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Film Review: ‘Doctor Strange’ is Odd Enough to be Enchanting

CHICAGO – We’ve reached a point where comic book films are no longer a scarcity, but an eventuality. With several coming out every year, each one competes for our attention even though the originality behind their approach has the opposite effect. A great cinematic fatigue is almost upon us, but “Doctor Strange” shows a promising deviation that could possibly alter the franchise’s fate.

Film Review: Entertaining ‘The Martian’ is a Hollywood Space Opera

CHICAGO – It’s all based on science, they told us! “The Martian” is an old fashion feel-good movie about the hard working astronauts and scientists of the good old American space program, trying to rescue a stranded spaceman from Mars, aided by a brave cast of astro-colleagues.

Blu-ray Review: Steven Spielberg’s Progressive Slave Drama ‘Amistad’

Amistad

CHICAGO – Before Hollywood grappled with the unforgiving intensity of “12 Years a Slave,” they championed Steven Spielberg’s powerful film “Amistad,” years earlier, now available for the first time on Blu-ray. Densely comparing the movies is a difficult task considering their different perspectives, but they do stand as interesting bookends with how Hollywood has dealt with the American atrocity of slavery in their films.

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.

Film Feature: The Best Lead Performances of 2013

A fictional folk singer who feels real, a real moneymaker who feels fictional, a young woman dealing with her own wounds by helping to heal those of others, and a student discovering her sexuality through the first passionate relationship of her life — 2013 was one of the best years for lead performances in decades.

Film Review: Relentless Artistry of ‘12 Years a Slave’

CHICAGO – A man is chained to the floor in a dark, barren room. He has been ripped from his family and his freedom, and we watch as he’s whipped with amazing brutality. It goes on well past the point that most films with similar human suffering would have cut to a less stressful image.

TV Review: David Mamet’s ‘Phil Spector’ with Al Pacino, Helen Mirren

CHICAGO – With the larger-than-life acting tics that have invaded most of Al Pacino’s performances in the last twenty years, it seemed inevitable that the actor was the only person who could possibly play a notable loon like Phil Spector. In tonight’s HBO movie named after the legendary producer, Pacino chews the scenery as one would expect but it’s Helen Mirren who steals the piece from the Oscar winner.

Film Review: ‘Salt’ With Angelina Jolie Suffers From Lack of Flavor

CHICAGO – Perhaps the creators of “Salt” took the potential double meaning of its title a bit too seriously because the film has been overloaded with one flavor at the expense of the variety that could have turned this well-done action movie into something a bit more memorable.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 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.

  • Cher Show, The

    CHICAGO – Has anybody in show business had more “comebacks” than Cher… or if you added her many last names Cher Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman? All of the triumphs and downturns are shoehorned into “The Cher Show,” now in Chicago in a pre-Broadway run through July 15, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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