CHICAGO – The venerable musical “The King and I,” by the legendary team of (Richard) Rodgers and (Oscar) Hammerstein, is now 65 years old. The Lyric Opera of Chicago is injecting fresh life into this senior aged play, with a sumptuous new production that is top drawer at every level.
CHICAGO – Jason Segel is a real mensch. The tall and angular actor is open, active and caring about his career, and he fulfills another part of his performance evolution in director James Ponsoldt’s “The End of the Tour.” Segel portrays author David Foster Wallace, when he appeared on behalf of his 1996 novel “Infinite Jest.”
CHICAGO – The showcase and respect given to filmmakers at the recently completed 2015 Chicago Critics Film Festival (CCFF) meant that the top directors made appearances on behalf of their featured films. James Ponsoldt of “The End of the Tour” and Patrick Brice of “The Overnight” are two prime artists at the top of their game.
CHICAGO – The recently completed 2015 Chicago Critics Festival was heavy on celebrity and filmmaker appearances. One of those special appearances was Oscar nominated actress Joan Cusack, who represented the film “The End of the Tour” on May 6th, and her Q&A was moderated by film critic Richard Roeper.
CHICAGO – Was “Toy Story 3” the last great Pixar production? With the modest critical reaction to “Cars 2,” “Brave,” and “Monsters University,” it seems an entirely defensible position to take. In fact, one could easily argue that “Small Fry,” the “Toy Story” short that premiered with “The Muppets,” and “Partysaurus Rex,” which played with “Finding Nemo 3D,” should be considered higher on the Pixar hierarchy than “Cars 2” and maybe even “Brave.”
CHICAGO – Rarely has a theatrical kids movie been more of a complete disaster than “Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. The film was such a train wreck that it sat on the shelf for years and was unceremoniously dumped in theaters in early 2011 with nearly no marketing and no promotion. The film barely crested $10 million at the domestic box office (only 20% of the original’s take) and I feel sorry for those paying customers. This is a truly soulless, horrendous piece of animated filmmaking, one of the worst films of 2011.
CHICAGO – In our latest comedy/animation/family edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: DVD, we have 10 DVDs up for grabs in advance of the home entertainment release of “Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil” with Hayden Panettiere!
CHICAGO – Sometimes all a film needs is a bad title to repel audiences. “Mars Needs Moms” is based on the Berkeley Breathed picture book of the same name, which derived its own title from the 1966 film, “Mars Needs Women.” Even as an obscure homage, the title falls flat, and most certainly could’ve been replaced. Yet that’s not the only reason why this woefully overlooked film became one of the biggest box office bombs in history.
CHICAGO – “Mars Needs Moms” is an animated epic that takes its time to build toward the message, but the path to that real emotion is decorated with spectacular imagery and sprightly comedy. It’s Mom, apple pie and motion capture technology.
CHICAGO – James L. Brooks “Broadcast News” should serve as a stark reminder of how far the romantic comedy has fallen. Believe it or not, young readers, there was a time, not that long ago, when rom-coms weren’t mostly horrendous dreck. There have even been a few nominated for Oscars, including even Best Picture.
CHICAGO – Showtime has built a critical and award-winning reputation around strong lead characters for some of our most best TV actors: Michael C. Hall in “Dexter,” Edie Falco in “Nurse Jackie,” Mary-Louise Parker in “Weeds,” Laura Linney in “The Big C,” and Toni Collette in “United States of Tara” are only a few examples.