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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

  • The Projects

    CHICAGO – The legacy of public housing is one of the strangest forces of karma in the City of Chicago. For example, sites that were once some of the roughest and most neglected housing for the poor now contain luxury condos. It is the people of those former hellholes that still remember the sorrowful history of what they once called home. The American Theater Company (ATC) have gathered these stories for the poignant and extraordinary “The Projects.”

  • Gambler, The 2

    CHICAGO – Browsing Dostoyevsky titles with consideration for proper roles for Mark Wahlberg, one might expect the Beantown hero to take on an adaptation of “The Idiot” before anything like “The Gambler.” After all, while Wahlberg has proven to be a diverse screen force - one who has well-grown past his Funky Bunch days - he often leans towards goofy men, or at least goofy men in goofy movies.

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