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Eddie Marsan

TV Review: Showtime’s ‘Ray Donovan’ is Next Great Drama

Ray Donovan

CHICAGO – “I like you. You say what you mean.” Showtime’s brilliant new show, “Ray Donovan,” is titled after a straightshooter in a town where no one is honest; a problem solver in a place built on mountains of problems. Ann Biderman’s stunning drama (directed and produced by “Sopranos” vet Allen Coulter) is the kind of dense patchwork quilt of character and theme that separate great shows from merely good ones.

Film Review: ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ Dwarfed By Comatose Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron

CHICAGO – If you can stomach forgiving the film’s uneven acting, inconsistent pacing and a higgledy-piggledy script that feels like it’s still in draft mode, just zero in on the only newsworthy question about “Snow White and the Huntsman”: Who are those “dwarves”?

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 25 Pairs of Chicago Passes to ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of “Snow White and the Huntsman” with Charlize Theron!

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 10 DVDs of Oscar-Nominated ‘War Horse’ From Steven Spielberg

CHICAGO – In our latest history/war edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: DVD, we have 10 DVDs up for grabs for the highly anticipated home entertainment release of Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated film “War Horse” starring Jeremy Irvine!

Film Review: Paddy Considine’s ‘Tyrannosaur’ Packs a Gut-Wrenching Punch

CHICAGO – She first finds him hiding behind a rack of clothes in her small charity shop. He’s the sort of a battered soul that her Christian instincts naturally desire to protect.

DVD Review: World of Nightmares on Display in Effective ‘Heartless’

Heartless

CHICAGO – “Heartless” is a Faustian nightmare, a story of a man who sees behind the curtain of the real world to the creatures of chaos that really run it. It’s a surprisingly riveting and accomplished piece of work, bursting at the seams with attitude and ideas. Many films have attempted to recreate a truly terrifying night vision but “Heartless” finds that dark place between the waking world and that of our worst dreams to become something that deserves (and probably will find on DVD) a wider audience.

DVD Review: ‘The Disappearance of Alice Creed’ Holds Interest Despite Flaws

The Disappearance of Alice Creed DVD

CHICAGO – There is no doubt that Gemma Arterton is a pretty face. Her natural beauty is so intoxicating that it nearly always upstages whatever talent may reside beneath her scintillating surface. Her aggressively bland work in mediocre action fare like “Clash of the Titans” and “Prince of Persia” had convinced me that she was nothing more than a non-thinking man’s Rachel Weisz.

Blu-Ray Review: Riveting, Memorable ‘Red Riding Trilogy’

Red Riding Trilogy

CHICAGO – Thriller fans should seek out the fascinating “Red Riding Trilogy,” a series of films with largely different casts set in different time periods that attempts to pull back the facade of peace to reveal the dark face of evil underneath. The films are not perfect but they work together to create a memorable portrait of corruption that has infected an entire country and taken more than a few victims in its grip.

Blu-Ray Review: Marvelous Release For Mediocre ‘Sherlock Holmes’

Sherlock Holmes

CHICAGO – Guy Ritchie’s wildly successful “Sherlock Holmes” looks and sounds amazing on Blu-ray but the flaws of the blockbuster film remain. Viewed purely as escapist entertainment, “Sherlock” is a reasonably tasty piece of popcorn and the technical treatment and bonus material that accompany the film are unimpeachable but there’s still something not quite right about Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law’s take on Holmes and Watson.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves

    CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.

  • A Field in England (teaser)

    CHICAGO – I can’t recommend this more. “A Field in England” is a flashback and a flash forward all at once. It’s impossible to watch without thinking of great counter culture cinema. In fact when I saw it at Fantastic Fest 2013 it played as part of a double bill with Ken Russell’s “The Devils” (1971). They made perfect cinematic companion pieces. Russell’s film concerned a wayward priest desperate to protect his 17th century city from corruption in the Church only to fall victim to group hysteria when he is, ironically, accused of witchcraft by a jealous nun.

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