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Joan Cusack

Interview: Jason Segel on the Origins of ‘The End of the Tour’

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.”

Interviews: Two More Filmmakers at 2015 Chicago Critics Film Festival

James Ponsoldt, photo by Joe Arce

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.

Interviews: Joan Cusack, Richard Roeper Make Appearances at 2015 Chicago Critics Film Festival

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.

TV Review: Clever, Fun ‘Toy Story of Terror’ Makes ABC Debut

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.”

Blu-Ray Review: Horrible ‘Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil’

Hoodwinked Too

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.

Blu-Ray Review: Disney’s ‘Mars Needs Moms’ Surprises, Delights

Mars Needs Moms Blu-Ray

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.

Film Review: Spectacle, Emotion Propel Animation in ‘Mars Needs Moms’

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.

Blu-Ray Review: Brilliant ‘Broadcast News’ Joins Criterion Collection

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.

TV Review: William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum Save Troubled ‘Shameless’

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.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Pippin

    CHICAGO – It is the simple, timeless stories that work best when they are mounted again on Broadway, and the musical “Pippin” stays true to that assertion. Taking the concepts and the songs from a play that debuted in 1972, and featuring one of those original cast members in a key role, the National Touring revival of “Pippin” is being performed in Chicago at the Cadillac Theatre until August 9th, 2015.

  • Lori Petty, photo by Joe Arce

    CHICAGO – Lori Petty will never be predictable, nor put into some show business box. The free-wheelin’ Ms. P applies her expansive performance skills to the role of Lolly – a guest spot that turned into a recurring character – on Netflix’s hot series “Orange is the New Black,” which released its third season on June 12th, 2015.

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