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HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 75 Pairs of Passes to ‘Into the Storm’ With Richard Armitage

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 75 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated new thriller “Into the Storm” starring Richard Armitage and directed by the visual effect master from “Avatar”!

Interview: The Confessions of Ted Neeley in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’

CHICAGO – What can be said for a man who has portrayed Jesus close to 5,000 times, and starred in the definitive Broadway and film versions of the most famous rock opera about Christ? Ted Neeley is as virtuous as his famous title role in “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Interview: Larry ‘The Soup Nazi’ Thomas for ‘Mind Over Mindy’

CHICAGO – “No soup for you!” is one of the most memorable TV catchphrases of the 1990s, uttered into immortality by actor Larry Thomas on “Seinfeld,” who portrayed “The Soup Nazi.” Thomas was in the Chicago area recently to act in “Mind Over Mindy,” a new comedy from writer/director Robert Alaniz.

Film Review: ‘Happy Christmas’ is Au Naturale for Good or for Bland

Happy Christmas

CHICAGO – One thing that struck me about writer/director Joe Swanberg’s previous “Drinking Buddies,” and made it one of my more celebrated from 2013 despite not really loving it as a film, was its importance to those good ol’ independent movies. Here were big flashy stars like Olivia Wilde and Anna Kendrick, not just acting in a movie of a lower budget, but creating a wider appeal out of a previously very niche aspect, without the film form itself changing much.

Film Review: ‘A’ for Effort, ‘C’ for Execution in Dwayne Johnson’s Unmemorable ‘Hercules’

CHICAGO – I empathize with Dwayne Johnson and simultaneously don’t. Most people never get rich and famous once, let alone twice. Sure, it’s hard to re-brand people from the wrestling superstar you once were into the dramatic action star you’re trying to become, but your past is forever immortal.

Film Review: ‘Magic in the Moonlight’ is Woody Allen By the Book

CHICAGO – After last year’s powerful “Blue Jasmine,” writer/director Woody Allen’s trajectory seemed destined toward another film masterpiece, but “Magic in the Moonlight” isn’t it. Colin Firth and Emma Stone are an unlikely pairing in this seen-it-before-Woody film trifle.

Film Review: Emotional Destiny Versus Science Debate in ‘I Origins’

I Origins

CHICAGO – In the current debate between metaphysical spirituality or intelligent design versus scientific and provable fact, there are demands regarding the religious or metaphysics that do not relate to those facts. What the new film “I Origins” hopes to provide for, is that there is room for both forms of mysticism in our lives, if only the eyes remain open.

Film Review: Script Weakens Cast, Director in ‘And So it Goes’

And So it Goes

CHICAGO – “And So it Goes” can be summed up in its incredibly weak title, as just lazy hackery. In attempting to tell a story of redemption for a old white rich man, the film falls back on clichés, predictability, improbability, overdone physical comedy and stereotypes. The first-time pairing of Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, and the direction of old pro Rob Reiner, couldn’t overcome the stench of the hackneyed screenplay.

Film Review: Scarlett Johansson Packs a Blockbuster Punch in ‘Lucy’

CHICAGO – “Lucy” is a piece of high-minded cinematic junk food that manages to be outlandishly weird while still satisfying the lizard brain desires of its audience. It’s a film that knows what’ll get the behinds in the seats, and that appeal can effectively be summed up in one shot.

Interview: Comedian Gabriel Iglesias For ‘The Fluffy Movie’

CHICAGO – One the hottest, most creative and “fluffiest” stand-up comics working today is Gabriel Iglesias. The comedian riffs on the circumstances of his own life, as he deals with his adventures in the comedy world. He has put that all together in a new stand-up concert film, appropriately entitled “The Fluffy Movie.”

Interview: Director Mike Cahill, Actor Michael Pitt on ‘I Origins’

CHICAGO – The debate between science and intelligent design (God) will go on as long as man evolves and searches for answers. A new and provocative film, “I Origins,” takes on the challenge of the debate through storytelling, and features hot actor Michael Pitt (“Boardwalk Empire”), directed by Mike Cahill (“Another Earth”).

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  • Bad Words

    Looming over “Bad Words” is the potential it could have had, as is, were it released ten years ago. With its focus of R-rated behavior poking at the projected innocence of children, along with the couple of chromosomes that keep Bateman’s Trilby from being a Vince Vaughn character, this movie is certainly a product of the comedies that have sculpted out the manchild story in the past decade.

  • Winter's Tale

    The theatrical poster for “Winter’s Tale,” after promising that “It’s not a true story, it’s a love story,” made a large demand from its viewers at the bottom: “This Valentine’s Day, Believe In Miracles.” While there is indeed a difference between filmmaking and marketing, it is hard to not imagine writer/director Akiva Goldsman whispering “believe in miracles” into the ear of every executive who helped “Winter’s Tale” come to life, immediately after throwing glitter on them.

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