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Helen Mirren

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.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Passes to ‘Red 2’ With Bruce Willis, John Malkovich

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated sequel “Red 2” starring Bruce Willis!

Film Review: Pixar Scores Again With Delightful ‘Monsters University’

CHICAGO – Let’s everybody say it together, “the key to great animation is a great story.” This has to be the motto for Pixar Animation – now part of Disney. Their latest, “Monsters University,” is a prequel with a heart, soul and attention to what makes this type of entertainment work.

TV Review: David Mamet’s ‘Phil Spector’ with Al Pacino, Helen Mirren

CHICAGO – With the larger-than-life acting tics that have invaded most of Al Pacino’s performances in the last twenty years, it seemed inevitable that the actor was the only person who could possibly play a notable loon like Phil Spector. In tonight’s HBO movie named after the legendary producer, Pacino chews the scenery as one would expect but it’s Helen Mirren who steals the piece from the Oscar winner.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 25 Pairs of Anytime Passes to ‘Hitchcock’ With Anthony Hopkins

CHICAGO – In this HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 25 pairs of run-of-engagement, guaranteed, anytime movie passes up for grabs for “Hitchcock” starring Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock and Helen Mirren as his wife!

Film Review: ‘Hitchcock’ at its Heart is a Relationship Film

CHICAGO – The great director Alfred Hitchcock had morphed to legend rather than a man, so it’s interesting that two films have recently been released about his all-too-human foibles. The feature film, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as the director, gets inside the man’s relationships in “Hitchcock.”

DVD Review: Flawed ‘Brighton Rock’ Adaptation Enhanced By Fine Ensemble

Brighton Rock Thumb

CHICAGO – Graham Greene’s haunting 1938 crime novel doesn’t deserve to be uttered in the same breath as Stephenie Meyer’s tween phenomenon, “Twilight.” Yet in the hands of British filmmaker Rowan Joffe, Greene’s masterwork loses its theological intrigue and becomes a self-conscious melodrama fueled by two grim lovers who could be dead ringers for Bella Swan and Edward Cullen.

Blu-ray Review: Jessica Chastain Compensates For Flawed Script in ‘The Debt’

The Debt Blu-ray

CHICAGO – It’s little surprise that Jessica Chastain has received so much attention during this year’s awards season. Thanks to a series of release date delays, six of her films were released in 2011, each featuring an entirely different role for the strikingly versatile actress. From her slapstick pratfalls in “The Help” to her ethereal grace in “The Tree of Life,” Chastain displayed a remarkable range that has made it impossible for moviegoers to tear their eyes away from her.

Blu-Ray Review: Julie Taymor’s ‘The Tempest’ Redeemed By Excellent Extras

The Tempest Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – Risk-taking visionaries are always exciting to watch in action, even when their gambles don’t quite pay off. Yet while the recent projects tackled by Julie Taymor have sported great promise on paper, their externalized metaphors often work against the material she’s aiming to enhance. In her Beatles musical “Across the Universe,” soldiers were seen carrying the Statue of Liberty into Vietnam while singing, “She’s so heavy.”

TV Review: Maria Bello is Best Reason to Interrogate ‘Prime Suspect’

CHICAGO – Watching the premiere of NBC’s “Prime Suspect” again, I was struck by something undeniable — this feels like a TNT show. Yes, we’ve officially reached the point where basic cable is influencing network TV more than the other way around.

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  • Ride Along with Ice Cube

    CHICAGO – Few figures have had less of an exciting domination of the world than Kevin Hart. In the past few years, the comedian has skyrocketed to leading fixture in the comedy scene, creating hit scripts out of films like “Think Like A Man” and “About Last Night,” while taking victory laps in his lacking stand-up features like “Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain”. The big problem is that these projects don’t justify his comic potential.

  • The King of Comedy

    Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.

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