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Hank Azaria

Film Review: Notoriety Triggers the Breaking Point in ‘Lovelace’

CHICAGO – It was one of the strangest star-is-born stories in show business history. One porn film – “Deep Throat” – permeates the American consciousness at precisely the right time. The “lead” actress in the film becomes a household name – and then becomes a victim of it – in ‘Lovelace.’

Blu-ray Review: Goofy ‘Hop’ Wants Your Easter Bunny Money

Hop

CHICAGO – They don’t make too many Easter movies. There are tons of Christmas movies. Halloween has a genre. Even “Independence Day.” But Easter is under-served. Based on “Hop,” there’s a reason for that. The film isn’t as torturous as I was expecting, but it definitely misses its mark for all but the littlest ones. If you have a toddler looking for something new to watch this Easter, it might get the job done. Everyone else, wait for another holiday.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Happy Feet Two’ Stands in Shadow of Superior Original

Happy Feet Two

CHICAGO – Pick your pun — “Happy Feet Two” stumbles, trips, and has two left feet when compared to the Academy Award-winning original. Cluttered with characters, poorly paced, and tonally inconsistent, George Miller’s follow-up to his massive hit barely registered in theaters, but comes home with a pretty strong Blu-ray release from Warner Bros.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 5 ‘Hop’ Blu-rays With Russell Brand From ‘Despicable Me’ Makers

Hop with Russell Brand

CHICAGO – In our latest animated comedy/family edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Blu-ray, we have 5 Blu-rays up for grabs for the highly anticipated home entertainment release of “Hop” starring Russell Brand and Chelsea Handler from the makers of “Despicable Me”!

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Smurfs’ Inspires Feelings of Intense Unhappiness

The Smurfs Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Here is an alleged family film made with all the heart and invention of a cynical business deal. Not a single person involved in the production appears to have any concept of what constitutes quality family entertainment. It’s essentially 103 minutes of product placement, with the biggest product being the Smurfs. There’s also room for Rock Band, Google, M&Ms, the Blue Man Group and every single business located on Times Square.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 10 Blu-Ray, DVD Holiday Sets to ‘The Smurfs’; Plus Live Appearance

The Smurfs three-disc holiday Blu-ray and DVD gift set

CHICAGO – In our latest holiday set edition of the HollywoodChicago.com Hookup, we have 10 Blu-ray and DVD holiday sets up for grabs for the home release of “The Smurfs”!

Film Review: Fate Doesn’t Fail Them Now in ‘Happy Feet Two’

CHICAGO – Dancing animated penguins, a tradition dating back to Disney’s “Mary Poppins” and brought to further life in the first “Happy Feet” movie, finds more stepping pep in “Happy Feet Two.” Robin Williams and Elijah Wood return to lend their vocal talents in this enjoyable sequel.

TV News: NBC Cancels Failed Comedy ‘Free Agents’

Free Agents

CHICAGONBC continues to be a network in ratings freefall (pretty much since “The Jay Leno Show” debacle) as they can now lay claim to not only the first show canceled in the Fall 2011 season (after axing “The Playboy Club” earlier this week) but the second as well. It was reported this afternoon that after last night’s anemic numbers for the third episode of “Free Agents,” a fourth episode won’t see the air.

TV Review: Neurotic, Annoying Characters Sink ‘Free Agents’

Free Agents

CHICAGO – Sitcoms need likable characters. We have to want to spend time with people to laugh at their insights or behavior (a lesson that the writers of “Entourage” forgot somewhere along the way) and comedies with people that are more annoying than humorous never last. Look no further than tonight’s debut of the awful “Free Agents,” a new NBC comedy with excellent actors given nothing entertaining to do.

Film Review: Only the Kiddies Will Connect to ‘The Smurfs’

The Smurfs

CHICAGO – There is nothing wrong with “The Smurfs” that a thousand volts of electricity couldn’t cure. It is well made, looks good in the optional 3-D and has a competent cast trying their hardest. What it lacks is a spark, either of nostalgia or a fresh update, as it meanders with the seen-it-all-before template.

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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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