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Film Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ a Gleeful Space Romp

Guardians of the Galaxy

CHICAGO – “Guardians Of The Galaxy” is a gleeful Star Wars knockoff dressed up in Marvel Comics clothing. It occupies the same universe as Marvel’s other properties, but its tone is decidedly sillier. It has a spirit more akin to the later joke heavy installments of the Star Trek franchise or low budget exploitation mogul Roger Corman’s “Battle Beyond The Stars” than the ponderous pontificating of “Thor.”

What to Watch: Mar. 11-24, 2014

American Hustle

An Oscar winner, a major Oscar nominee, two more pieces of Oscar bait, and a few movies that never got anywhere near Oscar. Welcome to What to Watch. We don’t play favorites. Oh, wait, yes we do. You should definitely rent or buy the titles on this first page. The second page is more optional.

Film Review: Great Performances Drive Entertaining ‘American Hustle’

As career con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) introduces newly-undercover FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) to his world of criminal enterprise, he shows him a Rembrandt painting in a museum, revealing that it’s a fake. Millions of people have seen and admired it, not realizing that it’s not the original. Does it matter if they get the same artistic enjoyment out of it?

Film Review: Worse Than a Real One, ‘The Hangover Part III’

CHICAGO – With a lazy, over-plotted story, and a cast that are desperately going through the motions, “The Hangover Part III” is the latest example of a contract obligation disguising itself as a movie. Writer/director Todd Phillips sluggishly pounds out another one, with simply no originality.

Blu-ray Review: Oscar-Winning Crowd-Pleaser ‘Silver Linings Playbook’

Silver Linings Playbook

CHICAGO – They often say that a movie is written three times - on paper, on film, and in the editing bay. Look no further for this truth than the deleted scenes from “Silver Linings Playbook,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. While some of the scenes are fun and allow Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro more chances to shine, I would argue that all 26 minutes of them were correctly cut. If they hadn’t been, the movie’s not an Oscar winner.

Film Review: Crime, Fatherhood Intersect in ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’

CHICAGO – Derek Cianfrance’s masterful “The Place Beyond the Pines” is a complex, epic piece of storytelling about the ripple effect of crime through families and across generations. Drastic action does not exist in a vacuum. It influences generations below and those impacted by their parent’s decisions.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 30 Pairs of Passes to ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ With Ryan Gosling

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 30 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the highly recommended “The Place Beyond the Pines”!

Interview: Derek Cianfrance Sheds Light on ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’

CHICAGO – The first image that surfaced of Derek Cianfrance’s “The Place Beyond the Pines,” was that of a bleached blonde, tattooed Ryan Gosling seated on a motorcycle. For many viewers, that would be enough to earn their ticket, yet Cianfrance’s brooding epic is bound to give them far more than they bargained for. Some may feel betrayed, others will be hooked.

Blu-ray Review: Awful ‘Hit and Run’ Mistakes Shrill Pratfalls for Humor

Hit and Run Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell are an awfully cute couple. Their effortless puppy-dog chemistry is sweet without being cloying and endearing without verging into treacle. Resembling a more stretched-out and irreverent Zach Braff, Shepard makes Bell appear more at ease than she ever has before on film. I can’t imagine a better pairing for a romantic comedy.

Blu-ray Review: Unsatisfying ‘The Words’ Desperately Needed a Rewrite

The Words Blu-ray

CHICAGO – What sins can a man commit and manage to live with for the rest of his days? Can he enjoy the rewards of unearned praise and adoration? These provocative questions could easily serve as the basis for a compelling thriller, as proven by a multitude of titles including Woody Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors” and “Match Point.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Emmy Awards, Bryan Cranston

    LOS ANGELES – It was one more lap around the victory track for the AMC-TV show ‘Breakling Bad,’ as the gritty drama about a teacher turned meth dealer took home six Primetime Emmy Awards at the 66th ceremony on August 25th. ‘Modern Family’ took home the statue for Outstanding Comedy Series for a a fifth straight year.

  • Knick, The

    CHICAGO – Cinemax’s ominous new series “The Knick” is a hospital drama that’s very much in the voice of its director, Steven Soderbergh. Set in New York City at the turn of the 20th century, the series presents the medical world as it inches closer and closer to modernity, while making contemporary parallels to the desperate hustle by surgery room clients and their doctors alike regarding treatment of the human body. What has changed in the politics of medicine? What hasn’t?

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