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Connie Britton

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).

DVD, TV Review: Final Season of NBC’s Beloved ‘Friday Night Lights’

Friday Night Lights 5

CHICAGO – Even diehard fans of the show have to be stunned that “Friday Night Lights” made it five seasons. And perhaps the program’s most enduring legacy will be that it changes the delivery model. The fifth and final season has already aired on DirecTV’s 101 and starts playing tonight, April 15th, 2011 on NBC, but is also already available on DVD. Yes, the shows haven’t even aired on network TV but they’re already at the DVD store. Times are changing.

DVD Review: Critical Darling ‘Friday Night Lights’ With Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton

CHICAGO – The saga of “Friday Night Lights,” the fourth season of which is now available on DVD, is not unlike that of an underestimated football player who most people thought wouldn’t make the team despite his obvious talent but who proved everyone wrong by changing the rules of the game.

TV Review: ‘Friday Night Lights’ Continues Stellar Storytelling

Friday Night Lights

CHICAGO – Why has a seemingly ordinary tale of an oil patch town in Texas and their high school football obsession conquered books, film and television? Because the folks telling the story continue a tradition of beautiful, significant truth.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kingpin Blu-ray

    CHICAGO – Before 1998’s “The Big Lebowski” there was 1996’s “Kingpin”, the Farrelly brothers bowling comedy that didn’t have the narrative intricacies of the Coen brothers’ classic, but had plenty of jokes about middle-aged men playing the sport. Today finds the release of “Kingpin” to Blu-ray for the first time, coming with only one new special feature.

  • Star Trek Into Darkness

    CHICAGO – With J.J. Abrams not involved with the creation of a third “Star Trek” movie, a compendium of his work within the franchise only seems fitting. Loaded with special features but only a few new ones, this disc set is a strong choice for those who don’t already have both entertaining blockbusters in their collection.

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