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Ellen Burstyn

Film Review: ‘Interstellar’ is Supposed to Mean Something, But What?

Interstellar 2

CHICAGO – It is most likely that movie goers were asking the same question of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” in 1968, but Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” belongs to its own category of what-is-the-meaning, because it tries to combine pseudo-science with psycho-babble, which clashes into meaninglessness. But the visuals are stunning, and there are moments of fulfillment, especially in a big screen IMAX format.

Film Review: Miscast Crew Spoils Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ 

CHICAGO – “Interstellar” is easily director Christopher Nolan’s worst film. It contains much of the ambition and striking visuals that have endeared him to audiences, but for large chunks of the movie his own worst tendencies towards bombast, self-importance, and hippy dippy dialogue threaten to overwhelm his dandy space sequences entirely.

Film Review: ‘Draft Day’ is Daft, Except as an NFL Infomercial

CHICAGO – Kevin Costner has defined a career in sports themed movies. From the Iowa farmer building a baseball diamond in “Field of Dreams,” to “Bull Durham,” to “For the Love of the Game,” he exemplified game day heroics. Yet being an NFL executive in “Draft Day” isn’t quite as exciting.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 75 Pairs of Passes to ‘Draft Day’ with Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner

CHICAGOSee it free more than 2 months early! In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 75 pairs of advance-screening passes up for grabs to the new sports drama “Draft Day” starring Kevin Costner!

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition’ Proves Film’s Timeless Power

The Exorcist

CHICAGO – William Friedkin graced Chicago with his presence at a special event during the 2013 Chicago Critics Film Festival and it’s an evening that I’ll never forget. Not only is the director of classics like “The French Connection” and “The Exorcist,” recently released in a lavish 40th anniversary Blu-ray edition, one of the most important filmmakers of his era but he’s also incredibly funny, smart, and well-spoken. Fans of film owe it to themselves to read “The Friedkin Connection,” released earlier this year and even sampled in this release. And his heavy involvement in this release, including interviews, featurettes, and a commentary, make it a must-own for classic movie fans. That and it’s still one of the scariest movies ever made.

DVD Review: Frustrating USA Mini-Series ‘Political Animals’

Political Animals

CHICAGOUSA’s mini-series “Political Animals” should have been one of the TV events of 2012. Instead it was just one of its biggest disappointments. That cast! That subject! In a political, election season! Zzzzzzz. Sadly, the creators of “Political Animals” delivered a program more like “Dallas” than “The West Wing” and viewers tuned out to the degree that the potential second season was canned. Now we can see what went wrong in one lackluster DVD set.

TV Review: A&E Mini-Series Remake of ‘Coma’ is Lifeless

CHICAGO – When I heard that A&E was airing a remake of Michael Crichton’s wonderful slice of ’70s health care paranoia “Coma” (based on the book by Robin Cook), I thought, “That makes perfect sense.” With our current national focus on what’s going to happen to us when we get sick along with the continued health issues of the aging Baby Boomer generation, a “Coma” remake was a great idea.

TV Review: Sigourney Weaver Carries USA’s Disappointing ‘Political Animals’

CHICAGO – I’m a political junkie who naturally loves to follow the world of journalism as well and so I was psyched about the premiere of USA’s mini-series, “Political Animals,” a star-studded affair about how a powerful Washington family deals with a headstrong reporter and the secrets they still hope to keep.

DVD Review: ‘Another Happy Day’ Plunges Headfirst Into Familial Hellhole

Another Happy Day DVD

CHICAGO – “Another Happy Day” is essentially the inverse of “Rachel Getting Married.” Instead of an unstable, self-pitying girl wreaking havoc on an otherwise pleasant wedding, we have a sensitive, otherwise pleasant woman driven mad by her unstable, self-pitying family…at a wedding, no less. I’ve seen war enemies with less animosity than this group of miserable basket cases.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Megan Fox

    CHICAGO - Look past the cheesy carbs and b-boy poses, this shiny mo-cap reboot of cartoon juggernaut “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” offers slick entertainment that makes for a welcome surprise for middle school fare. Proving that executive producer Michael Bay has both grown up but it still frightfully in tune with what jazzes teens, this surprise box office hit is indeed a nice slice of a blockbuster spectacle, whether or not a viewer cares about the turtles or not.

  • HoliDaze Front

    CHICAGO – Need a break from the noise of the holidays? Step Up Productions, – in residence at Chicago Dramatists Theater – present “HoliDaze,” a collection of six one-act plays, all dealing with the nature and nurture of the season. The showcase runs through December 21st, 2014.

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