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Jennifer Jason Leigh

Blu-ray Review: Teen Movies Don’t Get Better Than ‘The Spectacular Now’

The Spectacular Now

We are surrounded by fiction about teenagers that treats both its subjects and its target audience like idiots. So few filmmakers understand the problems and emotions of young people that when a film as great as “The Spectacular Now” comes along (my #13 of 2013), it’s a small miracle. Reminiscent of the best of Cameron Crowe, James Ponsoldt’s adaptation of Tim Tharp’s novel (from a script robbed of an Oscar nod by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber) is a fantastic drama about a kid realizing that he may be peaking in high school. The Blu-ray is well-accompanied by a fantastic commentary from Ponsoldt, 20 minutes of deleted scenes, and featurettes.

Film Review: Daniel Radcliffe Finds a Beat in ‘Kill Your Darlings’

CHICAGO – The movies has been berry berry good to 1950s Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsburg. For the sixth time since 2009, his persona is actualized on celluloid – this time by Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe – in the coming-of-age part of the poet’s story, “Kill Your Darlings.”

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Handpicked by Chicago Critics, 30 Pairs of ‘The Spectacular Now’ Tix

CHICAGO – HollywoodChicago.com hooks you up to see the very best movies (large and indie) for free before anyone else can. While we’ve been doing that since 2008, in this rare Hookup we offer up advance-screening tickets to a film that has been specifically handpicked by Chicago film critics.

TV Review: Showtime’s ‘Weeds’ Returns For Promising Final Season

CHICAGO – Jenji Kohan’s “Weeds” was one of the best comedies on television in its first few seasons on Showtime. From 2005-2008, it was easily one of the best half-hour programs on TV, netting Emmy nominations every year, including ones for Best Comedy, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Dazed and Confused,’ ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’

Dazed and Confused

CHICAGO – Is there something special about 8/9/11 like 4:20? The notorious smoke-down time is well-known but I ask about August 9th because it’s a date with a massive influx of pot-themed movies, including new hits like “Paul” and “Your Highness” (which we’ll cover with full reviews soon) and re-releases of classics like “Dazed and Confused” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” both hitting the HD format tomorrow. It’s a stoner free-for-all!

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Greenberg’ Marks Noah Baumbach’s Return to Form

Greenberg Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – What has attracted Noah Baumbach to the mumblecore movement? Has he noticed similarities between the developmentally arrested misanthropes of his pictures and the ambling twentysomethings that populate micro-budget indies from filmmakers such as Joe Swanberg, Andrew Bujalski and the Duplass brothers? With “Greenberg,” his third and best feature to date, Baumbach draws a link between two generations, uniting them in their shared angst.

Blu-Ray Review: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ensemble Make Trip to ‘Synecdoche, New York’ Worthwhile

Synecdoche, New York
HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – With one of the most ambitious screenplays of 2008 and one of the most talented ensembles in years, “Synecdoche, New York,” now on Blu-Ray, is a must-see for fans of Charlie Kaufman’s earlier screenwriting work (“Adaptation,” “Being John Malkovich,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) and the incredible ensemble, including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, and Michelle Williams.

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  • 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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