CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.
HOLLYWOOD – He was the biggest star the world, the box office champion from 1939 to 1941. “Wow, spanning two decades,” Bart Simpson said. Mickey Rooney lived long enough to work on silent films, be the biggest star in the world and do a voiceover on “The Simpsons.” Not bad for one lifetime. Mickey Rooney died of natural causes in his North Hollywood home on April 6th. He was 93.
CHICAGO – What is the remedy for the holiday blues? How about a dose of “Liza with a ‘Z’!” The sparkling and funny “We Three Lizas” is back for the holiday season from About Face Theatre of Chicago, just in time for the lights and tinsel. Danielle Plisz, Mark David Kaplan and Bethany Thomas play the three title Liza Minellis, with a deft direction by Scott Ferguson.
CHICAGO – Barbra Streisand is a classic example of a genuine talent who started out big and quickly became too big for her britches. She never came close to topping her phenomenal debut in 1968’s “Funny Girl,” which presented the larger-than-life performer in all of her contrasting shades—funny and tragic, vulnerable and indomitable. Sadly, that picture marked the last time Streisand could conceivably pass for anyone other than—well, Streisand.
CHICAGO – Throughout his extensive work as a film columnist, author and journalist, Robert K. Elder has been drawn to exploring both the universality and striking diversity of the human experience. In his books, Elder is intent on capturing specific moments within the lives of his subjects, while discovering their universal truths through their juxtaposition.
CHICAGO – The Warner Brothers Blu-Ray release to mark the 70th anniversary of the beloved “The Wizard of Oz” is perhaps the most exhaustive and complete “Collector’s Edition” release to date.