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Film Review: ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ Breaks No New Ground

CHICAGO – When the first “Sin City” (2005) was released – based on the graphic novels by Frank Miller – the conversion of a film to a noir-like comic book atmosphere was pioneering. The sequel “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” has heightened that look, but this time has much less to say.

Film Review: ‘300: Rise of an Empire’ Gets Its 3D War On

CHICAGO – The rewriting of history in comic book movie form – not that’s anything wrong with that – continues with “300: Rise of an Empire.” Ancient wars are brought to life through a combination of mythology, six-pack abs, 3D blood spurts and comprehensive special effects, which can be better than history.

Blu-ray Review: Tim Burton’s ‘Dark Shadows’ Stages Toothless Vampire Satire

Dark Shadows Blu-ray

CHICAGO – “Dark Shadows” flops on the screen like an undead fish out of water. It doesn’t have one ounce of the spontaneity or style that made the work of its director, Tim Burton, or its star, Johnny Depp, so irresistible during their hot streak of the ’90s. The was back when Burton/Depp collaborations promised something more than peerless production values and morbid variations on familiar themes.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Perfect Sense’ Offers Drab Yet Touching Metaphor for Death

Perfect Sense Blu-ray

CHICAGO – For a film that promises steamy scenes between two stars who share a fearlessness for performing in the nude, “Perfect Sense” is a doozy of a downer. It’s a fine showcase for the oft-underutilized talents of Ewan McGregor and Eva Green, but the plot is one slow descent toward doom that leaves viewers with very little to contemplate besides the sickening tragedy of death.

Film Review: Keep Tim Burton’s ‘Dark Shadows’ Out of the Light

CHICAGO – Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows” is one of the most inconsistent and frustrating major films in a long time. There are elements here and there that work but Burton and writer Seth Grahame-Smith seem incapable of figuring out how to wrangle them into a coherent, successful film.

Blu-Ray Review: STARZ Originals ‘Camelot,’ ‘Spartacus: Gods of the Arena’

Spartacus Gods of the Arena Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – One of the most popular opinions among modern audiences is the notion that television shows have become consistently better than films. This is partly because many of the year’s best movies are relegated to urban art houses, while shows like “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” are available on small screens nationwide. Yet I’d argue that there’s just as much derivative dreck on TV as there is in mainstream multiplexes.

TV Review: Eva Green, Joseph Fiennes Anchor Escapist ‘Camelot’

CHICAGO – Starz Channel’s “Camelot” is an attempt to cash in on the same success that the network found with “Spartacus” and it almost works to provide a similar level of Friday night escapism, mostly delivering just that with an adult version of Arthur, Merlin, and the Knights of the Round Table.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Quantum of Solace’ Offers Action Ride, Average Blu-Ray

Quantum of Solace
HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “Quantum of Solace,” the second Daniel Craig 007 movie after the earthquake to the franchise that was the brilliant “Casino Royale,” didn’t make quite the same waves in the action genre and left a few viewers dissatisfied but it still makes for a better-than-average action movie rental. Sadly, MGM continues to struggle a bit in the HD revolution, releasing a so-so Blu-Ray that won’t help the viewers who felt let down by the film in theaters.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

    CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

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