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Elizabeth Banks

Film Review: Big Laughs Await in Sly, Fun ‘The LEGO Movie’

CHICAGO – The funniest movie in a long while features no human beings, just animated bland faces among interlocking plastic bricks, the toys which inspired the film. “The LEGO Movie” never takes itself seriously, which means huge laughs for the audience.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 20 Family 4-Packs to ‘The LEGO Movie’ with Chris Pratt

CHICAGOFamily 4-packs! In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 20 family 4-packs (80 seats in total) up for grabs to the highly anticipated animated comedy “The LEGO Movie” starring Chris Pratt!

Film Review: Entertaining, Complex ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

CHICAGO – Second acts to incredibly popular and entertaining mainstream fare can be a tough prospect. For every “The Dark Knight,” there are too many films like “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” – works that essentially just repeat what audiences fell in love with instead of trying to expand on the world of their predecessors.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 10 Pairs of ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Passes with Live Red-Carpet Stream

CHICAGORare! One of 2013’s most anticipated films! In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 10 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” starring Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson with a live red-carpet stream from the Los Angeles premiere!

Blu-ray Review: Crowd-Pleasing ‘People Like Us’ Deserved Better Fate

People Like Us

CHICAGO – The companies behind Alex Kurtzman’s “People Like Us” had no idea what to do with their crowd-pleasing melodrama, arguably releasing it at the worst possible time of the year for a tiny movie to not get swept away by bigger blockbusters. The result was a dud in theaters but should get strong word-of-mouth on the home market, helped amply by a stellar Blu-ray/DVD release.

Film Review: ‘Pitch Perfect’ Succeeds By Making Fun of Itself

CHICAGO – When we last saw Anna Kendrick, she was the mid-twentysomething girlfriend of cop Jake Gyllenhaal in “End of Watch.” This week, she reverts back to freshman year in college, portraying a rebellious D.J. and songstress in the not-taking-themselves-seriously “Pitch Perfect.”

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Passes to ‘Pitch Perfect’ With Anna Kendrick

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the new singing comedy “Pitch Perfect” starring Anna Kendrick!

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Hunger Games’ Given Stellar Two-Disc Edition

CHICAGO – Can a Blu-ray be both great and a likely placeholder for a future Special Edition? “The Hunger Games” makes that case. The lack of a commentary track or deleted scenes (and Lionsgate’s double-dipping track record) lead one to believe that a Special Edition will likely hit stores in conjunction with “Catching Fire” but this is still a great release with hours of special features and a stellar HD video and audio transfer.

Film Review: Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks in Moving ‘People Like Us’

People Like Us
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “People Like Us” is an old-fashioned tearjerker with everything that phrase implies. It’s undeniably manipulative and sentimental but it’s also somewhat refreshing to see a drama that isn’t laced with irony, cynicism, or some form of postmodern commentary on the genre. “People Like Us” is a film that wants you to be moved; it wants you to cry; it wants you to feel something. Some audiences will be turned off by the blatant melodrama but the honest approach works for me and the strong performances from the cast clearly enlivened by the material elevates it beyond processed cheese.

Interview: Chris Pine, Alex Kurtzman Find ‘People Like Us’

CHICAGO – Writer/director Alex Kurtzman has been an incredibly powerful creative voice in the world of sci-fi from TV’s “Fringe” to film’s “Star Trek” & “Transformers” but his new work comes from someplace much more personal. Starring Chris Pine, “People Like Us” was born from Kurtzman’s own desire to find the half-siblings that his father had left behind years earlier.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • The King of Comedy

    Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.

  • 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.

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