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Film Review: Rousing ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Hits Modern Society’s Central Nervous System

Avengers: Age of Ultron with James Spader

CHICAGOLook. We all know sequels usually suck. And blockbuster films often get panned for overprioritizing special effects at the expense of a well-written story and character development. Even when a story in a big-budget film is redeeming, it’s practically impossible not to shoot holes through it.

Film Review: ‘Iron Man 3’ Starts Summer with a Mechanized Bang

CHICAGO – Critics and viewers fell in rapturous adoration of the legend of The Dark Knight when Christopher Nolan and his team took the risk of making character-driven superhero movies. To kick off the second phase of the Marvel Universe of films with this weekend’s “Iron Man 3,” Shane Black and the team behind this guaranteed blockbuster have done the same – presenting us with the most human Marvel flick since “Spider-Man 2.”

Blu-ray Review: Incredible Performance, Complex Script Elevate ‘Flight’

Flight

CHICAGO – Robert Zemeckis’ brilliant “Flight” has garnered some interesting responses from my friends in that they seem to not like the film because they don’t like Whip Whitaker, Denzel Washington’s alcoholic asshole of a lead character that earned him an Oscar nomination. The fact that Whitaker doesn’t beg to be liked and allows for such a morally gray performance is why I love the film. It’s complex, character-driven storytelling that is becoming increasingly rare in cinema.

Film Review: Denzel Washington Pilots Nearly Flawless ‘Flight’

CHICAGO – Few films have more deftly walked the tightrope through a moral gray area than Robert Zemeckis’ stunning “Flight,” one of the best dramas of the year that also just happens to include the best performance from two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington in the last decade.

Interview: Director Robert Zemeckis Explains Reasons For ‘Flight’

CHICAGO – Oscar-winning director Robert Zemeckis (“Back to the Future,” “Forrest Gump”) returns to live-action for the first time since “Cast Away” this week with the spectacular “Flight,” starring Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, and Bruce Greenwood.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 30 Pairs of Passes to ‘Flight’ With Denzel Washington From Robert Zemeckis

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 30 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated advance screening of “Flight” with Denzel Washington from Robert Zemeckis!

TV News: Showtime Renews ‘Shameless,’ ‘House of Lies,’ ‘Californication’

House of Lies

CHICAGO – Not to be outdone by HBO, who renewed their Sunday hit “Luck” yesterday, Showtime gave season renewals today to their impressive slate of Sunday shows — “Shameless,” “House of Lies,” and “Californication.” All three have done remarkably well in the ratings as the two veterans have improved on previous season numbers and “House of Lies” has done very well in its first few freshman frames.

Blu-ray Review: Criterion Release of Steven Soderbergh’s Incredible ‘Traffic’

Traffic

CHICAGO – As his excellent “Haywire” plays in theaters and his even-better “Contagion” was recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, one is reminded of the incredible talent of Steven Soderbergh, one of the best living directors. But “Contagion” and “Haywire,” while enjoyable, don’t hold a candle to this incredible filmmaker’s best films, which include “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “Out of Sight,” “Che,” and, recently released on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD, the Oscar-winning “Traffic.” This is one of Criterion’s best releases for one of the ‘00’s best films.

Blu-ray Review: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle in Clever ‘The Guard’

The Guard

CHICAGO – Rarely has a film been more successfully driven by two great actors than John Michael McDonagh’s “The Guard.” The sheer incredible personalities of Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle give two of the most enjoyable performances of the year, bringing to life a clever, unapologetic script from their writer, who is also making a strong directorial debut. “The Guard” fell relatively flat at the box office but it’s the kind of quality comedy that will almost certainly find a big audience on the home market and was recently released on Blu-ray and DVD.

TV Review: Don Cheadle Enters Showtime’s Intriguing ‘House of Lies’

CHICAGO – The premiere of “House of Lies” is a smug, self-aware affair, a pilot that doesn’t show you how smart and clever it is as much as begs you to think it so over and over and over again.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Pippin

    CHICAGO – It is the simple, timeless stories that work best when they are mounted again on Broadway, and the musical “Pippin” stays true to that assertion. Taking the concepts and the songs from a play that debuted in 1972, and featuring one of those original cast members in a key role, the National Touring revival of “Pippin” is being performed in Chicago at the Cadillac Theatre until August 9th, 2015.

  • Lori Petty, photo by Joe Arce

    CHICAGO – Lori Petty will never be predictable, nor put into some show business box. The free-wheelin’ Ms. P applies her expansive performance skills to the role of Lolly – a guest spot that turned into a recurring character – on Netflix’s hot series “Orange is the New Black,” which released its third season on June 12th, 2015.

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