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David Strathairn

Film Review: ‘American Pastoral’ Should Have Been Put to Pasture

CHICAGO – Change can be a frightening part of life and the human experience. It is an unavoidable but often necessary transition for progress. If you fight change or innovation, the stagnation alone will weigh you down and hold you back. “American Pastoral” may deal with the themes of revolution, but that’s about all that is revolutionary or unique about this film.

Film Review: Charming ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ Bucks Botched Sequel Trend

CHICAGO – Motivated by financial necessity, sequels often mitigate business risk and satisfy studio executives by riding on the coattails of a previous fan base with brand equity. But business aside, to moviegoers the follow-up product so often feels like it “wasn’t nearly as good as the first” or didn’t need to return at all.

Film Review: Hollywood’s ‘Godzilla’ Misses, Mocks Ishirô Honda’s Main Warning Message

CHICAGO – Except for the clear purpose of cashing in on yet another “Godzilla” remake, everything is happening for no reason. Worst of all, what is ensuing misses and even mocks the reason why Ishirô Honda originated 1954’s “Godzilla” in the first place.

Blu-ray Review: Naggingly Hollow ‘Hemingway and Gellhorn’ Falls Flat

Hemingway and Gellhorn blu-ray

CHICAGO – It doesn’t sound like a particularly bad idea. In exploring the globe-trotting adventures of author Ernest Hemingway and war correspondent Martha Gellhorn, why not use archival footage of the actual sights and sounds that they encountered, while nesting the actors into the frame, a la “Forrest Gump”? I didn’t think it was a bad idea at all until roughly three minutes into the movie.

Film Review: ‘Lincoln’ Magnificently Humanizes the Man, Our History

CHICAGO – There is an argument that Steven Spielberg is the most “American” of directors, at least in his generation. He deftly and brilliantly teams up with playwright Tony Kushner and actor Daniel Day-Lewis to humanize and realize our 16th president in “Lincoln.”

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 35 Pairs of Passes to ‘The Bourne Legacy’ With Jeremy Renner

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 35 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the highly anticipated new film “The Bourne Legacy”!

TV Review: Syfy’s ‘Alphas’ Returns More Confident, Entertaining

CHICAGO – Two of cable TV’s most interesting science fiction programs return tonight just after their 2011 seasons were released on DVD.

TV Review: HBO’s Disappointing ‘Hemingway & Gellhorn’ with Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman

CHICAGO – It pains me to say this — HBO’s “Hemingway & Gellhorn” is a complete mess, a film littered with awful directorial decisions, built on a misguided screenplay, and featuring performances that range from mediocre to downright horrendous. I’m as big a cheerleader for HBO and their line of original films as you’re likely to find but this is one of the worst.

Film Review: Rachel Weisz Anchors Melodrama of ‘The Whistleblower’

The Whistleblower
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Rachel Weisz elevates the harrowing true story of “The Whistleblower,” a pull-no-punches drama about a disturbing international conspiracy to cover up a sex trafficking ring involving the men tasked with protecting the innocent who turned to exploiting them. This is a graphic, dark, violent piece of drama, as it should be given its subject matter, but it’s the work of one of our best working actresses that truly makes it worth venturing into the darkness.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 3rd, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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