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Cate Blanchett

Interview: Djimon Hounsou is Vocal in ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’

CHICAGO – Character actor Djimon Hounsou (Jee-mahn Hahn-soo) is memorable in any role he takes on – whether it’s working with Steven Spielberg in “Amistad,” or being so indelibly subtle for “In America.” Hounsou has also forged a true character in his voiceover work as Drago Bludvist in “How to Train Your Dragon 2.”

Film Review: Heroic, Visually Bold ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’

CHICAGO – “How to Train Your Dragon 2” is spectacular in 3D, the filmmakers actually geared the film to enhance that much maligned vision. It also features a warm and heroic story about the coming-of-age for the character Hiccup, and his now fully trained dragon, Toothless.

Exclusive Portrait: Best Actress Oscar Winner Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett, photo by Joe Arce.

CHICAGO – Congratulations to Cate Blanchett as she picks up her second Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards on March 2nd, this time as Best Actress for her brilliant performance in the film “Blue Jasmine.” Blanchett adds the trophy next to the Oscar she won as Best Supporting Actress in 2005 for portraying Katharine Hepburn in “The Aviator.”

Film News: ‘12 Years a Slave’ is Best Picture at 2014 Oscars

CHICAGO – Hollywood celebrated its big night at the 86th Academy Awards, and the biggest news was the selfie photo that apparently broke Twitter. The stark film “12 Years a Slave” won Best Picture, and Ellen DeGeneres took the celebrity group selfie that immediately was Tweeted around the world, overloading the popular website.

Film Review: ‘The Monuments Men’ Has Been Drained of Personality

George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men” is processed cheese. It is a film that has been rewritten, edited, and refined until it has lost all sense of purpose or identity. There’s no flavor left. It is a film that defies genre; not quirky enough to have a comedic personality despite a cast that almost always supplies edge and not engaging enough to work as drama or thriller.

Film News: ‘12 Years a Slave,’ ‘American Hustle’ Poised to Win Golden Globes

American Hustle

The Golden Globes will be presented this Sunday, January 12, 2014, and the experts are busy picking their favorites to grace the stage when the winners are announced. Pitched as a more party-like atmosphere than the Oscars, and hosted by the hilarious Tina Fey & Amy Poehler, the Golden Globes have become more difficult to predict than most awards shows, in no small part because they give away SO many awards, breaking up film into drama & comedy and doing TV as well.

Film News: ‘12 Years a Slave’ Leads 2013 Chicago Film Critics Winners

Steve McQueen’s harrowing “12 Years a Slave” was the big winner at an awards dinner held on December 16, 2013 by the Chicago Film Critics Association, of which HollywoodChicago.com writer Brian Tallerico is the Vice President and HC film critics Adam Fendelman & Patrick McDonald are voting members.

Blu-ray Review: Lavish Extended Edition of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey

CHICAGO – I had notable problems with “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” when it premiered in theaters but they were softened a bit when I saw it on Blu-ray and not in 3D nor 48 frames per second, two effects that I believe actually hurt the world designed by Peter Jackson in these films in that they make it look less artistic and faker than the standard HD image. Now I’m here to flop back again to the disappointed side with the extended edition of the film, one that runs WAY too long for a flick that was already too short.

Film Review: ‘Blue Jasmine’ Puts Woody Allen Back on Top

CHICAGO – The auteur Woody Allen is one of the most prolific post-studio-system directors, averaging one film a year for close to 40 years. His meditations on life have become part of the culture, and he brilliantly expresses himself once again – with help from Cate Blachett – in the emotional “Blue Jasmine.”

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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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