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Ian McKellen

Film Review: ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Solidifies Franchise

Peter Jackson and Bilbo Baggins find their groove in the entertaining “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” an improvement over “An Unexpected Journey” in every single department.

Blu-ray Review: Lavish Extended Edition of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey

CHICAGO – I had notable problems with “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” when it premiered in theaters but they were softened a bit when I saw it on Blu-ray and not in 3D nor 48 frames per second, two effects that I believe actually hurt the world designed by Peter Jackson in these films in that they make it look less artistic and faker than the standard HD image. Now I’m here to flop back again to the disappointed side with the extended edition of the film, one that runs WAY too long for a flick that was already too short.

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Works Better in HD Than in Theaters

CHICAGO – Can we end this 48fps nonsense now? Having seen “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” in 3D/48fps, I found the film artificial and boring. At home, in traditional, flat HD, the movie works so much better.

Film Review: Truly Disappointing Trek of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

CHICAGO – Twice as many frames per second and another dimension only serve to amplify the notable flaws of Peter Jackson’s truly disappointing “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” a bloated, dull mess of a film that meanders when it should move and stumbles when it should run.

Film News: First Trailer Released For Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey

CHICAGO – The exciting trailers for next year’s blockbusters just keep coming. Only a few days after “The Dark Knight Rises” had its first full length trailer released, Peter Jackson’s long awaited prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy finally has a trailer.

Matthew Vaughn Set to Direct ‘X-Men: First Class’ With June 2011 Release

CHICAGO – In an ironic twist of movie fate, “Kick-Ass” director Matthew Vaughn, the man once assigned the role of directing “X-Men: The Last Stand” will direct the next installment in the mega-franchise, “X-Men: First Class,” to be released on June 3rd, 2011.

Blu-Ray Review: Stunning ‘The Prisoner’ Still Holds Viewer Interest Captive

The Prisoner

CHICAGO – Patrick McGoohan was ready to quit. After playing secret agent John Drake in over eighty episodes of the British TV show “Danger Man” (known in the US as “Secret Agent”), McGoohan was clearly in need of a change. Luckily, his script editor George Markstein had a great idea up his sleeve.

Blu-Ray Review: Catch Up With Dan Brown’s World in ‘The Da Vinci Code’

Da Vinci Code
HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – One of the biggest movies of the summer is sure to be Ron Howard’s “Angels & Demons,” the sequel to 2006’s massively successful “The Da Vinci Code,” a Tom Hanks film that left most critics cold but ended up making a stunning quarter-of-a-billion dollars worldwide by the time its theatrical run ended. Before you talk to the “Angels & Demons,” catch up on your mythology with “The Da Vinci Code: 2-Disc Extended Cut” on Blu-Ray.

Blu-Ray Review: HD ‘X-Men Trilogy’ Primes Fans For First Big Summer Movie

X-Men Trilogy
HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – With ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ opening this Friday, fans can catch up on where Hugh Jackman’s legendary character earned a following big enough to warrant a summer tentpole release date in the Blu-Ray release of the “X-Men Trilogy” including the two films by Bryan Singer (“X-Men” and “X2: X-Men United”) and the three-quel by Brett Ratner (“X-Men: The Last Stand”).

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves

    CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.

  • A Field in England (teaser)

    CHICAGO – I can’t recommend this more. “A Field in England” is a flashback and a flash forward all at once. It’s impossible to watch without thinking of great counter culture cinema. In fact when I saw it at Fantastic Fest 2013 it played as part of a double bill with Ken Russell’s “The Devils” (1971). They made perfect cinematic companion pieces. Russell’s film concerned a wayward priest desperate to protect his 17th century city from corruption in the Church only to fall victim to group hysteria when he is, ironically, accused of witchcraft by a jealous nun.

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