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Film Review: Oliver Stone’s ‘Savages’ Harpoons Drug War Absurdities

CHICAGO – Director Oliver Stone sees a controversy, and comments on a controversy, in his own distinctive cinematic style. The new film “Savages” is no exception, taking on the U.S./Mexican marijuana wars, with performances by Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Salma Hayek and John Travolta.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Passes to ‘Savages’ From Oliver Stone with Taylor Kitsch

CHICAGOOliver Stone is back! 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 new Oliver Stone film “Savages”!

TV News: Rumors Claim Ricky Gervais Will Host Golden Globes Again

Ricky Gervais, Host of the Golden Globes

CHICAGO – Apparently, Hollywood does not know how to quit Ricky Gervais, even when he gives them every reason to kick him out the door. Rumors have hit the web this morning that Ricky Gervais, creator of “The Office” (UK) and “Extras,” has been asked to return a third consecutive year as the host of the Golden Globe Awards.

Blu-Ray Review: Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction,’ ‘Jackie Brown’

Pulp Fiction

CHICAGO – I’m old enough dear readers to vividly remember Quentin Tarantino’s premiere with “Reservoir Dogs” and then how much he took the world by storm with “Pulp Fiction,” a common choice for the best film of the ’90s. At the time, “Jackie Brown” seemed like a disappointment by comparison (how could it not?), but it is now widely respected and even beloved. These aren’t just good movies — they’re classics of their time. What more do you want from a pair of Blu-rays?

Blu-Ray Review: Brian De Palma’s Thriller ‘Blow Out’ With John Travolta

CHICAGO – When Brian De Palma was at his peak in the ’70s and ’80s, he was simply one of the best living directors. Some wanted to write him off as nothing more than an Alfred Hitchcock wannabe, but that was a criticism that I never understood.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘From Paris With Love’ a Cinematic Royale With Cheese

From Paris With Love Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – John Travolta always seems to be in a perpetual state of “coming back.” His various attempts at reinventing his screen persona seem to be driven less by artistic integrity than commercial desperation. The more macho and foul-mouthed he tries to be, the less convincing he is.

Blu-Ray Review: Absolutely Awful ‘Old Dogs’ With John Travolta, Robin Williams

Old Dogs

CHICAGO – Culturally insensitive, disgusting, violent, vile, and shockingly unfunny, “Old Dogs” is the kind of embarrassment for which stars, writers, and directors should be forced to do community service. If someone delivered a product this awful to you at a restaurant, you wouldn’t have to pay for it and you could probably sue. Those of you who paid to see it in theaters, should consider a class action case. The rest of you should just avoid it like you would a dog turd on the sidewalk.

Blu-Ray Review: Denzel Washington, Tony Scott Take ‘Pelham 123’ Seriously

The Taking of Pelham 123

CHICAGO – When a New York subway dispatcher finds himself locked in a tense battle of the wits with a deranged criminal onboard Pelham 123, he’s offered this bit of advice from a seasoned hostage negotiator: don’t enter his world. The same warning could be issued to viewers intent on entering the world of Tony Scott.

Interview: Director John Woo on His ‘Red Cliff’ Premiere at the 2009 Chicago International Film Festival

CHICAGO – John Woo, whose mastery of the action movie was once compared by director Sam Raimi to the suspense mastery of Alfred Hitchcock, premiered his new film, “Red Cliff” at the Chicago International Film Festival on October 9th.

Denzel Washington, John Travolta in Average ‘The Taking of Pelham 123’

Taking of Pelham 123
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Tony Scott’s remake of “The Taking of Pelham 123,” starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta, is likely to meet sun-drained audience expectations for a straight-forward, adult-driven action film this season but the overly stylized and not-so-thrilling train ride is ultimately merely average at best and will disappoint fans looking for anything more.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

    CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

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