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Joseph Gordon-Levitt

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.

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.

Interview: Joseph Gordon-Levitt Invokes Christopher Nolan in Directorial ‘Don Jon’ Debut

CHICAGOJoseph Gordon-Levitt is a unique dichotomy. Part independent and part mainstream film actor, he’s managed to succeed as both. And with this Friday’s release of “Don Jon,” add to that list a first-time writer and director. But none of it could have been without Christopher Nolan.

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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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