Book Review

Book Review: ‘Guillermo Del Toro Cabinet of Curiosities’ is Film Lover’s Dream

CHICAGO – Guillermo Del Toro is one of the most imaginative filmmakers alive. Even when his films don’t fully come together, there’s that spark of creativity that is truly Del Toro. He has so much going on upstairs that he needs to put it on paper, producing pages and pages of notes, drawings, etc. I’ve seen it.

Book Review: ‘Elysium: The Art of the Film’

Elysium: The Book of the Film

CHICAGO – There are a lot of “Art of the Film” books released over the course of a year. They’re designed for hardcore fans or those with a lot of expendable income and no desire to feature books of actual paintings on their coffee table. Most of them are either mediocre or totally worthless. They’re cheap tie-ins designed to appease fans in a way that registers just above a Happy Meal toy but costs much more. “Elysium: The Art of the Film” is not a cheap tie-in. This is an expertly produced volume that makes one appreciate the detailed work that went into Neill Blomkamp’s #1 film more than mere propaganda.

Book Review: ‘Steven Spielberg: A Retrospective,’ ‘Jaws: Memories From Martha’s Vineyard’

CHICAGO – It’s a full-on assault for Steven Spielberg fans this holiday season as “Lincoln” plays in theaters (starting 11/9, watch for our full review on that day) and thousands pick up “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” and “Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures” on Blu-ray.

Book Review: ‘Alien: The Illustrated Story’ Emphasizes Lost Art of Film Adaptations

Alien: The Illustrated Story

CHICAGO – I’m old enough dear readers to remember when books were more interesting tie-ins for feature films than websites and video games. When we fell in love with a movie, we had action figures, Happy Meal toys, and, believe it or not, books. There was a time when collecting everything related to your favorite flick meant a novel adaptation and one of the absolute best, the graphic novel edition known as “Alien: The Illustrated Story” has just been reissued to show readers why this is an art form they should miss.

Book Review: Classic ‘Alien,’ ‘Aliens’ Books Re-Released in Time For ‘Prometheus’

The Book of Alien

CHICAGO – How excited are you for “Prometheus”? The highly-anticipated Ridley Scott prequel to one of the most influential films ever made, his masterful “Alien,” will finally hit domestic theaters on June 8, 2012 (we’ve seen it and will have a review for you on Thursday). Are you ready? Have you watched the Quarilogy again? What else can you do to prepare?

Book Review: ‘Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal’

Seagalogy

CHICAGO – Vern started his career as one of those snarky critics who wrote in to Harry Knowles’ landmark and influential movie website Ain’t It Cool News. He became a regular writer for the site and his work there turned him into a very unorthodox author. His first book was a fantastic examination of, believe it or not, the career of Steven Seagal. Newly updated with a dozen new chapters about the recent adventures of his subject matter (the first printing was in 2008), “Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal” is a funny, clever read for fans of the unusual action star and those who have never seen one of his movies. Vern’s movie-loving, smart, enjoyable writing makes this a more entertaining experience than Seagal himself has ever produced.

Book Review: ‘Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion,’ ‘Cabin in the Woods: Official Visual Companion’

CHICAGO – Yes, this critic adores Joss Whedon. What a surprise, right? With the upcoming release of his highly-anticipated take on “The Avengers” and the recent critical love for “The Cabin in the Woods” (which he co-wrote with Drew Goddard), there seems to be a recent reappreciation of the man who gave the world “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” “Firefly,” “Dollhouse,” and much more.

Book Review: Unofficial Cookbooks For ‘The Hunger Games,’ ‘Game of Thrones’ For Hardcore Fans

CHICAGO – You can tell when a property has reached beyond mere fad to true phenomenon based on the amount of related merchandising, official and otherwise. There have been a growing number of products related to the hit HBO show (and beloved George R.R. Martin books) “Game of Thrones,” including shirts, mugs, and even an upcoming video game.

Book Review: ‘Tales From Development Hell: The Greatest Movies Never Made?’

CHICAGO – There’s some incredible alternate universe in which Darren Aronofsky directed “Batman: Year One,” John Boorman made “The Lord of the Rings” (with The Beatles!!!), James Cameron filmed “Fantastic Voyage,” and Frank Darabont wrote the fourth “Indiana Jones” movie.

Book Review: Dennis Lehane Returns With Sizzling ‘Moonlight Mile’

Moonlight Mile

CHICAGO – Dennis Lehane remains one of our better fiction writers with some of his best-known material being turned into highly-acclaimed films including “Mystic River,” “Gone Baby Gone,” and “Shutter Island.” He returns to his two most beloved characters — Angie Gennaro and Patrick Kenzie — those played by Michelle Monaghan and Casey Affleck in the film version of “GBG” to craft a direct sequel to that novel, “Moonlight Mile,” a reminder of how efficient Lehane can be when it comes to breakneck thriller pacing but a bit of a letdown if it truly is the final book with these memorable detectives.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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