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Keri Russell

Film Review: Dull Soap Opera in ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’

CHICAGO – “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” just goes to show you can have the most expensive and best looking visual effects money can buy, but it doesn’t mean a damn thing if you haven’t got a good tale to tell.

Film Review: Jane Rolls Over Again for Wretched ‘Austenland’

CHICAGO – One of the most incorrect assumptions in literature iconography is the focus on Jane Austen as a purely romantic writer – skipping the depth of character, humor and cynicism in her work, for the sake of mooning over “Mr. Darcy.” The new film “Austenland” continues this trend.

TV Feature: The 11 Biggest Emmy Snubs of 2013

CHICAGO – The 2013 Emmy nominations were announced this morning, leading to the natural hand-wringing and chest-beating over who missed the cut. Before we get to the most egregious snubs of the year, a few places where the Academy unexpectedly, happily got it right:

Blu-ray Review: Derivative ‘Dark Skies’ Botches Potential with Lame Clichés

Dark Skies Blu-ray

CHICAGO – For a good portion of its running time, Scott Stewart’s sci-fi spookfest “Dark Skies” flirts with the possibility of becoming an effective thriller. There are a handful of sequences fraught with palpable tension, yet it becomes apparent around the halfway mark that the filmmakers don’t have an original idea in their heads. There’s nothing here that hasn’t been done better in countless other pictures.

TV Review: Great Concept, Strong Ensemble Carry FX’s ‘The Americans’

CHICAGOFX has carved an impressive critical and commercial niche with hits like “Sons of Anarchy,” “The Americans,” “American Horror Story,” and “Louie” and they’re trying to add another success to their arsenal with tonight’s premiere of the highly-anticipated “The Americans,” starring Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, and Noah Emmerich.

DVD Review: ‘Running Wilde,’ ‘Detroit 1-8-7’ Represent Unfulfilled Promises

Detroit 1-8-7

CHICAGO – With stars that have found critical success before on television in shows like “The Sopranos” (Michael Imperioli), “Arrested Development” (Will Arnett), and “Felicity” (Keri Russell) there was reason to be excited around a year ago when it came to “Detroit 1-8-7” and “Running Wilde,” two shows with little in common other than the fact that their first seasons will be their only seasons and they were both recently released on DVD courtesy of Lionsgate.

DVD Review: Uneven ‘Leaves of Grass’ Delves Into High-Minded Farce

Leaves of Grass DVD

CHICAGO – As special effects technology continues to become more advanced, filmmakers have found increasingly convincing ways of allowing actors to give dual performances in the same movie, and often in the same frame. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, from the exquisite trick photography in “Moon” to the seamless digital creation of the Winklevi in “The Social Network.”

TV Review: Will Arnett, Keri Russell Star in Disappointing ‘Running Wilde’

Running Wilde

CHICAGO – I love Will Arnett, Keri Russell, David Cross, and Mitchell Hurwitz. And yet, I don’t love “Running Wilde.” If you need any proof that quality television takes something more intangible than just getting talented people together, look no further than this sporadically-entertaining FOX sitcom, a show with more-than-enough talent to get over the common growing pains of the first few episodes of a sitcom if the ratings are strong enough to give it time to do so but is undeniably disappointing at the start.

Interview: Harrison Ford Goes to ‘Extraordinary Measures’ With Loner Scientist Role

CHICAGO – A very subdued and scientific Harrison Ford recently spoke with HollywoodChicago.com and two other Chicago film critics on the subject of his new true-story film “Extraordinary Measures”. Ford stars in the film and served as its executive producer since inception.

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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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