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DVD Review: Frustrating USA Mini-Series ‘Political Animals’

Political Animals

CHICAGOUSA’s mini-series “Political Animals” should have been one of the TV events of 2012. Instead it was just one of its biggest disappointments. That cast! That subject! In a political, election season! Zzzzzzz. Sadly, the creators of “Political Animals” delivered a program more like “Dallas” than “The West Wing” and viewers tuned out to the degree that the potential second season was canned. Now we can see what went wrong in one lackluster DVD set.

TV Review: HBO Returns to Dark World of Beloved ‘Game of Thrones’

CHICAGO – Millions of viewers will return this week to a land of dragons, swords, magic, and characters that are difficult to tell apart when HBO’s “Game of Thrones” premieres its third season tonight, March 31, 2013 at 8pm CST. What is it about “Game of Thrones” that has engendered such incredible loyalty?

TV Review: Sigourney Weaver Carries USA’s Disappointing ‘Political Animals’

CHICAGO – I’m a political junkie who naturally loves to follow the world of journalism as well and so I was psyched about the premiere of USA’s mini-series, “Political Animals,” a star-studded affair about how a powerful Washington family deals with a headstrong reporter and the secrets they still hope to keep.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’ is Stupid Mess

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

CHICAGO – Ghost Rider should be a character who makes such an easy transition from comic book page to silver screen that it makes the failure of the two “Ghost Rider” films — the second of which, “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” was just been released on Blu-ray and DVD — that much more baffling. While the first film was deeply troubled, the second is just deeply stupid, missing most of the potential for B-movie greatness in favor of dull plotting, boring action, stiff performances, and total nonsense.

Blu-ray Review: ‘John Carter’ Doesn’t Deserve Punchline Status But Does Miss Its Mark

John Carter with Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins

CHICAGO – I approached “John Carter” on Blu-ray expecting to fall strongly on either side of the debate surrounding one of the biggest bombs of 2012. The cyclical nature of entertainment journalism means everything that faces as much critical derision as “Carter” did when it hit theaters is likely to get a camp of loyal devotees before long and I had heard from several people that Andrew Stanton’s film wasn’t actually all that bad. It’s not. But it’s not good either. It’s just there. There are elements that work, for sure, but the thin storytelling and characters for whom it’s simply impossible to care about make it more lackluster than anything else.

Blu-ray Review: Sleepy Thriller ‘The Woman in Black’ Miscasts Daniel Radcliffe

The Woman in Black Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Nothing jars an audience quite like the sudden appearance of a fearsome apparition in a dimly lit room. Even hokey thrillers like William Castle’s “House on Haunted Hill” still manage to make viewers jump from their seats by using this reliable horror standby. “The Woman in Black” has one such moment, but it is surrounded by a murky sea of grim tedium.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ with Gary Oldman

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy with Gary Oldman

CHICAGO – Gary Oldman scored his first Oscar nomination for his incredible, subtle work in Tomas Alfredson’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. The film is ultimately a bit too cold and clinical for this viewer but it features enough amazing parts, including Oldman’s performance and incredible production design, that the lack of a more-impressive sum shouldn’t hold you back.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 5 Blu-Ray, DVD Combo Packs to Gary Oldman’s ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’

CHICAGO – In our latest spy/mystery edition of the HollywoodChicago.com Hookup, we have 5 Blu-ray and DVD combo packs up for grabs to the highly anticipated home entertainment release of “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Tom Hardy!

Film Review: ‘John Carter’ is Poor Man’s ‘Star Wars’ With Kitschy Taylor Kitsch, Soft-Porn Lynn Collins

CHICAGO – Usually it’s critics critically flogging a film when we say it weakly lacks originality and borrows too heavily from others. Disney’s “John Carter” attacks that classic grumble by promotionally comparing itself to “Star Wars” and “Avatar” before critics even had a chance to deduct points for it.

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  • Bad Words

    Looming over “Bad Words” is the potential it could have had, as is, were it released ten years ago. With its focus of R-rated behavior poking at the projected innocence of children, along with the couple of chromosomes that keep Bateman’s Trilby from being a Vince Vaughn character, this movie is certainly a product of the comedies that have sculpted out the manchild story in the past decade.

  • Winter's Tale

    The theatrical poster for “Winter’s Tale,” after promising that “It’s not a true story, it’s a love story,” made a large demand from its viewers at the bottom: “This Valentine’s Day, Believe In Miracles.” While there is indeed a difference between filmmaking and marketing, it is hard to not imagine writer/director Akiva Goldsman whispering “believe in miracles” into the ear of every executive who helped “Winter’s Tale” come to life, immediately after throwing glitter on them.

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