CHICAGO – If you can remember the 1990s outside of childhood, you are in the glow of middle age, so congratulations. The Brown Paper Box Co. theater ensemble takes us back to those thrilling days of yesteryear with “Spike Heels,” a relationship comedy centering on the co-mingling antics of two couples, with a slight nod toward George Bernard Shaw and the play “Pygmalion” (or its musical counterpart, “My Fair Lady”).
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.
CHICAGO – It’s always wonderful to see Blu-ray karma turn out the way it should. Blu-ray critics often see great releases with perfect HD and interesting special features for awful movies. Conversely, it’s not uncommon for great films to be given lackluster home releases. “Toy Story 3” is not only one of the best films of 2010, it’s one of the best Blu-rays as well.
CHICAGO – “Toy Story 3” has held onto the top spot at the box office for two straight weekends, and Joan Cusack – the voice of Jessie in the film – lent her star power to the debut of the doll based on her character. She appeared at the Disney Store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and was photographed by HollywoodChicago.com’s Joe Arce.
CHICAGO – Very few recent films are as purely entertaining or thematically satisfying as Pixar’s “Toy Story 3,” not only one of the best films of the year but one of the best in the history of animation. Brilliantly tying up the two films that came before in a way that so many sequels fail to do, the geniuses at Pixar have done it again. It’s another masterpiece.