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Ed Helms

Film Review: Tartan Prancer – Yes, a Fictional Albanian Car – Steals the Otherwise Borrowed Show in ‘Vacation’

CHICAGO – Retreads from classics are often as weary as having to write that they are almost never as good as the original. And here we go again with the Ed Helms-led “Vacation,” which fails to capitalize on the beloved Chevy Chase film “National Lampoon’s Vacation” from 1983.

Film Review: ‘They Came Together’ Sharply Skewers the Rom-Com

CHICAGO – If there is any genre of film that needs a good blasting, it is the romantic comedy. These silly fantasies practically seem like satires anyway, so when the comic genius of writer/director David Wain ponders them, and casts Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler as the “couple,” the funny will fly.

Film Review: Horrible ‘We’re the Millers’ Wastes Huge Potential

CHICAGO – There was a point in “We’re the Millers” when the story fell off the table like a Slinky from a mountaintop. It’s as if other writers took over from a far superior dark comedy, and injected “heart” and middle age “stripping.” This all adds up to a difficult 110 minutes of lost life time.

Film Review: Worse Than a Real One, ‘The Hangover Part III’

CHICAGO – With a lazy, over-plotted story, and a cast that are desperately going through the motions, “The Hangover Part III” is the latest example of a contract obligation disguising itself as a movie. Writer/director Todd Phillips sluggishly pounds out another one, with simply no originality.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax’ Comes Packed With Extras But Still Falls Short

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

CHICAGO – After it made a relative fortune at the box office (its number six on the year in terms of domestic gross and has made more than $300 million worldwide), I was eager to revisit “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” on Blu-ray to se if I missed anything in my initial 2.5-star review. Maybe I was just in a bad mood that day. Nope. The movie just doesn’t hold up on a storytelling level and it’s even more deeply flawed on repeat viewing. It’s only entertaining to littlest ones in your family and even they would be better served by a reading of the great source material. A trio of mini-movies on the Blu-ray help make the package more enticing but can’t dismiss the film’s flaws.

Blu-ray Review: Well-Cast ‘Jeff, Who Lives at Home’ Charmingly Meanders

Jeff Who Lives at Home Blu-ray

CHICAGO – While the man-child archetype has been cheerfully skewered and celebrated by Apatowian comedies ranging from “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” to “Step Brothers,” this year has so far produced two intriguing indie comedies that take a somewhat more serious look at a developmentally arrested psyche. Neither film is flawless, but they sure would make a superb double feature.

Film Review: Jason Segel, Ed Helms in Inconsistent ‘Jeff, Who Lives at Home’

Jeff, Who Lives at Home
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Writer/directors Jay and Mark Duplass clearly love their characters. Whether it’s the awkward man-child at the center of “Cyrus” or the title character in their new dramedy “Jeff, Who Lives at Home,” there’s a charming affection for these people. I really enjoyed spending time with the quartet of well-drawn, well-acted people in “Jeff,” which makes the fact that their story is less-structured and sloppier than it should be to be effective all the more frustrating. I SO want to love “Jeff, Who Lives at Home,” but this dude is too often stuck in the creative basement.

Interview: Director Jay Duplass Reveals ‘Jeff, Who Lives at Home’

CHICAGO – The brother directing team of Jay and Mark Duplass have been climbing the success ladder since starting their careers as independent film darlings in 2002. After winning acclaim in 2010 with the offbeat “Cyrus,” they are back with “Jeff, Who Lives at Home,” featuring Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Judy Greer and Susan Sarandon.

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  • Punk Punk

    CHICAGO – For theater that is audaciously in-the-now and generates a sparkle of life, there are few better storefront (garage, gothic gathering place) groups than “Nothing Without a Company.” Their latest, eclectic kick-in-the-head production is the intensely diverting and weirdly fun “Punk Punk.”

  • Assassination Theater

    CHICAGO – There are two dates in modern American History that ring in the heads of certain generations. Of course, there is September 11th, 2001, but the granddaddy of that date is November 22nd, 1963. That is when an American president, John F. Kennedy, was shot point blank in the head and killed on the street of an American city. The official proclamation from the government is that a lone assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, fired those shots. In a new Chicago play, “Assassination Theater,” subtitled “Chicago’s Role in the Crime of the Century,” the jury is still decidedly out.


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