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Bob Odenkirk

DVD Review: Historical Figures are Cheersed in the Brilliant ‘Drunk History: Seasons 1 & 2'

Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

Exclusive Portrait: Bob Odenkirk Reminds Us ‘Better Call Saul’

Bob Odenkirk, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – Sometimes it take awhile to be an overnight sensation, but Bob Odenkirk will be on the precipice of that kingdom when the “Breaking Bad” spin-off show, “Better Call Saul” premieres in February of next year on the AMC Network. Odenkirk was recently in Chicago to promote his new book, “A Load of Hooey.” in an appearance that took place at the Up Comedy Club on Wells Street in the city.

Blu-ray Review: Teen Movies Don’t Get Better Than ‘The Spectacular Now’

The Spectacular Now

We are surrounded by fiction about teenagers that treats both its subjects and its target audience like idiots. So few filmmakers understand the problems and emotions of young people that when a film as great as “The Spectacular Now” comes along (my #13 of 2013), it’s a small miracle. Reminiscent of the best of Cameron Crowe, James Ponsoldt’s adaptation of Tim Tharp’s novel (from a script robbed of an Oscar nod by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber) is a fantastic drama about a kid realizing that he may be peaking in high school. The Blu-ray is well-accompanied by a fantastic commentary from Ponsoldt, 20 minutes of deleted scenes, and featurettes.

Film Review: Quiet Desperation Gets Louder in ‘Nebraska’

CHICAGO – Bruce Dern is an actor who has turned in some indelible performances in his over 50 year film career. He saves one of the best for now, as he breathes life into an old man who wants one more time in the sun. So begins a journey with his son, portrayed by Will Forte, in “Nebraska.”

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of ‘Nebraska’ Passes with Bruce Dern From ‘The Descendants’ Director

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new drama “Nebraska” starring Bruce Dern from the director of “The Descendants” and “Sideways”!

TV Review: AMC Begins Final Arc of Beloved ‘Breaking Bad’

CHICAGO – Walter White is back. Those four words mean more to loyal fans of “Breaking Bad” than any other this Summer.

Film Review: Jeff Garlin Directs Inconsistent ‘Dealin’ with Idiots’

Dealin' with Idiots

CHICAGO – Jeff Garlin has created a good “character” in TV and films – a gruff but affable schlemiel that ambles through life as if distracted. He amplifies that role in his latest comedy, “Dealin’ with Idiots,’ but the loose improvisation style has too many unfunny stretches and an unpleasant spirit.

Interview: Jeff Garlin Gives Advice on ‘Dealin’ with Idiots’

CHICAGO – Jeff Garlin is what he is. He wants to emphasize that characteristic over any in the formation and development of his many characters – most famously as Jeff Greene on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and The Captain in the animated classic film “Wall-E.” Garlin also co-wrote and directed his latest film, “Dealin’ with Idiots.”

DVD Review: Chris Elliott’s ‘Get a Life: The Complete Series’ is Finally Here

Get a Life

CHICAGO – Charlie Kaufman (“Adaptation,” “Being John Malkovich”) once wrote for a TV sitcom so odd that its network and most of the U.S. had no idea what to make of it. Without question, “Get a Life” was ahead of its time. So much of the twisted comedy of 2012 owes a debt to this true oddity from two decades ago, a unique gem that is finally getting a complete series release years after fans started clamoring for it.

TV Review: ‘Breaking Bad’ Picks Up Right Where it Left Off

CHICAGO – One of my favorite things about “Breaking Bad,” the best drama on television by quite a critical distance, is the way writers play with time. One episode can take place over a few days while another very important week on the calendar may take up half a season just to get through its intense action.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

    CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

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