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John Michael Higgins

Interview: Omar Epps & D.C. Young Fly of ‘Almost Christmas’

CHICAGO – Every year, the “season” gets earlier and earlier, and the first out of the gate for the holidays is the new film, “Almost Christmas.” This warm-hearted comedy involves a large African American family gathering at the Yuletide, and features Danny Glover, Gabrielle Union, Omar Epps, and introducing D.C. Young Fly.

Film Review: Sequel’s Tune is Off Key in ‘Pitch Perfect 2’

Pitch Perfect 2

CHICAGO – “Pitch Perfect 2” wasn’t bad. There was the same off-kilter weirdness and funny lines of the first film, but in this sequel there were also stretches of boring, seemingly made-up stuff to slog through. I guess repeating a premise about college singing groups doesn’t offer much more to say.

Film Review: The Gang Happily Reunites in ‘The Best Man Holiday’

CHICAGO – Like a black “Big Chill,” the gang from the 1999 essential film “The Best Man” reunite to see old friends, celebrate the season, open old wounds and bury the past in a surprisingly serious yet emotionally spiritual sequel “The Best Man Holiday.”

Film Review: ‘Pitch Perfect’ Succeeds By Making Fun of Itself

CHICAGO – When we last saw Anna Kendrick, she was the mid-twentysomething girlfriend of cop Jake Gyllenhaal in “End of Watch.” This week, she reverts back to freshman year in college, portraying a rebellious D.J. and songstress in the not-taking-themselves-seriously “Pitch Perfect.”

Blu-ray Review: Huge Collection of Special Features For Sweet ‘We Bought a Zoo’

We Bought a Zoo

CHICAGO – Cameron Crowe’s “We Bought a Zoo” should have made more money. Sure, it’s a cheesy slice of family entertainment but when the cheese is this well-crafted, performed, and delivered, one can’t complain too much about it. “We Bought a Zoo” is too long, not subtle enough, and pretty manipulative, but it the manipulation works. Matt Damon is stellar (as he always seems to be lately) and Crowe tells this old-fashioned tale with enough skill to make it entertaining. “We Bought a Zoo” is one of those rare cross-demographic films — from children to grandparents — that doesn’t insult the intelligence of any of them.

Film Review: Matt Damon Closes Deal in ‘We Bought a Zoo’

CHICAGO – Cameron Crowe’s “We Bought a Zoo” is an undeniably manipulative crowd-pleaser but there’s something about being manipulated in such an expert manner that makes the tugging on the heartstrings easier to take.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Bad Teacher’ With Cameron Diaz Isn’t Very Good

Bad Teacher

CHICAGO – Everyone in “Bad Teacher” is talented and they all do good work here but it’s one of those weird films that never develops an overall comic timing. Every time it feels like it’s about to find a groove and develop a rhythm, there’s a scene that just doesn’t work. It’s a moderately entertaining rental that isn’t nearly as entertaining as its trailers made it out to be.

Film Review: Cameron Diaz Commits Sin of Boredom in ‘Bad Teacher’

Bad Teacher

CHICAGO – If you’re going to be bad, be bad. But this is mainstream Hollywood “product,” starring Cameron Diaz, and while the concept of the new film “Bad Teacher” had promise, it eventually fell down on the weight of happy resolutions and the worse mortal sin for a comedy…it was dull.

Slideshow: 29-Image Gallery For ‘The Ugly Truth’ With Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler

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Katherine Heigl stars in Columbia Pictures comedy The Ugly Truth.

CHICAGO – This 29-image slideshow contains the official press images for “The Ugly Truth,” starring Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, Eric Winter, John Michael Higgins, Nick Searcy, Kevin Connolly, and Cheryl Hines. It was written by Nicole Eastman and Karen McCullah Lutz & Kirsten Smith. The film opens on July 24th, 2009.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Orange is the New Black

    CHICAGO – Orange Day is Friday (July 27, 2018)… as in “Orange is the New Black.” That’s when Season Six will be available for download from Netflix, as the online series continues to showcase the women inmates at Litchfield Penitentiary, three of whom are played by Taylor Schilling (Piper), Kate Mulgrew (Red) and Dascha Polanco (Daya).

  • Everybody, Brown Paper Box Co

    CHICAGO – When is the last time a stage play, based in an intimate setting, made you think about your life, death, and the destiny inherent in both? “Everybody,” staged by Brown Paper Box Co. (BPBCo), is such a play, and the energetic aura and sense of surprise that the show contains is soul soothing wonder. The show has various evening/matinee performances at the Pride Arts Center in Chicago run through August 12, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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