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John Leguizamo

Film Review: Matthew McConaughey Nearly Saves Problematic ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’

CHICAGO – Proving yet again that he can deliver when he avoids horrendous romantic comedy cliches, Matthew McConaughey does his best work in years in “The Lincoln Lawyer,” but the film doesn’t quite come together like one wishes that it would due to the common traps that befall big screen adaptations of best-selling thrillers.

Blu-Ray Review: Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Moulin Rouge!,’ ‘Romeo + Juliet’ Made For HD

Moulin Rouge

CHICAGO – Baz Luhrmann has made two great films and one masterpiece in “Strictly Ballroom,” “William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet,” and “Moulin Rouge!” and the latter two are finally available on Blu-ray, the format for which they were made. In the only way we should expect from a perfectionist like Luhrmann, both films have been lovingly remastered in HD and accompanied by excellent special features. They’re a pair of great HD releases.

Blu-Ray Review: Third ‘Ice Age’ Sticks to Frigid Formula

Ice Age 3

CHICAGO – When did “gentleness” first become “unhip” in children’s films? Practically every studio in America, with the exception of Pixar, feels the need to make their “all ages” entertainment as abrasive, dumb and crude as their escapism targeted at teens and simple-minded adults.

DVD Round Up, Oct. 30, 2009: ‘Sauna,’ ‘The Tournament,’ ‘The Butcher’

The Tournament

CHICAGO – Many editions of the DVD Round-Up have featured a different genre and focus for each title within it. This week seems a little more thematically linked as we have a trio of foreign horror films and a few more independent films than usual. Of course, there has to a holiday comedy to spice things up.

Video: Teaser Trailer For ‘Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs’ Game

Ice Age 3 game

CHICAGO – All good summer movies come with video game tie-ins and Activision sent over a new vignette from their summer offering, “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” which will ship to retail stores in June for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, DS, and PC.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Righteous Kill’ Represents New Low For Talented Actors

Righteous Kill

CHICAGO – “Is it killing time or is he just killing time?” If you don’t groan at a line of dialogue that shockingly horrendous then we’ve got a Blu-Ray release for you. Marking a new low in a baffling series of career decisions for two of the best actors of all time, “Righteous Kill” is as much an unqualified disaster on Blu-Ray as it was when critics ridiculed it and audiences ignored it in theaters.

‘Nothing Like the Holidays’ Does Nothing to Stand Out From Christmas Movie Crowd

Nothing Like the Holidays

CHICAGO – When it was still called “Humboldt Park” and was probably more closely related to Chicago’s thriving Hispanic neighborhood, Alfredo De Villa’s “Nothing Like the Holidays” was probably a lot more interesting than the cookie-cutter dramedy that ended up on the big screen.

Exclusive Red-Carpet Portraits: Luis Guzman, Freddy Rodriguez, Elizabeth Pena For ‘Nothing Like the Holidays’

CHICAGO – Luis Guzman, Freddy Rodriguez and Elizabeth Pena were in Chicago on a snowy Dec. 1, 2008 for the red-carpet premiere of the new Chicago-filmed movie “Nothing Like the Holidays” at the Music Box Theatre.

Like a Bad ‘Law & Order,’ ‘Righteous Kill’ With Al Pacino, Robert De Niro Lacks ‘Heat’

CHICAGO – Last fall, Francis Ford Coppola made the comment that Al Pacino and Robert De Niro (along with Jack Nicholson) had lost their ambition. Coppola essentially said they have been phoning in their performances and picking safer movies. “Righteous Kill” could be the case study to that argument.

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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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