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Blu-ray Review: Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Great ‘50/50’

50/50

CHICAGO – There’s some wonderful alternate universe where the excellent “50/50” received the Oscar recognition it deserved last week and it at LEAST notched a Best Original Screenplay nomination while the performances by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anna Kendrick, and Anjelica Huston were considered for their categories. Then again, in that universe at least half the Oscar nominations were different and at least one of the Best Picture nominees was never made. The point is that Jonathan Levine’s daring cancer comedy got screwed. Catch up with it on Blu-ray or DVD and see if you agree.

Blu-ray Review: Beloved ‘The Help’ With Viola Davis, Emma Stone

The Help

CHICAGO – “The Help” has been one of the most divisive movies of 2011. I know some critics who absolutely loathe it, finding the easy-to-digest version of something as important as civil rights to be offensive. I get that. I know some critics who love it, finding the performances strong enough to carry the movie over any sentimental rough patches. I get that too. The movie is too much of a phenomenon for any self-respecting cinema buff to miss it entirely. So, as much as I’d love to offer a solid thumbs up or down, I’m falling pretty squarely in the middle, edging just barely to a recommendation, but you need to see it for yourself just to see on which side of the controversial fence you fall.

Film Review: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen in Moving ‘50/50’

CHICAGO – Jonathan Levine’s “50/50” is a daring blend of buddy comedy, light romance, family drama, and, oh yeah, cancer movie. The tightrope act of a script by Will Reiser is elevated in remarkable ways by one of the best ensembles of the year, led ably by the great Joseph Gordon-Levitt, doing career-best, Oscar nomination-worthy work.

Interview: Seth Rogen, Will Reiser Bet on Cancer Comedy ‘50/50’

CHICAGO – “A cancer comedy”. It had to be a tough sell. How do you sell a buddy movie in which one of them is probably going to die from the big C? It was a risky proposition. And yet the chorus of acclaim for “50/50” proves that Seth Rogen was right to convince his buddy Will Reiser to turn his true story into a fictional comedy.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Chicago Passes to ‘50/50’ With Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen

50/50 with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen

CHICAGO – In our latest comedy/drama edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 40 admit-two passes up for grabs to the advance Chicago screening of the new film “50/50” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick!

Film Review: Emma Stone, Viola Davis Lend a Hand to ‘The Help’

CHICAGO – Using fiction to express the importance of real historical events is seductive and sometimes disingenuous. The new film “The Help” manages to counteract that notion through high level, emotional performances.

Interviews: ‘The Help’ Director Tate Taylor, Star Octavia Spencer

CHICAGO – The search for the right actress to portray the pivotal role of Minny in the new film “The Help” ended with Octavia Spencer. The veteran performer was key in expressing the particulars of the character, which was enhanced by director Tate Taylor.

Interview: Emma Stone on Career-Expanding ‘The Help’

CHICAGO – Emma Stone has had a meteoric rise in her film career in four short years. From impressing with her 2007 film debut in “Superbad,” she has moved rapidly through “Zombieland,” “Easy A” and is coming up as Skeeter Phelan in “The Help.”

Blu-Ray Review: Clint Eastwood’s ‘Hereafter’ Deserves Wider Audience

Hereafter

CHICAGO – Every once in awhile the question arises as to which films that were reviewed poorly today will be reappraised in future years as much-better than their first reviews suggested. We always read about movies now considered classics that were underappreciated when they were released and wonder what the equivalent movies will be from today. Let me submit Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter,” recently on DVD and Blu-ray, as a likely candidate.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’ Delivers For Franchise Fans

CHICAGO – One of the biggest films of 2010, “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” comes home to Blu-ray and DVD this weekend and the release is a surprisingly-complete set for the best film yet in the blockbuster franchise.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kingpin Blu-ray

    CHICAGO – Before 1998’s “The Big Lebowski” there was 1996’s “Kingpin”, the Farrelly brothers bowling comedy that didn’t have the narrative intricacies of the Coen brothers’ classic, but had plenty of jokes about middle-aged men playing the sport. Today finds the release of “Kingpin” to Blu-ray for the first time, coming with only one new special feature.

  • Star Trek Into Darkness

    CHICAGO – With J.J. Abrams not involved with the creation of a third “Star Trek” movie, a compendium of his work within the franchise only seems fitting. Loaded with special features but only a few new ones, this disc set is a strong choice for those who don’t already have both entertaining blockbusters in their collection.

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