “Watchmen,” it was a Blu-Ray and DVD title that I was highly anticipating. With the film’s detailed production level, lengthy running time, and broad scope, it would seem to be tailor-made for a loyal home audience. Whether you like the film or not, that audience is getting screwed.

Johnny Depp’s ‘Public Enemies’ Delivers Bona Fide Chicago Powerhouse

CHICAGO – Was John Dillinger an Adolf Hitler-level criminal mastermind or a modern-day Robin Hood superman? In the authentic reality portrayed by the god-like Johnny Depp in the Chicago-filmed “Public Enemies,” he’s a little bit of both for blockbuster filmmaker Michael Mann.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Lori Petty, photo by Joe Arce

    CHICAGO – Lori Petty will never be predictable, nor put into some show business box. The free-wheelin’ Ms. P applies her expansive performance skills to the role of Lolly – a guest spot that turned into a recurring character – on Netflix’s hot series “Orange is the New Black,” which released its third season on June 12th, 2015.

  • The Projects

    CHICAGO – The legacy of public housing is one of the strangest forces of karma in the City of Chicago. For example, sites that were once some of the roughest and most neglected housing for the poor now contain luxury condos. It is the people of those former hellholes that still remember the sorrowful history of what they once called home. The American Theater Company (ATC) have gathered these stories for the poignant and extraordinary “The Projects.”

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