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Mekhi Phifer

Film Review: ‘Divergent’ Wastes Talented Cast on Joyless Adaptation

CHICAGO – Despite the best efforts of a game Shailene Woodley and likely future star Theo James, Neil Burger’s “Divergent,” based on the hit book by Veronica Roth, is a joyless, soulless, humorless dud. It is repetitious to the point of parody, never feels like it exists in anything approximating reality, and, like so many “Hunger Games” wannabes, forgets that it’s the characters of that franchise that matter and not the goofy machinations of the plot.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 15 Pairs of IMAX Passes to Chicago’s ‘Divergent’ with Shailene Woodley

CHICAGOHighly anticipated! In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 15 pairs of advance-screening IMAX passes up for grabs to the new Chicago-filmed movieDivergent” starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James from Chicago author Veronica Roth!

Blu-ray Review: Strong Set For Disappointing ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’

Torchwood: Miracle Day

CHICAGO – When “Torchwood: Miracle Day” premiered on Starz, I was completely up for the ride. My 4/5 review displayed a little bit of concern given that the show was often 5/5 in its original BBC America airings (and in the brilliant “Children of Earth”) but I held out hope that the show would iron out its wrinkles and deliver on the potential of its clever set-up. In fact, the opposite happened. Stretched to meet a running time that the writers couldn’t deliver on and ultimately cheesy where the original “Torchwood” had been edgy, “Miracle Day” is a disappointment. The Blu-ray release is still strong and there are some things to like here, but only diehard fans should apply (see every episode and “Children” before this…twice) and they’ll likely be the most disappointed.

TV Review: ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’ Builds Up Steam With Second, Third Episodes

Torchwood: Miracle Day

CHICAGO – We didn’t get the screener in time to give you a heads up about the series premiere of Starz’s “Torchwood: Miracle Day” but we have seen episodes two and three and have some good news to end this long week — if you liked the first episode, don’t worry. It definitely doesn’t drop in quality. And if you worried a bit after that premiere that this wasn’t the same “Torchwood” you knew and loved, fret not, the program starts to really get into gear by the end of the third chapter and there’s little reason to be concerned.

TV Review: FOX Drama ‘Lie to Me’ Gets More Entertaining Every Week

Lie to Me

CHICAGO – The great television creator Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”) has taken over “Lie to Me” and turned what was a pretty generic mystery-of-the-week show into something that’s deserving of your attention. Taking the great Tim Roth and making him much more than just a cog in the serial machine, the two new episodes of “Lie to Me” that air tonight and next week make for intense, excellent television.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • The King of Comedy

    Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.

  • 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves

    CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.

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