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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

  • 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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