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Maggie Smith

Film Review: Great Cast Receives Winning Showcase in Dustin Hoffman’s ‘Quartet’

CHICAGO – There are few things more fragile than an actor’s ego. It must be treated with the utmost care in order to prevent a split-second meltdown. The enormous pressure of audience expectations coupled with the piercing eye of an ever-present media is enough to send sensitive folk to a sanitarium. Thick skin is a necessity in show business, but what happens when that skin begins to age?

Film Review: Judi Dench Checks Into ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’

CHICAGO – Seven desperate souls are taking risks to save some part of their world, which describes both “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and “The Avengers.” Which will win the box office war? The “heroes” of the Marigold residence include Judi Dench, Tom Wilkerson, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith and Dev Patel.

DVD Review: Beloved ‘Downton Abbey’ Returns With Second Season

CHICAGO – “Downton Abbey” became one of the most notable TV phenomenons of the last several years this season as the second installment of the multiple award-winning show became such a part of pop culture that it was even spoofed on “Saturday Night Live.”

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Gnomeo & Juliet’ Falls Flat as Busted Yard Display

Gnomeo and Juliet

CHICAGO – The animated adventure “Gnomeo & Juliet,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, features an A-list voice cast and some beloved hits by Sir Elton John, but just getting talent in the recording booth either musically or merely vocally does not a movie make and the script for this thing is so uninspired and accompanied by lackluster visuals that it’s just dull to anyone over ten.

Film Review: ‘Gnomeo & Juliet’ Charms With Music of Elton John

Gnomeo & Juliet

CHICAGO – As movie animation domination continues, “Gnomeo and Juliet” throws its stone cap into the ring, and has a lively story that tweaks it source, while respecting its power. James McAvoy and Emily Blunt are the voices of the star-crossed lovers, with the addition of familiar vocals from Michael Caine and Ozzy Osbourne, among others.

Blu-Ray Review: Original 1981 ‘Clash of the Titans’ Deserves Better Re-Release

Clash Of The Titans Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – The Winter Olympics coverage on NBC made it impossible for viewers to ignore the fact that there is indeed a “Clash of the Titans” remake coming out in April. This may seem redundant, since the vast majority of modern fantasy has in some way ripped off Greek mythology. Both “Harry Potter” and “Percy Jackson” include a variation on Medusa, the reptilian villain with snake hair and a stoney stare.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ Looks Amazing in HD

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

CHICAGO – “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is one of the most visually striking films of a year filled with achievements in great cinematography. I love Deakins’ work on “A Serious Man,” Richardson’s on “Inglourious Basterds,” and Christian Berger’s on “The White Ribbon,” but Bruno Delbonnel (who also lensed “Amelie”) has helped produce one of the most aesthetically remarkable films of the year, easily the most interesting interplay of shadow and light yet seen in a “Potter” film. Naturally, it makes for a great fit with the 1080p of Blu-Ray.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Emmy Awards, Bryan Cranston

    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.

  • Knick, The

    CHICAGO – Cinemax’s ominous new series “The Knick” is a hospital drama that’s very much in the voice of its director, Steven Soderbergh. Set in New York City at the turn of the 20th century, the series presents the medical world as it inches closer and closer to modernity, while making contemporary parallels to the desperate hustle by surgery room clients and their doctors alike regarding treatment of the human body. What has changed in the politics of medicine? What hasn’t?

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