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John C. Reilly

Film Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ a Gleeful Space Romp

Guardians of the Galaxy

CHICAGO – “Guardians Of The Galaxy” is a gleeful Star Wars knockoff dressed up in Marvel Comics clothing. It occupies the same universe as Marvel’s other properties, but its tone is decidedly sillier. It has a spirit more akin to the later joke heavy installments of the Star Trek franchise or low budget exploitation mogul Roger Corman’s “Battle Beyond The Stars” than the ponderous pontificating of “Thor.”

HollywoodChicago.com Suburban Hookup: 50 Pairs of Guaranteed Tix to ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’

CHICAGOGuaranteed tickets in the Chicago suburbs! In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening guaranteed tickets up for grabs to the highly anticipated sequel “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” starring Will Ferrell!

Blu-ray Review: Solid Release For Entertaining ‘Wreck-It Ralph’

Wreck It Ralph

CHICAGO – Disney’s hit “Wreck-It Ralph,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, fits one of the most important criteria for a parent considering picking up a kid’s movie to own — replay value. As anyone with kids can tell you, if you buy something, you best be ready to watch it over and over and over again. And “Ralph” holds up surprisingly well. I’m still a little surprised it received the level of acclaim it did with some even suggesting it should win the Oscar (we all know that should have been “ParaNorman”) but it’s a good movie to throw on if your kids need a distraction with a good message. And the Blu-ray includes the Oscar winner for Best Animated Short, the great “Paperman.”

Film Review: Voice Cast Delights in Wonderful ‘Wreck-It Ralph’

CHICAGO – The nostalgia of the old video game arcade comes to life in a charming and fun way in the new Disney film, “Wreck-It Ralph.” One of the strengths is the precise selection of celebrity voices used to animate the rollicking characters. John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman and Jane Lynch are part of the familiar voice cast.

Blu-ray Review: Sacha Baron Cohen is Fearless in Inconsistent ‘The Dictator’

The Dictator

CHICAGO – Sacha Baron Cohen is undeniably fearless. He is the kind of voice we need in mainstream comedy — someone who is willing to go to any extreme for a joke. At his best, he’s one of the most creative and intelligent comedians alive. However, he’s been unable recently to deliver consistent films as “Bruno” disappointed and “The Dictator,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, has some very funny moments but wears out its welcome at even a short running time.

Blu-ray Review: Tilda Swinton Captivates in ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’

We Need to Talk About Kevin Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Many critics failed to take Lynne Ramsay’s “We Need to Talk About Kevin” seriously, dismissing it as an art house retread of “The Omen.” Such a simplistic label fails to take into account the film’s carefully textured portrait of a deeply fractured mother-son relationship. Though the film takes its premise to melodramatic extremes, it does harbor considerable insight into the repercussions of a disconnect between parent and child.

Film Review: Funny, Political ‘The Dictator’ with Sacha Baron Cohen

CHICAGO – Ali G, Borat, Bruno and the Stationmaster Guy in “Hugo” is now “The Dictator.” Sacha Baron Cohen puts on another character mask and produces his usual style of cheap laughs with a surprising sense of political sharpness. Anna Faris and Ben Kingsley go along for the ride.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Chicago Passes to Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘The Dictator’

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the highly anticipated “R”-rated comedy “The Dictator” from the warped mind of Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat,” “Brüno”)!

Blu-ray Review: Roman Polanski’s ‘Carnage’ with Jodie Foster Just Misses

Carnage

CHICAGO – Why doesn’t “Carnage” live up to its pedigree? With a certified genius like Roman Polanski behind the camera, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play as its source, and a cast in which three of the only four roles are played by actors who have won Oscars, one might have expected this to be a creative home run. It’s not. It’s a decent rental and there are some strong performances, but it’s not quite what it should have been. And a mediocre Blu-ray release from Sony does nothing to change that opinion.

Interview: Director Jay Duplass Reveals ‘Jeff, Who Lives at Home’

CHICAGO – The brother directing team of Jay and Mark Duplass have been climbing the success ladder since starting their careers as independent film darlings in 2002. After winning acclaim in 2010 with the offbeat “Cyrus,” they are back with “Jeff, Who Lives at Home,” featuring Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Judy Greer and Susan Sarandon.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Megan Fox

    CHICAGO - Look past the cheesy carbs and b-boy poses, this shiny mo-cap reboot of cartoon juggernaut “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” offers slick entertainment that makes for a welcome surprise for middle school fare. Proving that executive producer Michael Bay has both grown up but it still frightfully in tune with what jazzes teens, this surprise box office hit is indeed a nice slice of a blockbuster spectacle, whether or not a viewer cares about the turtles or not.

  • HoliDaze Front

    CHICAGO – Need a break from the noise of the holidays? Step Up Productions, – in residence at Chicago Dramatists Theater – present “HoliDaze,” a collection of six one-act plays, all dealing with the nature and nurture of the season. The showcase runs through December 21st, 2014.

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