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Kris Kristofferson

Film Review: ‘Dolphin Tale 2’ is Fantastic Family Entertainment

CHICAGO – They don’t come along often, the rare fun-for-the-whole-family film. But “Dolphin Tale 2” fits that description perfectly, throws in some idealistic symbolism, and more importantly follows those symbols through to the end.

Interview: Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Nathan Gamble of ‘Dolphin Tale 2’

CHICAGO – When sequels are made, they are rarely better than the original and often have different cast members. “Dolphin Tale 2” defies both of those conventions, and the returning cast delivers the goods – including Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr., and the teenage actors Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff.

Interview: The Polsky Brothers Activate ‘The Motel Life’

CHICAGO – Alan and Gabe Polsky are brothers, film producers and now directors. The sibling tandem make their debut with “The Motel Life,” featuring Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff as disparate brothers trying to make a go in life with no money and no prospects, just a series of random motels and their unbreakable kinship.

Blu-ray Review: Barbra Streisand’s ‘A Star is Born’ Remake Fizzles Out Fast

A Star is Born Streisand Blu-ray

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.

Blu-ray Review: Criterion Releases Controversial ‘Heaven’s Gate’

Heaven's Gate

CHICAGO – Michael Cimino’s “Heaven’s Gate” remains one of the most controversial films of the modern age. Some would go as far as to say that the film’s financial failure in 1980 ushered in an era of studio control in that decade that killed the American auteur movement of the ’60s and ’70s that so redefined the form. It’s not much of a stretch given the historical reputation of a movie that got out of control in the hands of a director who couldn’t manage his own vision. Or is history wrong? Is it an underappreciated classic? Check out the gorgeous new Criterion Blu-ray and decide for yourself.

Blu-ray Review: Boring ‘Joyful Noise’ Offers Great Music, Dull Melodrama

Joyful Noise

CHICAGO – “Joyful Noise” is a weird movie in that it absolutely comes alive in its full musical numbers, of which there are several, but the plot that connects those gospel and pop songs is so thin that it’s impossible to care about the characters or what’s happening to them. The people in “Joyful Noise” are all likable and the story is harmless but the movie is slowly paced and oddly inert, showing none of the life that real gospel music brings to the people. It’s not full of enough joy or noise.

Interview: Jeremy Jordan Makes ‘Joyful Noise’ in Film Debut

Jeremy Jordan (fixed)

CHICAGO – It is a story as old as show business itself. Plucky understudy replaces a Broadway musical lead on the same night a movie director decides to take in the play, which results in the understudy getting his first movie role. It happened exactly like that to stage – and now screen – performer Jeremy Jordan, who made his debut over the weekend in the film “Joyful Noise.”

Film Review: Gospel According to Dolly Parton, Queen Latifah in ‘Joyful Noise’

Joyful Noise

CHICAGO – The old fashioned musical has gotten a boost from the recent popularity of “Glee” and other singing shows. It was inevitably that the marriage of the gospel choir and the movie musical would take place, and writer/director Todd Graff (”Camp”) is the matchmaker in “Joyful Noise.”

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