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Blu-ray Review: James Brown Biopic ‘Get on Up’ Has No Soul

Get On Up

CHICAGO – When people yawn about the dullness of movies based on life stories, they are certainly referring to films like “Get On Up,” an absurdly uninteresting portrait of a key figure of music, or so this movie claims. From the “The Help’s” vanilla visionary Tate Taylor, this 140-minute ode to James Brown is a half-assed argument about his nonpareil greatness, and full evidence that the biopic may be the weakest genre in film.

Film Review: James Brown Bio ‘Get On Up’ Stuck in a Funk

Get On Up

CHICAGO – “Get On Up” contains one dynamite performance trapped in a frustratingly mediocre movie. James Brown’s life and music offer a wealth of material to work with, that doesn’t necessarily adhere to the conventions of a formulaic musical biopic.

Film Review: ‘Draft Day’ is Daft, Except as an NFL Infomercial

CHICAGO – Kevin Costner has defined a career in sports themed movies. From the Iowa farmer building a baseball diamond in “Field of Dreams,” to “Bull Durham,” to “For the Love of the Game,” he exemplified game day heroics. Yet being an NFL executive in “Draft Day” isn’t quite as exciting.

Blu-ray Review: Emotional ‘42’ Has Power But Lacks Depth


CHICAGO – “World’s not so simple any more. Guess it never was.” I wish “42” wasn’t so simple either. Because the story of the amazing accomplishments of Jackie Robinson sure were anything but simple. He was not only chosen to be the man who would break the color barrier but he was asked to do so peacefully, never displaying the anger that 99 out of 100 men would in the same situation.

Film Review: ‘42’ Celebrates Jackie Robinson, the Promise of America

CHICAGO – It took baseball, that noble sport, to recognize in 1947 what the universe had dictated since day one – all persons are equal and all deserve an equal chance. Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to break the “color line” in baseball, and the story of that achievement is magnificently told in “42.”

TV Review: NBC Mystery Series ‘Persons Unknown’ is Worth Meeting

CHICAGO – Written by the man who gave the world Keyser Soze in his Oscar-winning script for “The Usual Suspects,” NBC’s “Persons Unknown” is a summer mystery mini-series not unlike last year’s “Harper’s Island” or a mini-“Lost” in that the team behind it want people talking about the questions of the show over summer barbecues.

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  • Punk Punk

    CHICAGO – For theater that is audaciously in-the-now and generates a sparkle of life, there are few better storefront (garage, gothic gathering place) groups than “Nothing Without a Company.” Their latest, eclectic kick-in-the-head production is the intensely diverting and weirdly fun “Punk Punk.”

  • Assassination Theater

    CHICAGO – There are two dates in modern American History that ring in the heads of certain generations. Of course, there is September 11th, 2001, but the granddaddy of that date is November 22nd, 1963. That is when an American president, John F. Kennedy, was shot point blank in the head and killed on the street of an American city. The official proclamation from the government is that a lone assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, fired those shots. In a new Chicago play, “Assassination Theater,” subtitled “Chicago’s Role in the Crime of the Century,” the jury is still decidedly out.


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