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Kyle MacLachlan

TV Review: Charismatic Janet Montgomery Can’t Acquit ‘Made in Jersey’

Made in Jersey

CHICAGO – Sometimes a strong cast can save weak writing but such is not the case with CBS’s “Made in Jersey,” a show with one of the most charismatic leading ladies of the new season but also some of its weakest plotting. The legal drama of the premiere is so ridiculous, manipulative, and just silly that it’s almost remarkable how watchable the beautiful Janet Montgomery makes the proceedings but she can’t stop the TV jury from convicting for bad writing.

Film Review: Jane Fonda Misused in ‘Peace, Love & Misunderstanding’

Peace, Love & Misunderstanding

CHICAGO – Jane Fonda portraying an aging hippie seems like a slam dunk. She was a 1960s hippie at one time, right? Well, it’s obvious she wasn’t the type of hippie personified in “Peace, Love & Misunderstanding,” co-starring Catherine Keener and Elizabeth Olsen. Nobody was that type of of hippie.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Blue Velvet’ Retains Mesmerizing Power, Features Lost Footage

Blue Velvet

CHICAGO – Being a child of the ’80s, I can vividly remember when David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” took the world by storm. I was too young to see it in theaters but I would be an early teen when the decade ended and the film made a stunning number of lists of the best films of the previous ten years. I could finally see what the fuss was all about on VHS. I would never be the same. There are a few movies I can point to and say, “That shaped the way I look at film.” “Blue Velvet,” recently released on Blu-ray to celebrate its 25th anniversary and complete with 50 minutes of never-before-seen deleted scenes, is one of those movies.

Film Review: ‘Mao’s Last Dancer’ Performs Strictly on Autopilot

Mao's Last Dancer Film Review

CHICAGO – World-renowned dancer Li Cunxin’s autobiography, “Mao’s Last Dancer,” has been transformed into the type of unimaginative, sentimental tear-jerker that will only move viewers who’ve never seen (or heard of) a movie before. It doesn’t adapt Li’s autobiography so much as stage the SparkNotes version.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Showgirls: 15th Anniversary Sinsational Edition’

Showgirls

CHICAGO – I’ll admit that I never jumped on the “Showgirls” so-bad-it’s-good bandwagon that turned one of the biggest bombs of the ’90s into a cult hit that plays at midnight in theaters around the world. Not unlike “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” people have been drawn to the film that killed the career of nearly everyone involved and is so awful that it became the go-to bad movie reference until “Gigli” came out. Catch up with the suck on the “Showgirls: 15th Anniversary Sinsational Edition.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • The Projects

    CHICAGO – The legacy of public housing is one of the strangest forces of karma in the City of Chicago. For example, sites that were once some of the roughest and most neglected housing for the poor now contain luxury condos. It is the people of those former hellholes that still remember the sorrowful history of what they once called home. The American Theater Company (ATC) have gathered these stories for the poignant and extraordinary “The Projects.”

  • Gambler, The 2

    CHICAGO – Browsing Dostoyevsky titles with consideration for proper roles for Mark Wahlberg, one might expect the Beantown hero to take on an adaptation of “The Idiot” before anything like “The Gambler.” After all, while Wahlberg has proven to be a diverse screen force - one who has well-grown past his Funky Bunch days - he often leans towards goofy men, or at least goofy men in goofy movies.

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