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Film Review: Matthew McConaughey is All That Glitters in ‘Gold’

CHICAGO – The relish that Matthew McConaughey displays in creating his latest character in “Gold,” a Willy Loman-type mining exec who is looking for his biggest score, is most of the reason to experience the film. However, there isn’t exactly a motherlode when it comes to the story.

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.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Downward Dog

    CHICAGO – From “Mr. Ed” to “Dog with a Blog,” talking animals have had their place on TV. The latest has origins as a web series, with the clever title “Downward Dog.” The show premieres on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 (9:30pEST/8:30pCST), on ABC TV, and features Ned the Dog as Martin, and human companions portrayed by Allison Tolman and Lucas Neff.

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.

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