CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’
CHICAGO – Filmmakers brothers are ubiquitous, as siblings grow up with the love of the movies and turn it into a career when adults. Director John Erick Dowdle and his writing partner, brother Drew, has had a successful run with films like “Devil” and last year’s “As Above, So Below.” Their latest film, “No Escape,” explores geopolitics and the increasing potential for government breakdown.
CHICAGO – In a very unstable world, and in a sense that these problems are international, we all can be stuck in war at any time – there is no way to get away from it. “No Escape” takes this notion to the extreme, with an American family – led by Owen Wilson – caught in a war zone.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 40 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new action/thriller “No Escape” starring Owen Wilson and Pierce Brosnan!
CHICAGO – “Million Dollar Arm” harkens back to a period of shameless family friendly schmaltz that used to play to families in theaters and then run in perpetuity on “The Wonderful World Of Disney” on television. But this treacly baseball drama throws nothing but balls.
CHICAGO – Talking dogs have been around for decades in animated movies and television shows, especially the anthropomorphized kind. From the superhero antics of Underdog to the biting sarcasm from the likes of Brian from “Family Guy” - take your pick and you can find a dog to your liking. I always took a shine to Mr. Peabody, the intelligent and resourceful beagle with a penchant for puns.
CHICAGO – One the most familiar movie clichés is the sonorous voice that intones “In a world…” to begin a movie trailer, and then extols the virtues of that upcoming feature. Lake Bell, who wrote, directed and stars in the new movie, “In a World…,’ creates a delightful and gentle satire of voiceover artists and their journeys.
CHICAGO – Lake Bell is a recognizable and successful character actress, having prominence in television (“Boston Legal”) and films (“It’s Complicated”). For her latest film, she wrote, directed and starred in a gentle parody of the voiceover profession, especially the intoned voices that narrate movie trailers, “In a World…”
CHICAGO – I really admire the girl power approach to the thriller genre in Katie Aselton’s surprising genre effort, “Black Rock,” but the admirable effort doesn’t change the fact that the movie just doesn’t feel fully fleshed out nor does it play to the strengths of its filmmaker. The what-if scenario that incites the action of “Black Rock” is captivating but Aselton and co-writer/husband Mark Duplass don’t build on that scenario enough to make the venture successful overall.
CHICAGO – Not all HBO shows are created equal. While critics have devoted thousands of words to the brilliance of shows like “Boardwalk Empire,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and “Game of Thrones,” a few other offerings from the most important TV network of the last quarter-century have gone under the radar.
CHICAGO – Rarely have so many talented comedians been sucked into a more depressing morass of bad comic timing and worse writing than in the dreadful “A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy,” a movie with a bunch of people I like making a comedy I really, really hate. This movie knows nothing about friendship, sex, or, most importantly, comedy.