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Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Film Review: Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ a Lesson for Our Times

CHICAGO – The experience of director Oliver Stone, to look underneath the slimy rocks of government secrecy and bureaucracy, produces an excellent history lesson in “Snowden,” an overview of Edward Snowden, a whistleblower against the government who is still in exile.

Film Review: Spirit Starts Early in Fun, Raunchy ‘The Night Before’

CHICAGO – The tradition of the holiday party gets a workout in “The Night Before,” as three friends take a Christmas Eve walk through the environs of New York City, and make their merry journey an unforgettable night of libation enhancement, magic moments and yes, the Holiday Spirit.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to ‘The Night Before’ With Seth Rogen

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated comedyThe Night Before” starring Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie!

Film Review: Not Too Many Good Reasons to Experience ‘The Walk’

CHICAGO – I am not opposed to dramatic retellings of true events from history, but I think the drama should at least be as entertaining as a PBS documentary on the same subject. “The Walk” tells the true story of a French wire walker and the twin tower World Trade Center in the mid-1970s.

Film Review: ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ Breaks No New Ground

CHICAGO – When the first “Sin City” (2005) was released – based on the graphic novels by Frank Miller – the conversion of a film to a noir-like comic book atmosphere was pioneering. The sequel “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” has heightened that look, but this time has much less to say.

Film Review: Wondrous Last Act for Hayao Miyazaki in ‘The Wind Rises’

The Wind Rises

CHICAGO – The master animator and film legend Hayao Miyazaki (“Howl’s Moving Castle,” “Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke”) announced his retirement after his latest film, “The Wind Rises.” He is often called “Japan’s Walt Disney,” but there is more to him then that, a soul and a mystery that is revealed in the stages of his animated art, and his contribution to artistic culture will continue to influence for generations to come. “The Wind Rises” is nominated for Best Animated Film at the 2014 Academy Awards.

Blu-ray Review: Great Gift Set Comes Early in ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’

The Dark Knight Trilogy

CHICAGO – Believe it or not, it’s already time to start holiday shopping, which means it’s the time of year that studios release lavish gift sets for their most beloved films. No one is better at this holiday season product design than Warner Bros., who has released great Limited Edition sets for “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factor,” “Ben-Hur,” and the “Harry Potter” films in recent years. The first one this year is one of the best I’ve seen, a gorgeously packaged and beautifully accompanied collection for “The Dark Knight Trilogy,” including awesome physical collectibles and 90 minutes of new special features.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • [Trans]formation

    CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.

  • Life Sucks

    CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”

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