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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

  • 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.

  • reno 911 front.png

    CHICAGO – The oughts was the era of the workplace mock-doc comedy, with shows like “The Office” and “Reno 911!” born into a time where TV viewers were excited to see see fake realities about the crumminess of a job. While this series has been available in separate season collections previously, “Reno 911!” is now available in a complete series set, one that boasts a grand amount of special features content in spite of some lacking comedy in the actual show.

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