CHICAGO – Standing up at the Lyric Opera house in Chicago is unusual before a show. But in this case, it was the night after a tragedy, and the operetta “The Merry Widow” – set in Paris, France, in 1905 – was about to unfold. The orchestra struck up La Marseillaise, a reminder that we’ll always have Paris.
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.’
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.
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.
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”!
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.
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”!
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.
CHICAGO – NBC 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.
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.
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.