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Mare Winningham

Film Review: Life’s Other Plans at Full Disclosure in ‘Philomena’

CHICAGO – Although “Philomena” sounds like a faraway land, it actually is a name of a real Irish lady, who lost her son through a Catholic adoption service that was designed to hide her out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Judi Dench portrays the title character as an older woman, with Steve Coogan as the reporter trying to help locate the son for her.

Interview: Steve Coogan on the Art of Faith in ‘Philomena’

CHICAGO – “Philomena” is not a state of being or location. It is the name of a woman whose child was taken away, through Catholic adoption services in Ireland during the mid 20th Century. Judi Dench portrays that woman in a modern context, and her costar is notable British comedian – and co-screenwriter of the story – Steve Coogan.

Blu-ray Review: Impressive Scope of Mini-Series ‘Hatfields & McCoys’

Hatfields & McCoys

CHICAGO – The History Channel waited years to debut their first narrative property but the wait seemed to be worth it both for fans and for the network that’s probably still counting their profits from one of the biggest TV events of 2012 and one of the year’s most notable Emmy nominees. I had my doubts going into the recent Blu-ray release of “Hatfields & McCoys” but this is an impressive mini-series of the type they don’t really make any more. It’s not surprising it was huge in the ratings and I expect the Blu-ray to sell for years (especially around Father’s Day and the holidays).

Film Review: Julia Roberts Reflects on Snow White in ‘Mirror Mirror’

CHICAGO – Since I know I’m the fairest of them all, I won’t focus on the symbolic impressions of ‘Mirror Mirror.’ This is the Snow White legend based on the original story by the Brothers Grimm, and includes Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer and Nathan Lane in its cast.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman Not Relatable in ‘Brothers’

CHICAGO – The transition from hot young actor to the domestic picket fence is about ten years and a shadowy crow’s foot. One day you’re a galaxy queen, superhero and Donnie Darko, next you’re playing house in “Brothers.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • [Trans]formation

    CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.

  • Life Sucks

    CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”

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