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John Slattery

Film Review: ‘Spotlight’ Offers a Relevant First Draft to History

CHICAGO – “Spotlight” is a movie which aspires to greatness and oftentimes just about gets there. It’s a movie that is thoroughly confident that the process of journalism and a great story provides all the excitement it needs to grab an audience’s attention. And what a great story it is.

Film Review: A Perfect Paul Rudd, Michael Peña Bring Often-Overlooked Humor to ‘Ant-Man’

CHICAGO – In 1989, Rick Moranis played a scientist father in “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” who accidentally shrinks kids to the size of insects. But dating back to a first appearance in 1962, Marvel Comics first published the Ant-Man character. His persona was the superhero alias of the scientist Hank Pym after inventing a substance that allowed him to shrink himself.

Film Review: ‘Ted 2’ is a Funnier Film Than it Deserves to Be

CHICAGO – While it’s cruder and it can’t quite match the original “Ted,” “Ted 2” is still funnier than it has any right to be. It is unmistakably a Seth MacFarlane production, and there are a million reasons why this movie shouldn’t work, chief among them a plot that attempts to plop a foul mouthed talking teddy bear into a moralistic legal parable about civil rights. But I can’t deny I laughed throughout, almost despite myself.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Passes to ‘Ted 2’ With Mark Wahlberg

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 40 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated comedy sequel “Ted 2” starring Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane and Amanda Seyfried!

Film Review: Philip Seymour Hoffman Lives Again in ‘God’s Pocket’

God's Pocket

CHICAGO – Watching Philip Seymour Hoffman perform, now that he has passed on, is a bittersweet reminder of his ability and power to embody his deeply felt characters. He does it again in one of his last roles, adding his special brand of acting to the messy story within the gritty noir drama, “God’s Pocket.”

TV Review: Characters of ‘Mad Men’ Getting Lost in Changing World

CHICAGO – Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is no longer the most popular person in the room. Time, depression, alcoholism, and the changing politics have altered this character, once such a vital force of human nature. Remember the days when everything Don said hit with the client? When he could juggle secret pasts and multiple mistresses? One of the most prominent arcs of “Mad Men” overall has been how that Don is fading away as the ’60s head toward the next decade.

Blu-ray Review: Strong Release For Fifth Season of ‘Mad Men’

Mad Men S5 (cropped)

CHICAGO – It may feel like the bloom is off the rose a little bit for “Mad Men” as the AMC hit has seen some of its acclaim stolen by other cable hits like “Breaking Bad,” “Homeland,” and “The Walking Dead.” And yet this is still a great show with yet another stellar Blu-ray season release from Lionsgate. Complete with commentaries and interesting special features, this release is in keeping with the stellar first four season releases for this multi-Emmy-Award winner.

DVD Review: ‘Return’ Features Oscar-Caliber Work From Linda Cardellini

Return DVD Review

CHICAGO – It’s an evening typical of so many American homes. Tom Bergeron’s smarmy voice fills the air as televised pratfalls are accompanied by the mechanical laughter of a studio audience. A father chuckles and winces at the mindless spectacle while relaxing on the couch with his children. His wife, on the other hand, remains restless. She fails to find any sense of comfort in the nightly routine.

TV Review: AMC’s ‘Mad Men’ Shows No Signs of Creative Fatigue in Fifth Season Premiere

CHICAGO – The long-awaited return of AMC’s four-time Emmy Best Drama winner “Mad Men” is finally here and there seems to be more doubt than ever before. Will the 17 months since a new episode hurt the show creatively? Can “Mad Men” stay as culturally important and creatively consistent this far into its run or will it start to struggle?

Blu-Ray Review: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt in ‘The Adjustment Bureau’

The Adjustment Bureau

CHICAGO – “The Adjustment Bureau” was a surprising success in a season full of them (“Hanna,” “Source Code,” “Win Win,” more), earning strong reviews and breaking $100 million worldwide. That may not seem like a blockbuster for Matt Damon but when one considers that this is an existential, sci-fi, noir, romantic action movie, it doesn’t exactly scream obvious financial success. And it’s the kind of film that I suspect will grow in esteem over the years as its fans share it with their friends. A great Blu-ray release with excellent supplemental material doesn’t hurt.

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  • Merry Widow, The

    CHICAGO – Standing up at the Lyric Opera house in Chicago is unusual before a show. But in this case, it was the night after a tragedy, and the operetta “The Merry Widow” – set in Paris, France, in 1905 – was about to unfold. The orchestra struck up La Marseillaise, a reminder that we’ll always have Paris.

  • Black White Love Play

    CHICAGO – The love story of a prominent Chicago celebrity couple becomes the basis for a metaphoric and tuneful celebration about courage and coming together. “The Black White Love Play: The Story of Chaz & Roger Ebert” – written and directed by Black Ensemble Theater’s Jackie Taylor – portrays the film critic and the civil rights lawyer in their time, but also creates an atmosphere of emotion through song, sorrow and jubilation.


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