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Blu-ray Review: ‘The Last Stand’ Marks Career Low for Schwarzenegger

The Last Stand Blu-ray

CHICAGO – “The Last Stand” may mark the first time Arnold Schwarzenegger fulfilled his iconic promise, “I’ll be back,” and the general public replied, “Who cares?” Designed as a comeback vehicle for the actor-turned-governor-turned-wannabe actor, this competently made yet instantly forgettable flick has already gained notoriety as one of the year’s biggest bombs. Hasta la vista, indeed.

Blu-ray Review: Creepy Jolts Compensate for Weak Drama in ‘The Possession’

The Possession Blu-ray

CHICAGO – In the last days of August 2012, three generically titled ghost pictures had the misfortune of opening at more or less the exact same time. None of them were particularly memorable, yet only one managed to produce any semblance of genuine chills. There are enough eerie moments in “The Possession,” the demonic thriller from gifted Danish director Ole Bornedal, that one wishes that it pushed past the boundaries of its tame PG-13 rating.

DVD Review: Laughable ‘2016: Obama’s America’ Assumes You’re an Idiot

2016: Obama's America DVD

CHICAGO – If the Koch brothers have proven anything over the last several months, it’s that money speaks louder than the truth. Facts may not be for sale, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be buried. At a time when more information is available to the general public than ever before, an alarming number of Americans are content in remaining blissfully uninformed.

Blu-ray Review: Bill Murray’s Deft Debut Can’t Salvage Dopey ‘Meatballs’

Meatballs Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Now that Wes Anderson’s marvelous “Moonrise Kingdom” has finally received a much-belated wide release, it’s an ideal time for audiences to revisit Bill Murray’s first cinematic excursion to summer camp. Ivan Reitman’s 1979 hit, “Meatballs,” is famous primary for giving the SNL vet his first starring role, which is appropriate considering Murray is the only reason worth watching it.

Blu-ray Review: Katherine Heigl Bombs Again in Unfunny ‘One for the Money’

One for the Money Blu-ray

CHICAGO – With each passing year, Katherine Heigl’s claims about Judd Apatow’s sexism appear increasingly absurd. While Apatow is producing A-grade work from female filmmakers, such as “Bridesmaids” and HBO’s “Girls,” Heigl is portraying shallow ditzes who are susceptible to chauvinistic, overgrown adolescents. “The Ugly Truth,” “Killers,” “Life as We Know It” and “New Years Eve” is not a track record worth bragging about.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Dark Tide’ Finds Halle Berry Shipwrecked in Sea of Clichés

Dark Tide Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Poor Halle Berry. Apparently ravishing good looks, fine acting chops and an Academy Award for Best Actress aren’t enough to earn decent roles in Hollywood. Since her triumphant turn in 2001’s “Monster’s Ball,” Berry has had only two big screen roles that managed to hint at her gifts as an actress. Yet “Things We Lost in the Fire” and “Frankie & Alice” were largely ignored by critics and audiences.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention’ Inspires, Entertains

Wallace and Gromit's World of Invention Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Befuddled inventor Wallace and his trusted, oft-exasperated canine companion Gromit deserve to be ranked alongside the greatest comic duos in cinema history. Brought to life by Nick Park’s exuberantly inventive stop-motion animation, Wallace and Gromit are best known for their series of short subjects, including 1993’s “The Wrong Trousers,” which is surely one of the best films ever made.

DVD Review: ‘Project Nim’ Powerfully Chronicles the Tragic Life of a Chimp

CHICAGO – James Marsh’s much talked-about documentary, “Project Nim,” is one of the saddest films of 2011, charting the mishandling of a chimpanzee by well-meaning but misguided humans. Nim Chimpsky was the simian subject of a widely publicized ’70s-era experiment created by Professor Herbert Terrace. His goal was to discover if a chimp could speak in complete sentences via sign language.

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Piano,’ ‘Frida’ Showcase Unforgettable Female Performances

The Piano Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Jane Campion and Julie Taymor are two of the most fascinating directors in modern cinema. They are unafraid to take major gambles, and their audacity has occasionally caused their projects to derail. But on a good day, they are capable of achieving artistic transcendence on a grand scale, as evidenced in Campion’s 1993 masterwork, “The Piano,” and Taymor’s 2002 gem, “Frida.”

Blu-Ray Review: Proudly Crude ‘Hesher’ Annoys Instead of Enlightens

Hesher Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – Anyone who’s witnessed the wonderfully incoherent trailers for “Hesher” is bound to be curious about the film’s true nature. Why does Joseph Gordon-Levitt have a raised middle finger tattooed on his back and why is he jumping off a flaming diving board half-naked? Is this all part of a tongue-in-cheek stunt or do the filmmakers actually harbor serious intentions?

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 10th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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