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Jennifer Garner

Blu-ray Review: Deplorable ‘Butter’ Deserves to be Recalled

Butter Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Liberals have it easy at the movies. They can go an entire year without having to endure more than a handful of films attacking their ideology with varying degrees of intelligence. For every “An American Carol” or “Atlas Shrugged,” there are countless other pictures portraying rural right-wingers as simple-minded morons.

Blu-ray Review: Bizarre Misfire ‘The Odd Life of Timothy Green’ Falls Flat

The Odd Life of Timothy Green Blu-ray

CHICAGO – “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” is the sort of extravagantly wrong-headed misfire that perhaps only could’ve been made by talented people. The director is Peter Hedges, an accomplished screenwriter best known for adapting his excellent book, “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” for the big screen. The ensemble cast reads like a roll call of America’s most reliable character actors.

Film Review: ‘The Odd Life of Timothy Green’ Misses Emotional Connection

CHICAGO – Peter Hedges’ “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” has a warm, gooey center that’s admirable in a family movie way but what’s around it can’t hold together as the lack of focus in the narrative and the rather grating performance from the young man playing its title character causes it to annoy more than entertain.

Film News: ‘The Descendants,’ ‘Butter’ Added to 2011 Chicago International Film Festival

The Descendants

CHICAGO – Two highly anticipated films have been added to the 47th Chicago International Film Festival lineup: “The Descendants” and “Butter.” The two new films, both having their Chicago premiere at the festival, will play on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011 and Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011 respectively.

Blu-Ray Review: Noxious ‘Arthur’ Highlights Bad Decisions

Arthur

CHICAGO – Have we reached such a politically-correct place in our culture that drinking excessively can’t be seen as humorous even in a dumb comedy? How else to explain the boneheaded decision to basically make the legendary character of Arthur Bach (played by Dudley Moore in the Oscar-winning original and Russell Brand in the potential-Razzie-winning remake) into a man-child instead of an actual drunk? That decision (along with a few others) sunk “Arthur,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, before it even shot a frame. Although the actual production didn’t help.

Blu-Ray Review: Original ‘Arthur’ Movies Available to Compare to Russell Brand Remake

Arthur (original)

CHICAGO – Critics were pretty hard on the remake of “Arthur” starring Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner, and Greta Gerwig (including our very own Patrick McDonald, who gave the film 2 stars out of five) and the film relatively bombed at the box office, opening in 2nd place to “Hop” and making only $12.7 million in its first frame with a lower per-screen average than “Hanna” or “Soul Surfer.” Now you can compare the new version to the award-winning original and its dreadful sequel in a 2-movie collection, now on Blu-ray.

Film Review: Russell Brand Tries Too Hard in Lame ‘Arthur’

CHICAGO – There are many problems inherent in film remakes, starting with comparisons to the original source. The first “Arthur,” while not a classic, did have a warm, funny story and Dudley Moore’s title performance. The current remake has none of that.

Blu-Ray Review: Romantic Comedy Fans Deserve Better Than ‘Valentine’s Day’

Valentine's Day

CHICAGO – Clearly conceived as something like an American version of “Love Actually,” Garry Marshall’s “Valentine’s Day” is an unqualified disaster, a film that’s only interesting in that it may hold the record for the most household names sucked into one horrible film.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘The Invention of Lying’ Has Killer Concept

The Invention of Lying

CHICAGO – There are so many concepts and clever ideas in “The Invention of Lying,” now available on Blu-ray and DVD, thanks to Ricky Gervais’ skills as a writer that his abilities as an actor and director don’t really know what to do with them. The script for this witty comedy is interesting enough to make it worth a rental but it sometimes moves at an awkward pace and never builds like it might have with a more experienced director.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Pippin

    CHICAGO – It is the simple, timeless stories that work best when they are mounted again on Broadway, and the musical “Pippin” stays true to that assertion. Taking the concepts and the songs from a play that debuted in 1972, and featuring one of those original cast members in a key role, the National Touring revival of “Pippin” is being performed in Chicago at the Cadillac Theatre until August 9th, 2015.

  • Lori Petty, photo by Joe Arce

    CHICAGO – Lori Petty will never be predictable, nor put into some show business box. The free-wheelin’ Ms. P applies her expansive performance skills to the role of Lolly – a guest spot that turned into a recurring character – on Netflix’s hot series “Orange is the New Black,” which released its third season on June 12th, 2015.

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