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Blu-ray Review: Fantastic Release for Timeless Classic ‘Chinatown’

Chinatown

CHICAGO – There are a few movies that I absolutely adore — the ones that come to mind when people ask me what I think are the best films ever made. More often than not, they are the films that first shaped the way I look at cinema when I first moved past the New Releases section at the video store to the classics of the medium. One such film is Roman Polanski’s stunning “Chinatown,” a film that has lost absolutely none of its timeless power in its recently-released Blu-ray restoration complete with new special features and interviews. It may sound cliched, but “Chinatown,” especially in HD, really looks like it could have come out last year. And it would have been the year’s best movie.

Blu-Ray Review: Excellent ‘Win Win’ With Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan

Win Win

CHICAGO – The best film of the first quarter of 2011 was a sublime little gem from the great Thomas McCarthy (“The Station Agent,” “The Visitor”) called “Win Win.” The clever, character-driven dramedy with Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan was recently-released on Blu-ray and DVD, and it deserves to find (and very likely will with word-of-mouth) a loyal audience on the home market. This is a great movie.

Film Review: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan Rock in Fantastic ‘Win Win’

CHICAGO – Writer/Director Thomas McCarthy makes films with that very unique attribute in which the characters completely feel like they exist before the opening scene and after the credits roll. As he did in “The Station Agent” and “The Visitor,” he has told another unique story that is both moving and also believable at the same time, an increasingly-rare combination. “Win Win” is the first great film of 2011.

Interview: Thomas McCarthy Goes to the Mat With ‘Win Win’

CHICAGO – Writer/director Thomas McCarthy has helmed three motion pictures and already shot to the top of most lists of the best directors working today. He finds the truth in unusual situations like the trio of friends in “The Station Agent” or the unexpected romance of “The Visitor.”

Blu-Ray Review: Classic ‘Once Upon a Time in America’ With Robert De Niro

Once Upon a Time in America

CHICAGO – The entertainment machine often turns in an unusual way that allows for a wave of material featuring the same star in the same month. Just as Robert De Niro was preparing his odd speech for the Golden Globe Awards, two of his most beloved films were being released on Blu-ray in “Raging Bull” and “Once Upon a Time in America,” while one of his 2010 works in “Stone” was about to hit the market as well. January 2011 is De Niro month. Sadly, while the “Raging Bull” Blu-ray is a gorgeous must-own, “Once Upon a Time in America” is merely satisfactory. The film is still strong but the release is nothing special.

Blu-Ray Review: Rocky Balboa Fights His Way to ‘Undisputed Collection’

Rocky Collection

CHICAGO – There are very few characters as iconic as Rocky Balboa. A few images, sound bites, or even just a few notes of a song and audiences of the right age are transported back to the first time they saw the Best Picture-winning “Rocky,” the film that made Sylvester Stallone a star over three decades ago. That beloved sports film and the five sequels that followed have been collected on Blu-Ray for the first time in “Rocky: The Undisputed Collection”.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Everybody, Brown Paper Box Co

    CHICAGO – When is the last time a stage play, based in an intimate setting, made you think about your life, death, and the destiny inherent in both? “Everybody,” staged by Brown Paper Box Co. (BPBCo), is such a play, and the energetic aura and sense of surprise that the show contains is soul soothing wonder. The show has various evening/matinee performances at the Pride Arts Center in Chicago run through August 12, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Not One Batu

    CHICAGO – The State of Hawaii may be one of the most misunderstood in America. Because of its reputation as a tourist mecca, the fact that native peoples live and work there like any other place is hard to imagine. Also unimaginable is the drug use of island residents, but playwright and Hawaiian native Hannah li-Epstein wrote about it in her stage play “Not One Batu,” now in its Premiere Chicago run at the Berger Park Coach House through July 28th, 2018. For more information, including tickets, click here.

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