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Film Review: ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ Breaks No New Ground

CHICAGO – When the first “Sin City” (2005) was released – based on the graphic novels by Frank Miller – the conversion of a film to a noir-like comic book atmosphere was pioneering. The sequel “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” has heightened that look, but this time has much less to say.

Blu-ray Review: Features-Packed Edition of ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

CHICAGO – “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” may have been overly slammed by critics but audiences definitely liked the film, pushing it to over $370 million worldwide, more than 20% more than its predecessor (even if the domestic total for the sequel was less than the first film). Paramount has put together a solid release for the film, including over an hour of behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, a commentary track, and a great transfer. It’s what one wants from a major theatrical Blu-ray.

Film Review: Despite Flopping as a Comic Book Movie, ‘Red 2’ Coasts By with Well-Written Characters

CHICAGO – If you didn’t see the DC Entertainment splash screen when this “Red 2” sequel kicks off with the fake death of one of its usual suspects, you wouldn’t mind that the rest of the film feels nothing like a comic book movie except for its animated transitions between scenes.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Passes to ‘Red 2’ With Bruce Willis, John Malkovich

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated sequel “Red 2” starring Bruce Willis!

Blu-ray Review: ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ May Kill Off Franchise

A Good Day to Die Hard Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy can’t be blamed for the deteriorating state of modern action films any more than Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” can be held accountable for commercializing American cinema. Yet the spectacular box office performance of Nolan’s terrific series has naturally caused studios to misinterpret the root of their success.

Film Review: ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ Almost Turns Macho Stupidity Into Art

CHICAGO – “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” is the kind of dumb summer action blockbuster that works in the season when the kids aren’t in school and the movie theater is used as an excuse to get in the air conditioning as much as see anything approaching filmmaking. It nearly works in March. Nearly.

Blu-ray Review: Bruce Willis, Rebecca Hall in Dull ‘Lay the Favorite’

Lay the Favorite

CHICAGO – Every once in a Hollywood while, a true head-scratcher comes along. How on Earth did this movie, with this many talented people involved, end up so boring? If you told me that Stephen Frears (“The Grifters,” “The Queen”) was re-teaming with his “High Fidelity” scribe D.V. DeVincentis on a dramedy with the great Rebecca Hall and Bruce Willis, I would probably put that flick on a highly-anticipated list.

Film Review: ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ Makes For Bad Movie Night

CHICAGO – The franchise has been in steady decline since the original “Die Hard,” quite simply one of the best action films of all time, but that still doesn’t prepare one for the truly horrendous “A Good to Day to Die Hard,” a complete waste of time on every level.

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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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