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Martin Balsam

Blu-ray Review: New HD Edition of Epic ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!’

Tora! Tora! Tora!

CHICAGO – When I was younger, I considered the blockbuster flop “Tora! Tora! Tora!” pretty boring. Critics over the years and friends have remembered the film more fondly than when it was released and therefore made me feel like perhaps a re-appreciation was in order. Nope. It’s still boring. And now it’s boring in stunning HD!

Blu-ray Review: Criterion Edition of Timeless ‘12 Angry Men’

12 Angry Men

CHICAGO – Few films from the ’50s have held up quite as remarkably as “12 Angry Men.” It’s a human drama that’s constantly being remade, re-told, and even re-imagined into other stories. What is it about this one-room story that has such timeless power? Why has it survived generations, working as much today as it did 54 years ago? Does anyone think it won’t have the same power 54 years from now?

Blu-Ray Review: 50th Anniversary Edition of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’

CHICAGO – Are we going to have to wait for a major anniversary of every Alfred Hitchcock film for them to be released on Blu-ray? Only two of the films directed by the best filmmaker of all time are available in HD, last year’s 50th anniversary release of “North by Northwest” and the amazing new 50th anniversary edition of “Psycho.”

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  • Punk Punk

    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.”

  • Assassination Theater

    CHICAGO – There are two dates in modern American History that ring in the heads of certain generations. Of course, there is September 11th, 2001, but the granddaddy of that date is November 22nd, 1963. That is when an American president, John F. Kennedy, was shot point blank in the head and killed on the street of an American city. The official proclamation from the government is that a lone assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, fired those shots. In a new Chicago play, “Assassination Theater,” subtitled “Chicago’s Role in the Crime of the Century,” the jury is still decidedly out.


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