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Emily Blunt

Film Review: Wondrous Last Act for Hayao Miyazaki in ‘The Wind Rises’

The Wind Rises

CHICAGO – The master animator and film legend Hayao Miyazaki (“Howl’s Moving Castle,” “Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke”) announced his retirement after his latest film, “The Wind Rises.” He is often called “Japan’s Walt Disney,” but there is more to him then that, a soul and a mystery that is revealed in the stages of his animated art, and his contribution to artistic culture will continue to influence for generations to come. “The Wind Rises” is nominated for Best Animated Film at the 2014 Academy Awards.

Film Review: Phony Emotional Connections Trip Up ‘Arthur Newman’

CHICAGO – In what could be subtitled, “The Challenge of American Accents,” the new release “Arthur Newman” has a laugh-inducing U.S. inflection face-off between Brits Colin Firth and Emily Blunt. Amid that obstacle, there is a lame road picture that emotionally is false, and makes no sense.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 25 Pairs of Passes to ‘Arthur Newman’ With Colin Firth, Emily Blunt

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of “Arthur Newman” starring Colin Firth and Emily Blunt!

Blu-ray Review: Fantastic ‘Looper’ Gets Great Blu-ray Release

Looper

CHICAGO – I clearly loved “Looper” as evidenced by my initial review, interview with Rian Johnson, placement of Emily Blunt on my Best Supporting Performances of 2012 piece, and putting it #9 on my Best of 2012. Watching it again in glorious HD, I had a surprising thought given all of the above — I may have underrated it.

Film Feature: The Best Supporting Performances of 2012

CHICAGO – A mother trying to protect her son from an assassin, a man who coordinates lap dances for a living, a woman whose dreams have died, a gambler betting on his son, and two people at the heart of Abraham Lincoln’s fight to end slavery and the Civil War — 2012 certainly offered a wide array of memorable supporting characters in motion pictures.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Your Sister’s Sister’ Sets High Bar for Indie Filmmaking

Your Sister's Sister Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Give Lynn Shelton a few days, a dozen crew members, a picturesque cabin and three terrific actors, and just look at what she’s capable of making. “Your Sister’s Sister” is clearly the work of a filmmaker in full command of her craft. With limited resources and very little time, writer/director Shelton somehow managed to capture a fully realized human drama brimming with richly etched characters and marvelously insightful comedy.

Interview: Rian Johnson Crafts a Sci-fi Masterpiece with ‘Looper’

CHICAGO – Rian Johnson’s “Looper” is going to blow your mind. The third film from the director of “Brick” and “The Brothers Bloom” (as well as episodes of “Terriers” and “Breaking Bad”) is a highwire act of time travel action and human drama.

Blu-ray Review: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt in Fun ‘The Five-Year Engagement’

Five-Year Engagement, The

CHICAGO – There’s a great movie buried in the bloated “The Five-Year Engagement,” a comedy that nearly feels like a rough cut at a ridiculous 125 minutes in its theatrical form or 132 minutes in its unrated version. The stars are incredibly charismatic and I like a lot of what Jason Segel & Nicholas Stoller are trying to do with their tale of how life sometimes gets in the way of love but the movie is just too long, making it merely good despite having greatness within.

Film Review: Stunning, Creative Vision of ‘Looper’

CHICAGO – It’s so refreshing to see a talented filmmaker that has been allowed to bring his unique vision to the screen without compromise. You know the feeling when you’re watching a product of a marketing focus group or producer interference and when you’re seeing something fresh, new, and personal.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ Follows Feel-Good Formula

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen Blu-ray

CHICAGO – “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” is a romantic comedy so lightweight that it threatens to float off into the ether. It has perhaps the least gripping title since Ingmar Bergman’s “Sawdust and Tinsel,” which is strange since the rest of the production reeks of commercial calculation. Yet the film is based on Paul Torday’s book of the same name, so the studio must have considered the title marketable.

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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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