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Mad Men

Interview: ‘Joel Murray & Friends’ at the New iO Chicago Venue

CHICAGO – iO Chicago continues the Grand Opening at its new venue with one of its most famous alumni – the illustrious Joel Murray. Besides opening the seventh season of “Mad Men” with a brilliant monologue as Freddy Rumsen, Murray brings his “Joel Murray & Friends” show to the new iO Chicago on August 30th.

TV News: ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘Modern Family’ Top 2014 Emmy Awards

LOS ANGELES – It was one more lap around the victory track for the AMC-TV show ‘Breakling Bad,’ as the gritty drama about a teacher turned meth dealer took home six Primetime Emmy Awards at the 66th ceremony on August 25th. ‘Modern Family’ took home the statue for Outstanding Comedy Series for a a fifth straight year.

Film Review: ‘Are You Here’ Feels Like Mashup of Two Different Films

Are You Here

CHICAGO – You would think that a film written and directed by Matthew Weiner – the creator of “Mad Men” – would be worthwhile company, especially when the cast includes Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson and Amy Poehler. It is disappointing to note that not only was this cliché-ridden mess unpalatable, but it also switched gears two-thirds of the way through to evoke a different mood, and that schizophrenia didn’t help the overall product.

TV News: 2014 Emmy Award Nominations Announced

Emmy Award

CHICAGO – Some old TV favorites and some new online upstarts highlight the nominations for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, which takes place on Monday, August 25th, 2014. The Netflix series “Orange is the New Black” competes with stalwart sitcoms “The Big Bang Theory” and “Modern Family” at this year’s ceremony.

TV News: ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘30 Rock’ Lead Familiar 2013 Emmy Nominations

CHICAGO – While there were a few nice surprises (Vera Farmiga! Laura Dern!), the 2013 Emmy nominations were a largely predictable bunch, including most of the nominees from last year, including “Breaking Bad,” “Homeland,” “Downton Abbey,” “Mad Men,” “Modern Family,” and many more.

TV Review: Characters of ‘Mad Men’ Getting Lost in Changing World

CHICAGO – Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is no longer the most popular person in the room. Time, depression, alcoholism, and the changing politics have altered this character, once such a vital force of human nature. Remember the days when everything Don said hit with the client? When he could juggle secret pasts and multiple mistresses? One of the most prominent arcs of “Mad Men” overall has been how that Don is fading away as the ’60s head toward the next decade.

TV Feature: The 10 Best TV Shows of 2012

CHICAGO – Zombies. Dragons. Gangsters. Meth dealers. David Lynch. It was a weird year for television. Was it a good year? Sorta. It was nowhere near the landmark year of 2011 but there was still a lot to like and it was easy to get to 30 shows worth mentioning.

Blu-ray Review: Strong Release For Fifth Season of ‘Mad Men’

Mad Men S5 (cropped)

CHICAGO – It may feel like the bloom is off the rose a little bit for “Mad Men” as the AMC hit has seen some of its acclaim stolen by other cable hits like “Breaking Bad,” “Homeland,” and “The Walking Dead.” And yet this is still a great show with yet another stellar Blu-ray season release from Lionsgate. Complete with commentaries and interesting special features, this release is in keeping with the stellar first four season releases for this multi-Emmy-Award winner.

TV Feature: Predictions For the 64th Annual Emmy Awards Winners

CHICAGO – The 64th Annual Emmy Awards will go down on Sunday night and this year promises to be more unpredictable than ever…unless it’s not. While most pundits are thinking that this is the year that the Academy will take risks and award new blood, there’s just as much of a chance that we’ll see as many repeat winners as ever, maybe more.

TV Review: Strong Cast Drives AMC’s Inconsistent ‘Hell on Wheels’

CHICAGO – Do you know what separates AMC from a majority of networks? The art of the ensemble. The multi-Emmy-winning casts of “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” are the bars against which most current dramas are measured. There were issues with some of the writing behind “The Killing” but no one ever complained about the performances. And it’s the people of “The Walking Dead” that keep it interesting.

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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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