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Jennifer Jason Leigh

Film Review: ‘Morgan’ Takes Out Intelligence in Artificial Intelligence

CHICAGO – There is nothing like the feeling of watching a completely immersive sci-fi film that delivers the complexity of technology in a modest package, and uses elements of nature to create a beautiful contrast. Unfortunately, “Morgan” doesn’t deliver on the enlightenment it promises.

Film Review: Uneven ‘Anomalisa’ is an Animated Reflection Back to Us

CHICAGO – There is directness in the reflective philosophy of “Anomalisa,” but there is also a sense of disconnection. From writer/co-director Charlie Kaufman (“Being John Malkovich”) comes another meditation on the life of life, and the twists of fate that inhabit the journey.

Interview: Charlie Kaufman is Animated About ‘Anomalisa’

CHICAGO – Charlie Kaufman is one of the most inventive and creative minds in film – he has written “Being John Malkovich,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Adaptation.” He recently teamed up with an animation director, Duke Johnson, to produce an unusual and contemporary stop-motion film, “Anomalisa.”

Film Review: Quentin Tarantino Stays Familiar in ‘The Hateful Eight’

CHICAGO – Story-wise, there is not much difference in “The Hateful Eight” – regarding themes and violence – that writer/director Quentin Tarantino hasn’t explored before. But it is also an outrageous and big western tale, and it’s presented in some theaters in a huge 70mm screen format.

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.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins Fest

    CHICAGO – It’s 3am on Saturday night/Sunday morning on August 20th, and you’re just not ready to quit. How about indulging in the 2016 “Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins” Theater Festival? The three-day theater marathon is in its 28th edition, and will be sponsored for the final time by the Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company, and hosted by the “Godfather of Storefront Theater,” Rich Cotovsky. It all takes place at the Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee in Chicago (details below).

  • aJMfront.jpg

    CHICAGO – No one would call talented one-man-show artist John Michael conventional, at least if they are in their right mind. So ironically, after tackling sexually transmitted disease in his last solo performance, he takes on the vagrancies of old age and caring for elderly patients in his truly heartfelt “Dementia Me.”

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