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Film Review: Dull Soap Opera in ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’

CHICAGO – “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” just goes to show you can have the most expensive and best looking visual effects money can buy, but it doesn’t mean a damn thing if you haven’t got a good tale to tell.

Blu-ray Review: ‘RoboCop’ Remake Struggles with Identity

RoboCop with Joel Kinnaman

CHICAGO – After years of being envisioned with numerous directors (“Noah’s” Darren Aronofsky was once attached), a new version of “RoboCop” has arrived. While the original 80s classic stood out for its foresight into current cultural turmoil, this remake is more a product of movies of the past, and to be more specific, our recent beloved superhero movies.

Film Review: ‘RoboCop’ Reboot Lacks Fun Factor, Fearful Villain

CHICAGO – You get the sense that a writer for the new “RoboCop” felt very proud of himself when he coined the cheeky word “robophobic” as a play on a current cultural hot button. The Samuel L. Jackson moment of self-fulfilled glory reminded me of the rest of the plot that was missing.

Blu-ray Review: Glorious ‘JFK 50th Commemorative Ultimate Collector’s Edition’

JFK

CHICAGO – Oliver Stone reached the peak of his fascination with controversy, history, and epic productions when he made 1991’s “JFK,” arguably the masterpiece of the director of “Platoon,” “Natural Born Killers,” “Nixon,” and many more beloved films. “JFK” is a remarkable cinematic achievement, a movie that has lost none of its power 22 years after its release, looking like something that could come out today, especially now that we’re in the peak of Kennedy mania as we approach the 50th anniversary of his assassination, one of the most important events in American history.

Film Review: Lazy, Horrendous ‘Paranoia’ Wastes Talented Cast

CHICAGO – Much like 2011’s silly “Abduction” with Taylor Lautner, the title of “Paranoia” isn’t exactly accurate. Just as that previous film wasn’t really about an abduction, paranoia is only a minor aspect of Robert Luketic’s new thriller.

Interview: Novelist Matt Bondurant on ‘Lawless’ Book-to-Film Adaptation

CHICAGO – Ernest Hemingway said the best way to handle Hollywood film adaptations is to meet at the border, throw your book in, have Hollywood throw the money back, and then run from each other in opposite directions. How does that astute observation apply today? Matt Bondurant had his novel adapted into the new film “Lawless.”

Film Review: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Gives Fans Epic Conclusion to Beloved Trilogy

CHICAGO – With “The Dark Knight Rises”, Christopher Nolan epically follows through on most of the themes he set up in “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” with amazing technical skill and an ambitious sense of scope. No one can deny the effort and intensity of this closing chapter of the most acclaimed superhero saga in the history of film.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Star Trek Into Darkness

    CHICAGO – With J.J. Abrams not involved with the creation of a third “Star Trek” movie, a compendium of his work within the franchise only seems fitting. Loaded with special features but only a few new ones, this disc set is a strong choice for those who don’t already have both entertaining blockbusters in their collection.

  • References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot

    CHICAGO – In “References to Salvador Dali Makes Me Hot,” now at the Den Theatre in Chicago through September 7th, the intersect of author José Rivera and the strong cast of actors make for a formidable partnership. Committed and passionate interpreters take both the soft and edgy parts of the narrative to task.

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