CHICAGO – If you can remember the 1990s outside of childhood, you are in the glow of middle age, so congratulations. The Brown Paper Box Co. theater ensemble takes us back to those thrilling days of yesteryear with “Spike Heels,” a relationship comedy centering on the co-mingling antics of two couples, with a slight nod toward George Bernard Shaw and the play “Pygmalion” (or its musical counterpart, “My Fair Lady”).
Craig T. Nelson
CHICAGO – The NBC family drama “Parenthood” has struggled to find a wide audience but the people that do watch it are remarkably loyal to the saga of the Bravermans. Their third season, which looked for some time like it could be their last, was recently released on DVD in advance of the fourth-season premiere on NBC on September 11, 2012.
CHICAGO – There’s something comforting about a family like the Bravermans. It’s a blend of perspective and identification that allows us to look at the clan at the center of a family drama like “Parenthood”.
CHICAGO – John Wells has been one of the most important voices in television for the last two decades, shepherding “Third Watch,” “The West Wing,” “ER,” “Southland,” “Shameless,” and many more. It’s always hit-and-miss when a talent from one medium jumps to another and such is the case with “The Company Men,” starring Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones, Maria Bello, and Kevin Costner. The great cast keeps it together and Wells has a keen ear for dialogue but the film never develops beyond a timely character study.
CHICAGO – Pixar continued their line of excellent Blu-ray releases a couple of weeks ago by adding “The Incredibles” to their line. As new Pixar flicks have come out or hit Blu-ray, the company has usually reached into the vault to offer one of their past hits as a companion. With only one Pixar film left to be released in HD (“Finding Nemo”), your collection is nearly complete.
CHICAGO – Dealing with an overall economic downturn, as the world is still experiencing, becomes the story of the individual. The frustration and insecurity that develops in a long dry spell is poignantly rendered in writer/director John Well’s “The Company Men.” Ben Affleck joins Oscar winners Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper and Kevin Costner in telling the story.
CHICAGO – Like a lot of Hollywood depictions of family, “Parenthood” features a lot of yelling. For some reason, most writers think of raised voices when they think of the lives of parents and their children. We don’t all talk over each other during family dinners.
CHICAGO – Just as “My Best Friend’s Wedding” existed solely to provide Julia Roberts with a career comeback, “The Proposal” aimed to prove that Sandra Bullock still has what it takes to headline a romantic comedy. In that regard, it succeeded admirably.
CHICAGO – At some point in our lives, most of us have had to reach slightly above our job descriptions to appease a demanding boss. Common themes from making coffee to picking up dry cleaning are familiar and often tolerated as one strives to “get ahead”.