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Film Review: ‘The Book of Life’ Has Uninspired Tale to Tell

CHICAGO – Unfortunately you can’t judge “The Book Of Life” by its cover. The movie draws on the fertile imagery of the Mexican “Day Of The Dead” to create its own animated world. The animation is excellent and the wooden characters seem to spring to life – but those performances are as wooden as a board.

TV Review: Cultures Clash in CBS’s Mediocre Comedy ‘Rob!’

CHICAGO – After an absolute train wreck like ABC’s “Work It” and something that comes close to disaster in NBC’s “Are You There, Chelsea,” there’s something nearly-satisfying about a mediocre sitcom like “Rob!”

Film Review: Following a Perfect 1994 Release, ‘The Lion King 3D’ a Money-Hungry, Manipulative Exploitation

CHICAGO – While “The Lion King” is one of the best Disney movies of all time, “The Lion King 3D” is a manipulative exploitation to bring paying parents back with their kids merely through the sexiness of today’s 3D fad.

Blu-Ray Review: Catch Up With ‘Spy Kids’ Trilogy in HD Before Upcoming Sequel

Spy Kids

CHICAGO – Before you spend your hard-earned cash taking the entire family to see “Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World,” you might as well catch up with the original “trilogy,” the very-popular series of films that most of us assumed were the end of this mediocre franchise. Don’t get me wrong — the first “Spy Kids” is actually a very fun movie and totally worth owning for Blu-ray buyers with kids of the right age but the two sequels are mediocre and annoying, respectively. Still, kids like to have complete collections and all of the films are hitting Blu-ray this week extras-packed HD editions with digital copies. Now you can take these precocious mini-Bonds anywhere.

Blu-Ray Review: Robert Rodriguez’s ‘Machete’ With Jessica Alba, Robert De Niro

Machete

CHICAGO – “Machete” may be one of the most wonderfully-conceived films of 2010. The idea that one of the fake trailers from “Grindhouse” could ever become a full-length film is a movie lover’s dream come true (and it’s so ironic that “Machete” grossed more domestically than the movie that spawned it). While I love the very existence of “Machete,” the movie itself is something of a disappointment, and it’s not helped by a mediocre Blu-ray that barely has any special features.

Film Review: Robert Rodriguez’s ‘Machete’ Pushes Excess Past Breaking Point

CHICAGO – Not everything should be filet mignon. Sometimes you just want a greasy, delicious cheeseburger. Now imagine eating ten of those cheeseburgers in a row.

‘The Perfect Game’ Proves That Baseball Fiction is Duller Than Truth

The Perfect Game

CHICAGO – The 1957 Little League team from Monterrey, Mexico, was the first non-U.S. team to win that league’s World Series. That is a fact. “The Perfect Game” creates a story based on that fact that is as improbable as a team from Mars winning the big game.

DVD Review: Disney Quietly Releases Underrated ‘Oliver and Company’

Oliver and Company
HollywoodChicago.com DVD Rating: 3.5/5.0
DVD Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Maybe it’s because I was still young when it came out, but it seems like “Oliver and Company” has been unjustly forgotten by the Disney machine and family audiences in general. The 20th anniversary edition, newly released on DVD, might bring this lost comedy to a new audience.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

  • They're Playing Our Song

    CHICAGO – During the late disco era of the 1970s, an unusual musical opened on Broadway. Essentially a two person stage play, “They’re Playing Our Song” involved a songwriter and a lyricist who develop a stronger connection than just writing partners. The always passionate Brown Paper Box Co. of Chicago has unearthed this chestnut with a bright and fun revival at the Rivendell Theatre through August 20th, 2017.

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