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Jason Clarke

Film Review: Dull Soap Opera in ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’

CHICAGO – “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” just goes to show you can have the most expensive and best looking visual effects money can buy, but it doesn’t mean a damn thing if you haven’t got a good tale to tell.

Blu-ray Review: Lavish Release For Frustrating ‘The Great Gatsby’

The Great Gatsby

CHICAGO – God, I want to love “The Great Gatsby,” on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Bros. tomorrow, August 27, 2013. I adore “Moulin Rouge!” and think Baz Luhrmann’s approach to the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic was a daring one. And, watching the film again at home, in a great 2D/HD transfer instead of a garish 3D one, I found more to respect here.

Film Review: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx in ‘White House Down’

CHICAGO – How could a movie in which the President shoots a rocket from the back of a limousine during a car chase on the White House lawn possibly be boring? Roland Emmerich somehow finds a way in the numbing “White House Down,” a movie that make absolutely no sense but fails to entertain as B-movie escapism (as his movies sometimes have in the past).

Film Review: Hollow ‘The Great Gatsby’ Mistakes Glitz For Passion

CHICAGO – There’s a scene in “The Great Gatsby” in which Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) is gleefully throwing multi-colored clothes down upon a smiling, spinning Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan). While she seems happy at first, she ends up covered in colored fabric and crying. I knew how she felt.

DVD Review: Kathryn Bigelow’s Incredible ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Deserves More

Zero Dark Thirty

CHICAGO – At one point in awards season, right after it won five Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, including Best Picture, Actress, Screenplay, and Director, it really looked like Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” was going to be the most award-winning film of 2012. When all was said and done, it only won a single Oscar for Sound Editing and Bigelow wasn’t even nominated.

Film Review: Jingoistic ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Highlights the Mission

CHICAGO – Despite an obsession for killing a single man to represent a foggy revenge, “Zero Dark Thirty” is an effective thriller in the actual re-creation of that Navy Seal operation. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”), the all-star cast is led by a miscast Jessica Chastain.

Film Review: ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Turns CIA Procedural Into Riveting Thriller

CHICAGO – Kathryn Bigelow opens her stunning “Zero Dark Thirty” with a date and a series of voice mail recordings. The date is, of course, September 11, 2001 and the recordings are the ghosts of the people who died that day, perfectly setting the stakes for the story to come – the hunt for and capture of Osama Bin Laden.

Film Review: Tom Hardy Leads Great Cast in Disappointing ‘Lawless’

CHICAGO – John Hillcoat’s “Lawless,” based on Matt Bondurant’s “The Wettest County in the World,” is one of the most high profile disappointments of 2012, a film with an amazing cast that suffocates under the weight of an inconsistent script, a boring lead, and a complete lack of narrative drive.

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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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