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Mandy Patinkin

Film Review: ‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’ Should Have Remained Undiscovered

CHICAGO – There are only a few times that I have left a film mentally shouting, “Won’t someone think of the children?” Not through some self-righteous religious fit, of course, but through a general concern for the animated films created for our young. “Smurfs: The Lost Village” is either made for a specific crowd in mind or made for a crowd without a mind.

Film Review: ‘Wish I Was Here’ Will Make You Wish You Weren’t There

Wish I Was Here

CHICAGO – Writer, director and lead actor Zach Braff has put it on the line for his latest feature, “Wish I Was Here.” He infamously used a crowd funding Kickstarter campaign to maintain creative control of the film, but he needn’t have bothered. The movie result is a sappy, high concept emotional manipulator with no basis in authenticity, and that might be the best thing that can be said about it.

Interview: Zach Braff Kickstarts His New Film ‘Wish I Was Here’

CHICAGO – Zach Braff is an amiable personality, making his mark as “J.D.” on the TV sitcom “Scrubs” and the cult film “Garden State” (2004), which he wrote and directed. For his most recent project, he made show business headlines by using the website Kickstarter to “crowd fund” his latest film, “Wish I Was Here.”

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Princess Bride: 25th Anniversary Edition’

The Princess Bride

CHICAGO – Every few years brings another version of “The Princess Bride,” one of the most beloved films of all time. The latest is a 25th anniversary (yes, I feel old too) edition on Blu-ray, complete with an all-new 2-part featurette called “True Love: The Princess Bride Phenomenon.” That last word there is an over-used one but when you open the BD and see an ad for the “Princess Bride” game for iPhone, it’s hard to argue that Rob Reiner’s movie is NOT a phenomenon.

TV Review: ‘Homeland’ Starts Second Season with Perfect Episode

CHICAGO – We’ve all had creative buyer’s remorse. You recommend a band to your friend and their new album sucks. You post about your love for a TV show and the next episode jumps the shark.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Homeland: The Complete First Season’ Totally Rocks

Homeland

CHICAGO – The popular choice as to the show most likely to derail AMC’s “Mad Men” from winning a record-setting five Emmys in a row for Best Dramatic Series is a newcomer to the pantheon of most-acclaimed programs, Showtime’s brilliant “Homeland,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. This is must-see TV in every possible way.

TV Review: Showtime’s Riveting ‘Homeland’ is Best New Show of 2011

CHICAGO – Very few programs of the last few years have been as instantly engaging as Showtime’s “Homeland.” Complex characters, daring storytelling, some of the best acting you’ll see on TV all year — this is a GREAT show from episode one and it’s remarkable to think that it could even get better.

DVD Round Up, Feb. 22, 2009: ‘Alien Raiders,’ ‘Dead Like Me,’ ‘Religulous’

Dead Like Me

CHICAGO – Oscar madness has left the Round Up a little weary of high profile, award-bait movies. We need a break from the Oscars and what better way to do that than with a few titles that might have slipped through the cracks while everyone was singing “Jai Ho”.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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