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Film Review: Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ is Masterful Commentary on Connection

How do we connect with other people? Why do we often push away those we need and stay with those we don’t? Why do we hold on to relationships long after they have stopped working? Is a physical relationship with no intellectual or emotional component somehow more valuable than one that can never be person-to-person but engages on a deeper level? And how do the ways we deal with love and loss impact the way we look at the rest of the world? And why aren’t more movies as good as “Her”?

Film Feature: The Best Lead Performances of 2013

A fictional folk singer who feels real, a real moneymaker who feels fictional, a young woman dealing with her own wounds by helping to heal those of others, and a student discovering her sexuality through the first passionate relationship of her life — 2013 was one of the best years for lead performances in decades.

Blu-ray Review: P.T. Anderson’s Divisive ‘The Master’ Continues to Mesmerize

The Master

CHICAGO – I’m always stunned when anyone calls P.T. Anderson’s very divisive “The Master” boring. There are a number of totally valid criticisms that can be thrown at the film but it’s never boring.

Film Feature: The Best Lead Performances of 2012

CHICAGO – I worked my way through the best supporting performances of 2012 earlier today and I’m back with the much-stronger array of actors and actresses who challenged themselves with great leading performances in film this year.

Film Review: Meandering ‘The Master’ Serves Up Powerful After Effects

CHICAGO – ‘The Master’ is the type of film that invites days of contemplation. It is a film about America, but only a certain type of American. It is a film about the need to belong, but in the end it separates all its characters away from each other. Lead actors Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix radicalize writer/director P.T. Anderson’s strange alchemy.

Film Review: Stunning Ambition Drives P.T. Anderson’s ‘The Master’

CHICAGO – Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” screened publicly last week in Chicago for only the second time in the world. It was shown in glorious 70mm, the format in which the film was shot, but in which most people will never get the chance to see it. While much of the conversation surrounding the screening seemed to hinge around the technical specifications, the increasing dearth of actual film projectors in the city, or the aspects of the plot related to Scientology, those aren’t the elements of the film that have been rolling around my head for the last four days.

Trailer Tracking: ‘Skyfall,’ ‘Gangster Squad,’ ‘The Campaign,’ ’The Master’

CHICAGO – Thanks to the internet, movie trailers are having a bit of a golden age recently. They’ve never had a wider reach and, as a result, they’ve never had a bigger cultural impact.

Film Feature: Top 5 Oscar Nominations We’re Glad Didn’t Happen

CHICAGO – Oscar. The holy day of the film industry. While other film pundits are scrambling for perspective – who made it and who didn’t – we’re giving thanks for the five 2010 films and personalities that didn’t get a nomination for Oscar night.

Film Review: Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck Annoy in Worthless ‘I’m Still Here’

CHICAGO – Is “I’m Still Here,” the story of Joaquin Phoenix’s attempts to leave behind his acting career and try to make it as a hip-hop star, an elaborate piece of performance art or a documentary about an identity crisis of a man committing professional suicide? The problem is that the answer is irrelevant. Either way, “I’m Still Here” is grating, boring, and completely without value.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Free ‘I Am Love’ Signed Poster, Magnolia DVDs to ‘Julia,’ ‘Two Lovers,’ ‘The Answer Man’

CHICAGO – In this edition of the HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: DVD, two lucky winners will clean up with three DVDs from Magnolia Pictures for “Julia,” “Two Lovers” and “The Answer Man” plus a full-size poster for “I Am Love” signed by Oscar-winning star Tilda Swinton and an “I Am Love” soundtrack!

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • The King of Comedy

    Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.

  • 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves

    CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.

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