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Jena Malone

Film Review: ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’ Shouldn’t Have Been Split in Two

CHICAGO – My issue with the “one movie split into two parts” debate isn’t even about money, which is clearly the main reason why we’ve seen blockbuster films do it like the two-part “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” and now the two-part “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay”.

Film Review: Entertaining, Complex ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

CHICAGO – Second acts to incredibly popular and entertaining mainstream fare can be a tough prospect. For every “The Dark Knight,” there are too many films like “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” – works that essentially just repeat what audiences fell in love with instead of trying to expand on the world of their predecessors.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 10 Pairs of ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Passes with Live Red-Carpet Stream

CHICAGORare! One of 2013’s most anticipated films! In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 10 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” starring Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson with a live red-carpet stream from the Los Angeles premiere!

Blu-ray Review: Impressive Scope of Mini-Series ‘Hatfields & McCoys’

Hatfields & McCoys

CHICAGO – The History Channel waited years to debut their first narrative property but the wait seemed to be worth it both for fans and for the network that’s probably still counting their profits from one of the biggest TV events of 2012 and one of the year’s most notable Emmy nominees. I had my doubts going into the recent Blu-ray release of “Hatfields & McCoys” but this is an impressive mini-series of the type they don’t really make any more. It’s not surprising it was huge in the ratings and I expect the Blu-ray to sell for years (especially around Father’s Day and the holidays).

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Donnie Darko: 10th Anniversary Edition’ Feels Like Overkill

Donnie Darko

CHICAGO – A little over two years ago, Fox released a two-disc director’s cut Blu-ray of “Donnie Darko” that had a somewhat-mediocre HD transfer but enough quality special features to make up for it. With hours of bonus material, it seemed like the definitive edition. Nothing is definitive with Fox and now we have a 10th Anniversary Edition of this cult classic with four discs in one set. If you already own it and don’t need the digital copy, then this is overkill. If not, it’s the NEW definitive edition of a beloved film. For now.

Blu-Ray Review: Extended Cut of Controversial ‘Sucker Punch’

Sucker Punch

CHICAGO – We’ve seen a lot of overly stylized films based on video games and comic books but rarely has there been a movie more derivative of other mediums yet not actually based on one than Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch,” a movie loathed by dozens of major critics (and defended by our very own Patrick McDonald) and recently released on Blu-ray and DVD in a 17-minute longer extended cut.

Film Review: ‘Sucker Punch’ Has Dazzling Imagery, Wham-Bam

CHICAGO – It’s a pleasure to see the comic book film done right, especially with the visionary guidance of director Zach Snyder (”300”). “Sucker Punch” is an amazing treat, a feast of eye candy and incredible adventure.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 30 Pairs of Chicago Passes to Zack Snyder’s ‘Sucker Punch’ With Vanessa Hudgens

Sucker Punch from Zack Snyder with Vanessa Hudgens

CHICAGO – In our latest fantasy/action edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 30 admit-two passes up for grabs to the advance Chicago screening of the new film “Sucker Punch” from “Watchmen” and “300” director Zack Snyder!

Blu-Ray Review: Honest, Human Drama of Excellent ‘The Messenger’

The Messenger

CHICAGO – Just before the Oscar nominations for 2009 were to be announced, a few pundits went out on a limb and predicted that not only would Oren Moverman’s “The Messenger” be nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Woody Harrelson) and Best Original Screenplay but that it would also find its way into several more categories, including even Best Picture.

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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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