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Leighton Meester

Film Review: Inauthentic ‘The Judge’ Guilty of a Stale Confrontation

CHICAGO – Here comes “The Judge,” here comes “The Judge.” That 1960s catchphrase gets new meaning in the film featuring Robert Downey Jr. and veteran Robert Duvall, in a angry generational face-off that makes little sense and provides a stiff courtroom drama that felt like bad TV.

Film Review: Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener in Inconsistent ‘The Oranges’

The Oranges
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “The Oranges” suffers from a common problem in these suburban comedies of error in that it assumes we care about these characters who are essentially less interesting than your actual neighbors. Infidelity, bad parenting, friendships collapsing – they’re happening every day on your street. Films like “The Oranges” may think they’re tapping a vein of picket fence peculiarity like “American Beauty” but the result actually plays more like a Showtime sitcom pilot that never got picked up because it was too boring to maintain week to week.

Film Review: Adam Sandler Pulls Our Chains in ‘That’s My Boy’

CHICAGO – Adam Sandler is just freaking with us now. His goal is obviously to create the raunchiest, sociopathic and off-putting comedies of all time, and “That’s My Boy” belongs in his Hall of Fame. The A-list cast helps out, including Andy Sandberg, James Caan, Susan Sarandon and Leighton Meester.

Film Review: ‘Monte Carlo’ is Cut Above Young-Women-Abroad Films

CHICAGO – Nothing like a summer surprise at the movies to make the season a little more tolerable. Selena Gomez and the ubiquitous Leighton Meester take a sumptuous trip and brings us along in “Monte Carlo.”

Blu-Ray Review: ‘The Roommate’ Misses Chance For B-Movie Camp

The Roommate

CHICAGO – Anyone who’s been through the dorm situation at a college has probably had a creepy roommate or two. (I sure had my share Freshman year but that’s a long story.) The fact that we have to share so much of our existence with a complete stranger whose only psychological evaluation was during a college acceptance interview is ripe for thriller storytelling. What if your new roommate was crazy? Sounds like the set-up for a fun, over-the-top thrill ride, doesn’t it? Then why is “The Roommate” so damn boring?

Blu-Ray Review: Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘Country Strong’ Plays a Forgettable Melody

Country Strong

CHICAGO – Gwyneth Paltrow was EVERYWHERE promoting “Country Strong” and her return to the spotlight. She reached overexposure with appearances on “Glee,” The Grammys, and “Saturday Night Live,” and culminated it all with a performance of the film’s Oscar-nominated song on the Academy Awards. Lost in all of this was the actual movie. Was it any good? Now you can decide for yourself as it was recently released on Blu-ray and DVD.

Film Review: Leighton Meester Borrows the Soap in ‘The Roommate’

Roommate, The

CHICAGO – The latest “It” girls and guys have been collected for the “Meeting of the Marketed Movie,” the showcase for the latest actor brands. It’s titled “The Roommate, “ and Leighton Meester (”Gossip Girl”), Cam Gigandet (”Twilight”) and Minka Kelly (”Friday Night Lights”) lead the way.

Film Review: Melodrama Weakens Gwyneth Paltrow in ‘Country Strong’

CHICAGO – Modern country music is actually quite fascinating. Whereas in the classic days of the 1950s to ‘70s, when it was a cult stepchild of popular music, now it occupies the rarified heights of the Justins and Taylors. That is why “Country Strong,” starring Gwyneth Paltrow, is so annoying. It doesn’t even try to be modern.

Blu-Ray Review: Spend ‘Date Night’ With Tina Fey, Steve Carell

Date Night

CHICAGO – “Date Night” is one of the few word-of-mouth hits of 2010; a film that started off reasonably well at the box office but hung around the top ten for months after its release, turning it into an undeniable comedy success. The comedy starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey opened in second place but dropped so slowly that it almost made $100 million (a huge amount for a movie like this one and plus another $50 million internationally). The movie’s loyal fans will love the excellent Blu-ray release from 20th Century Fox.

DVD Review: Season Two of ‘Gossip Girl’ With Blake Lively, Leighton Meester

Gossip Girl S2

CHICAGO – It’s senior year for the spoiled socialites of “Gossip Girl” as the second season of the hit CW show finds the characters applying for college amid scandals, new romances (and old ones), and shifting alliances. It’s just another crazy year in the life of “Gossip Girl: The Complete Second Season,” now available on DVD in a gorgeous box set from Warner Brothers.

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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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