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Helen Mirren

Film Review: ‘The Fate of the Furious’ is a Vehicle Running on Fumes

CHICAGO – Bigger, Dumber, and Duller…that’s the name of the game this time in this ongoing franchise which is now so ludicrous it makes Bond films seem like the epitome of realism. While it’s true this is the first time Oscar winners and a “Fast and the Furious” film have ever been associated together, there’s a dearth of inspiration in this eighth go around.

Film Review: There is Little Beauty to Be Found in ‘Collateral Beauty’

CHICAGO – Charles Dickens once said, “Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Seeing the trailer for “Collateral Beauty,” it’s obvious this is the theme of the film, but it is also the theme of this review. My “blessing” to you is the foresight not to waste your time with this film.

Interview: Director Gavin Hood has His ‘Eye in the Sky’

CHICAGO – The new film “Eye in the Sky” is as contemporary a war film that currently could be made. The overview of drone warfare includes the distant “pilots” on the computer screen, the leaders in their paneled offices, and the target on the ground – which includes the enemy, but also several innocents.

Interview: Director Jay Roach Channels His Inner ‘Trumbo’

CHICAGO – Director Jay Roach loves his work, heading into another phase of his successful career. The man who directed the first two “Austin Powers” films is now taking on movie and American history with “Trumbo,” featuring Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) as the 1950s blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.

Film Review: Trite ‘Woman in Gold’ Lacks a Compelling Story

CHICAGO – The horrors of the Holocaust have been expressed in cinematic art through many angles. “Woman in Gold” takes another track, that of restoring a work of art that was stolen from a Jewish family in Austria. The legal maneuverings, however, lacks a sense that this is victorious.

Interview: Director Simon Curtis Fashions the ‘Woman in Gold’

CHICAGO – The painting “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer” was created by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt, and was considered Austria’s greatest artwork. The remarkable journey of the painting, stolen from its original Jewish family by the Nazis during World War II, is the basis for the new film, “Woman in Gold,” directed by Simon Curtis.

Film Review: ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’ Not Worth the Trip

CHICAGO – “The Hundred-Foot Journey” is as manufactured and flavorless as a frostbitten Lean Cuisine. However, as the impresario of a Michelin-starred Restaurant in the south of France, Helen Mirren implores her staff that food is not an old tired marriage, it is a passionate affair.

Film Review: Despite Flopping as a Comic Book Movie, ‘Red 2’ Coasts By with Well-Written Characters

CHICAGO – If you didn’t see the DC Entertainment splash screen when this “Red 2” sequel kicks off with the fake death of one of its usual suspects, you wouldn’t mind that the rest of the film feels nothing like a comic book movie except for its animated transitions between scenes.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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