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Film Review: ‘Veronica Mars’ Wishes it Was Still on TV

CHICAGO – A TV movie for the silver screen, “Veronica Mars” is a historical film that was Kickstarted into existence by the will of 91,585 backers. Now, it stands like a crossroads in the intersection between TV and film, showing that what may work in TV doesn’t necessarily make for a great film.

Blu-ray Review: Even Villainous James Franco Can’t Save Dull ‘Homefront’

Homefront

CHICAGO – Jason Statham has become an amorphous blob in the action genre, but an amorphous blob who is his own archetype, nonetheless. With the “Expendables” movies he began to take the genre torch from Sylvester Stallone, and now working from a script by Stallone in “Homefront”, his Americanization is nearly certified. That being said, watching Jason Statham tattoo a bald eagle on himself might be more enjoyable than his latest addition to a bloated filmography, “Homefront”. That, or staging a debate with Stallone and Statham about gun control.

Interview: New Role for Vanessa Hudgens in ‘Gimme Shelter’

CHICAGO – Vanessa Hudgens, the former teen actor from the “High School Musical” franchise, has a brand new bag. Besides shocking movie audiences with her memorable performance in last year’s “Spring Breakers,” Hudgens deconstructs her glam image in the new film, “Gimme Shelter.”

Film Feature: The Best Supporting Performances of 2013

A divorced father looking for new love, a woman dealing with a relationship that turned from romance to routine years ago, a charismatic drug dealer who spies something new in his web, half of the most fascinating cinematic relationship of the year, and a slave & her brutal owner — 2013 featured numerous memorable performances but these are just a few of the ones that will stand the test of time.

Film Review: Dull ‘Homefront’ Can’t Get Action Into an Action Movie

CHICAGO – Sylvester Stallone is a difficult man to comprehend, unless if doing a thesis on male menopause. The one time screenwriter of gritty soul pictures like “Rocky,” “Paradise Alley” and “First Blood” is spending his later years pumping out undistinguished boom-boom pictures like “Homefront.”

Film Review: Notoriety Triggers the Breaking Point in ‘Lovelace’

CHICAGO – It was one of the strangest star-is-born stories in show business history. One porn film – “Deep Throat” – permeates the American consciousness at precisely the right time. The “lead” actress in the film becomes a household name – and then becomes a victim of it – in ‘Lovelace.’

Blu-ray Review: ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ Sinks Like Leaky Balloon

Oz the Great and Powerful

CHICAGO – Sam Raimi’s “Oz the Great and Powerful” starts so promisingly. The full-frame black-and-white scenes that open the film have a clever charm as they introduce us to the title character (James Franco) and whisk him off to the legendary land of witches and talking scarecrows. And that scene where the film expands as he reaches his fantasy land is a beauty.

Film Review: ‘This is the End’ Turns Stoner Fantasy Into Comedy

CHICAGO – When David Gordon Green’s “Your Highness” hit fans of its writer/director and talented stars like a really bad pot hangover, its creators admitted that the project began life as a stoned what-if scenario. “Hey, let’s make a pot-laced fantasy movie, dude.” Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg’s “This is the End” clearly had similar origins.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to ‘The Iceman’ With Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder

5/10/13 12:46 p.m. update: Due to popular demand, we’ve increased this Hookup from 30 pairs to 50 pairs!
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 50 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of “The Iceman” (a true story!) starring Michael Shannon and Winona Ryder!

Film Review: Bikini Girls with Machine Guns in Mesmerizing ‘Spring Breakers’

CHICAGO – Already hailed as this generation’s “Fight Club,” Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers” is a mesmerizing piece of satire, a journey into the dark side of teenage excess. And what’s a better symbol of excess than the ritual of spring break?

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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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