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Bryce Dallas Howard

Film Review: More Than a Popcorn Flick, ‘Jurassic World’ Makes a Climactic Comeback Worth Making

CHICAGO – Blockbuster films are obsessed with bigger, louder and faster. They often think they need to spend more money to outdo what they’ve done before – especially when coming from a beloved original like “Jurassic Park”.

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.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • [Trans]formation

    CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.

  • Life Sucks

    CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”

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