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Kurt Russell

Film Review: ‘The Fate of the Furious’ is a Vehicle Running on Fumes

CHICAGO – Bigger, Dumber, and Duller…that’s the name of the game this time in this ongoing franchise which is now so ludicrous it makes Bond films seem like the epitome of realism. While it’s true this is the first time Oscar winners and a “Fast and the Furious” film have ever been associated together, there’s a dearth of inspiration in this eighth go around.

Film Review: Great Visuals Save the Shallow ‘Deepwater Horizon’

CHICAGO – There are a few things in our lives that, if we’re lucky, we will never have to experience. Things like childbirth, limb loss, or a near death experience. The closest most of can get is by watching a well-made film. If “Deepwater Horizon” succeeds at anything, it’s creating the engrossing experience of being there on that fateful day.

Film Review: Quentin Tarantino Stays Familiar in ‘The Hateful Eight’

CHICAGO – Story-wise, there is not much difference in “The Hateful Eight” – regarding themes and violence – that writer/director Quentin Tarantino hasn’t explored before. But it is also an outrageous and big western tale, and it’s presented in some theaters in a huge 70mm screen format.

Film Review: Relentlessly Action-Packed ‘Furious 7’ Actually Has a Story, Too

CHICAGO – I’ve never classified myself as a “Fast & Furious” franchise fan. Nor have I been a hater. I’ve fallen somewhere in between – willingly watching the popcorn flicks but then quickly going about my life as fast as the furious action ended. Until “Furious 7”…

Film Review: Wham Bam Pass the Popcorn, Man For ‘Furious 7’

CHICAGO – The “Fast & Furious” franchise of films has probably one of the strangest evolutions in action history. What began as a rebellious street race movie, has morphed into a sort of superhero saga. “Furious 7” amps up that element of it, creating a mythic and magical “Kingdom of F&F Cars.”

Blu-Ray Review: Disney’s ‘The Fox and the Hound’ Deserves Better Release

The Fox and the Hound Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – As far as kiddie tearjerkers go, “The Fox and the Hound” is one of Disney’s finest. It’s not a great film, and certainly not in the same league as the watershed game-changers that came before or the renaissance masterworks that followed. But it is a tender and bittersweet fable with a message of refreshing complexity. At its heart is a friendship that society has deemed unsustainable, and the film doesn’t shy away from its troubling repercussions.

Blu-Ray Review: John Carpenter’s Incredible ‘Escape From New York’

Escape From New York

CHICAGO – Our younger readers may find it hard to believe that John Carpenter was once one of the most inspiring filmmakers in the world. He’s still one of the truly influential voices of the ’70s and ’80s despite the tragedy that has been his career for the last couple decades. Save for the occasional flare-up (“Masters of Horror: Cigarette Burns,” “In the Mouth of Madness”), Carpenter’s work has barely resembled his prime. For proof, check out the still-amazing and timeless “Escape From New York,” now available on Blu-ray for the first time.

Blu-Ray Review: John Carpenter’s ‘Escape From L.A.’ With Kurt Russell

Escape From L.A.

CHICAGO – There is no Blu-ray justice. The great “Escape From New York” sits unavailable in HD, along with dozens of other great movies of its era, but the vastly inferior sequel “Escape From L.A.” lands on the format this week. “L.A.” isn’t a horrible film, but it works mostly because of the goodwill created by love for the original, which makes that film’s unavailability on the format all the more bewildering.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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