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Ed Helms

Podtalk: Director Jeff Tomsic Plays the Game of ‘Tag’

CHICAGO – When a real life group of friends keep a thirty year tradition alive, playing a game of “Tag,” there is bound to be a film that shares the same name. Jeff Tomsic makes his director debut with a killer cast… Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress and Jeremy Renner, all still playing that childhood game.

Film Review: ‘Captain Underpants’ Saves Us From the Summer Snooze

CHICAGO - I’m sure from the title you can glean the level of seriousness to expect, but how funny “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” turns out to be is no laughing matter. The film’s surprising irreverence and respect for the comic book genre makes this the animated hero we’ve needed, and the second best superhero film out this weekend (SEE: Wonder Woman).

Tribeca 2017 Slideshow: Tracy Morgan and Sting on the Red Carpet for 'The Clapper'

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Tracy Morgan on the Red Carpet at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.

NEW YORK CITY – The Red Carpet is always a wild ride with the free-wheeling Tracy Morgan. He was at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival representing his role in the new film “The Clapper,” starring Ed Helms and featuring Brenda Vaccaro, who also walked the carpet. Joining them were surprise guests Mark Cuban and the musician known as Sting.

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.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Not One Batu

    CHICAGO – The State of Hawaii may be one of the most misunderstood in America. Because of its reputation as a tourist mecca, the fact that native peoples live and work there like any other place is hard to imagine. Also unimaginable is the drug use of island residents, but playwright and Hawaiian native Hannah li-Epstein wrote about it in her stage play “Not One Batu,” now in its Premiere Chicago run at the Berger Park Coach House through July 28th, 2018. For more information, including tickets, click here.

  • Cher Show, The

    CHICAGO – Has anybody in show business had more “comebacks” than Cher… or if you added her many last names Cher Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman? All of the triumphs and downturns are shoehorned into “The Cher Show,” now in Chicago in a pre-Broadway run through July 15, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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