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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.”

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Works Better in HD Than in Theaters

CHICAGO – Can we end this 48fps nonsense now? Having seen “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” in 3D/48fps, I found the film artificial and boring. At home, in traditional, flat HD, the movie works so much better.

Film News: First Look at ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

The Hobbit Poster

CHICAGO — Warner Bros. Pictures geared up for the release of Peter Jackson’s upcoming epic “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” by screening 10 minutes of never-before-seen footage at CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) according to a studio press release. Ian McKellan, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom and Elijah Wood return to reprise their roles as seen in the trilogy “The Lord of the Rings”, the sequel to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”.

Blu-Ray Review: Saoirse Ronan Stars in Riveting ‘Hanna’

Hanna

CHICAGO – Given its lack of star power, Joe Wright’s “Hanna” was a surprisingly effective box office story, bringing in over $60 million worldwide on a budget half as big. And it’s likely to find an even-bigger audience on Blu-ray as action movies with this high a level of quality always do. With an A-list cast and incredible production values, “Hanna” is a speeding train. Don’t rent it for a “nice, relaxing evening.” Rent it and strap in.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • King and I, The

    CHICAGO – The venerable musical “The King and I,” by the legendary team of (Richard) Rodgers and (Oscar) Hammerstein, is now 65 years old. The Lyric Opera of Chicago is injecting fresh life into this senior aged play, with a sumptuous new production that is top drawer at every level.

  • New Country

    CHICAGO – The Country Music industry has become as huge as any category of music entertainment. So Mark Roberts, the creator of the TV sitcom “Mike & Molly,” has fashioned a boisterous new play about the machinations of that genre of music industry, and gave it the plaintive title of “New Country.”

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