CHICAGO – For theater that is audaciously in-the-now and generates a sparkle of life, there are few better storefront (garage, gothic gathering place) groups than “Nothing Without a Company.” Their latest, eclectic kick-in-the-head production is the intensely diverting and weirdly fun “Punk Punk.”
CHICAGO – He is one of the hottest movie actors on the market right now, but Mark Ruffalo will tell you he’s not an overnight success. Building his resume with a series of character roles, Ruffalo struck gold as Dr. Bruce Banner/the Hulk in “The Avengers” film series. On June 6th, 2015, the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago honored his career.
CHICAGO – “The Avengers: Age Of Ultron” is another overstuffed, action packed CGI addled slugfest from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. but the effects are exhausting instead of exhilarating. What has set the Avengers apart is the great interplay between the characters – and when the movie stops to take a breath, those relationships shine through.
CHICAGO – Look. We all know sequels usually suck. And blockbuster films often get panned for overprioritizing special effects at the expense of a well-written story and character development. Even when a story in a big-budget film is redeeming, it’s practically impossible not to shoot holes through it.
CHICAGO – Whew. There is so much going on in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” that you practically need a program to keep up with the players. This mixed bag has overwrought comic book action, head shaking plot points, and the usual Marvel angst that includes some riveting scenes.
CHICAGO – In the memorable film “Barton Fink,” the title character is asked to write a wrestling movie for Wallace Beery. If Fink had isolated himself long enough, he might have come up with “Foxcatcher,” demonstrating once again that a true story is much stranger than fiction.
CHICAGO – There are many categories of film director types – facilitators, tacticians, framers, to name a few – but there are few real artists. Bennett Miller has guided three films in his career, “Capote,” “Moneyball” and his latest “Foxcatcher.” All three have a purposeful artistry, and explore the soul within the humanity it portrays.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 20 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new music comedy/drama “Begin Again” from the writer and director of the Oscar-winning film and Broadway musical “Once”!
I’ve only seen three movies since my last dispatch — Sundance is about finding the time to write whenever you have it and it just comes earlier today than it did yesterday — but one was a true gem. So I’ll be brief.
CHICAGO – Dave Franco is James Franco’s brother. Since that’s now out of the way, Dave Franco is also a writer, actor, regular on the “Funny or Die” website and co-star in the newly released film, “Now You See Me.” Franco plays a streetwise magician, and in his career he keeps bringing the magic.
CHICAGO – Boasting a big star ensemble cast, and themes of magical realism and misdirection, “Now You See Me” is an overdone, too-clever-for-its-own-good fantasy with some entertaining tricks.