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Kurtwood Smith

Blu-Ray Review: Strong Cast Makes For Fun Trip to ‘Cedar Rapids’

Cedar Rapids

CHICAGO – Millions more people have seen his work in the two “The Hangover” films but Ed Helms’ best performance to date is actually in the recently-released-on-Blu-ray “Cedar Rapids,” a clever and enjoyable slice of midwestern comedy that co-stars John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Sigourney Weaver, and more. The excellent cast elevates a somewhat-inconsistent screenplay, making this fun film worth the trip.

TV Review: Freddy Rodriguez Stars in Quirky Spy Series ‘Chaos’

CHICAGO – The main problem with reviewing television is that we’re often sent only the premiere and asked to judge a show overall. And yet we’d all agree that programs regularly improve or slide in quality after week one.

TV Review: Animated ‘Neighbors From Hell’ Keeps Laugh Meter in Red

Belthazor Hellman from "Neighbors From Hell"

CHICAGO – Coming from the punishing fires has never been wackier in the new animated TV series from TBS, “Neighbors From Hell.” Featuring the voice talent of Patton Oswalt, Molly Shannon and Kurtwood Smith, Neighbors reminds us that our current paradise is closer to actual hell than ever before.

DVD Review: ‘Green Lantern: First Flight’ Falls Short of DC Universe Standard

Green Lantern First Flight

CHICAGO – The DC Universe brand of straight-to-DVD titles has worked its way through Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Justice League and settled on Green Lantern, never a favorite character of this old school superhero fan and the first real misfire in the DC Universe line.

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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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