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Connie Britton

Film Review: Ever-Present Passion in ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’

CHICAGO – There are feelings encoded in a film, imparted by the creators, which sometimes takes a while to become apparent. “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” is an example, with a deceptive surface story that contains an ocean of feelings and emotions within its passionate core.

Interview: Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon of ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Director

CHICAGO – In my second meeting with director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, I was struck by his almost child-like wonder regarding his breakout film, “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.” Gomez-Rejon bleeds celluloid, and loves films in every fiber of his being. To be able to contribute to the cinema universe is his greatest reward.

Interview: Three Young Actors Are ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’

CHICAGO – Every so often, a movie makes a huge splash in the ocean of releases, and “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” is a prime example. Both the jury winner and the audience favorite at the Sundance Film Festival, the film features Thomas Mann (Me), RJ Cyler (Earl) and Olivia Cooke (Dying Girl) as the title characters.

Film Review: Unoriginal, Unfunny ‘This is Where I Leave You’ a Poor Man’s ‘August: Osage County’

CHICAGO – Jason Bateman and an all-star cast got me there. The unfunny copycat story left me regretting it. If you don’t start with a solid plot that’s at least somewhat new, it doesn’t matter how many “A”-listers you throw into an ensemble. They’re just individuals doing the best they can with weak material.

TV Review: Connie Britton Carries a Dramatic Tune to ‘Nashville’

Nashville

CHICAGO – It seems unlikely to be the artistic accomplishment of “Friday Night Lights” or “American Horror Story,” but Connie Britton has done it again, bringing another character vibrantly to life on “Nashville” and cementing her position as one of the best actresses on television. She’s easily the best thing about this entertaining if inconsistent show, a program that too often submits to its soap opera trappings but has enough rhythm to presume that it could be a solid weekly diversion.

Blu-ray Review: ‘American Horror Story: The Complete First Season’

American Horror Story

CHICAGOFX’s “American Horror Story” was one of the most addictive programs of 2011 (and my choice for the 7th best) and that season is finally here in time to catch up before the October 17th premiere of the second season of Ryan Murphy’s Emmy-winning hit. So creative, so edgy, and so mesmerizing, “AHS” is just daring storytelling, further evidence that FX is giving talented people freedom to express themselves in ways that other networks just are not.

Film Review: ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’ with Steve Carell Can’t Find Honest Emotion

CHICAGO – Lorene Scafaria’s “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” is a manipulative mess that’s only slightly redeemed by yet-another engaging performance from one of the best actresses of her generation.

TV Review: FX’s ‘American Horror Story’ Mixes Sex With Supernatural

CHICAGO – Ryan Murphy (“Nip/Tuck,” “Glee”) returns to the network that turned him into a star with this week’s premiere of the highly-anticipated “American Horror Story,” a new FX series that mixes sex with the supernatural to create something truly unique. The show’s very existence feels like it could be inspired by HBO’s “True Blood” (another show with horror and sex).

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • [Trans]formation

    CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.

  • Life Sucks

    CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”

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