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Film Review: ‘The Book of Life’ Has Uninspired Tale to Tell

CHICAGO – Unfortunately you can’t judge “The Book Of Life” by its cover. The movie draws on the fertile imagery of the Mexican “Day Of The Dead” to create its own animated world. The animation is excellent and the wooden characters seem to spring to life – but those performances are as wooden as a board.

Film Review: ‘22 Jump Street’ is a Proud Bargain Bin Blockbuster

CHICAGO – “22 Jump Street” is a big budget Hollywood sequel that actively comments on the diminishing returns of sequels. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller know that for every “Lethal Weapon 2,” that manages to surpass the original, there are a dozen “Another 48 Hours”.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Ride Along’ is Just Another Generic Buddy Cop Comedy

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.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 25 Pairs of Passes to ‘Ride Along’ with Kevin Hart, Ice Cube

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 pairs of advance-screening passes up for grabs to the new comedy “Ride Along” starring Kevin Hart, Ice Cube and John Leguizamo!

Blu-ray Review: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill in Funny ‘21 Jump Street’

21 Jump Street

CHICAGO – What a year Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill have had. Tatum has starred in three $100-million-plus films — “The Vow,” “21 Jump Street,” and “Magic Mike” — along with another film directed by the great Steven Soderbergh (“Haywire”). He’s had one of the best years for a young actor in recent memory. And so has his “Jump” co-star who earned an Oscar nomination for his work in “Moneyball” and is set to appear in next year’s “The Watch.” These are likable, talented guys and they carry “21 Jump Street,” an inconsistent but often very funny comedy.

Film Review: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum Have Fun on ‘21 Jump Street’

CHICAGO – There are various opinions about TV-to-movie remakes, mostly negative. That is why “21 Jump Street,” based on a 1980s TV show, manages some grudging respect. Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Rob Riggle, Nick Offerman and Ellie Kemper create some goofy laughs in this farce.

Interviews: Ice Cube, Rob Riggle Discover ‘21 Jump Street’

CHICAGO – A good comedy film lives and breathes through the right casting of character roles. In the new film “21 Jump Street,” Ice Cube is the angry police captain who guides his undercover recruits Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as they infiltrate high school. Rob Riggle pitches in as a wacky high school coach.

Interview: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum Revisit ‘21 Jump Street’

CHICAGO – Combining comedy and action is always a delicate balance, and Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum do it right in the upcoming movie remake of “21 Jump Street.” Goofing on the concept of two police officers undercover in high school, the story has fun with its two back-to-school characters.

Film Review: Sirens Flash Red for Woody Harrelson in ‘Rampart’

Rampart

CHICAGO – The “thin blue line” is a police term. It represents the designation between the protection the police provides and the anarchy that is on the other side of that protection. The cop that Woody Harrelson portrays in “Rampart” crosses that line repeatably, formulating his own retribution.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Lottery Ticket’ a Losing Wager For Everyone

Lottery Ticket

CHICAGO – The comedy “Lottery Ticket,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, is so forgettable that it seems almost mean to pile on top of the negative reviews that greeted it in theaters. It’s not a horrible film, mostly because of the charms of its three leads, but there’s just not much nice to say about it either. It’s bearable and mildly-diverting, but with so many other great released on the market this month, don’t you want more than that faint praise?

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Megan Fox

    CHICAGO - Look past the cheesy carbs and b-boy poses, this shiny mo-cap reboot of cartoon juggernaut “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” offers slick entertainment that makes for a welcome surprise for middle school fare. Proving that executive producer Michael Bay has both grown up but it still frightfully in tune with what jazzes teens, this surprise box office hit is indeed a nice slice of a blockbuster spectacle, whether or not a viewer cares about the turtles or not.

  • HoliDaze Front

    CHICAGO – Need a break from the noise of the holidays? Step Up Productions, – in residence at Chicago Dramatists Theater – present “HoliDaze,” a collection of six one-act plays, all dealing with the nature and nurture of the season. The showcase runs through December 21st, 2014.

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