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Melissa Leo

Film Review: Overall Story of ‘The Equalizer’ Doesn’t Add Up

CHICAGO – You could call “The Equalizer” a bit of an underachiever. It re-teams Oscar winner Denzel Washington with his “Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua for a movie remake of a 1980’s TV show with a cult following, but the film as a whole adds up to less than the sum of its parts.

Blu-ray Review: Riveting ‘Prisoners’ Connects Even on Repeat Viewing

Prisoners

Denis Villeneuve’s “Prisoners” seems to have been lost in the awards season conversation and that’s a shame. Not only is Richard Deakins’ cinematography some of the best in his career but Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman’s emotional work here deserves more credit than it’s been getting. Newly released on a gorgeous Blu-ray (with, sadly, scant special features), “Prisoners” is the kind of adult drama that seems certain to pick up more fans on the home market. It’s really worth your time.

Film Review: Annoying, Inconsistent ‘Charlie Countryman’ with Shia LaBeouf

Charlie Countryman
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

CHICAGO – What happens when you give people two months in Romania to make a movie about a lost soul dealing with grief, love, drug use, and general excess? You get a spoiled, bizarre, annoying piece of work like “Charlie Countryman,” starring talented people given absolutely nothing to do that proves that talent. It’s a film more in love with slow-motion shots of its abrasive lead running to electronic dance music than anything approaching character or plot. It’s like watching the travel video of the most annoying guy you know.

Film Review: Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman Enter Darkness of ‘Prisoners’

CHICAGO – What would you do if your child was in jeopardy? We all love to answer quickly and instinctually that we would do absolutely anything but the fact is that we’re incredibly lucky to never be put in that situation. Would you torture someone else? What if you weren’t sure they were responsible?

Film Review: Sam Rockwell Carries Harrowing ‘A Single Shot’

CHICAGO – Sam Rockwell does no wrong. He takes parts in movies major (“Iron Man 2”) and minor (“A Single Shot,” now available On Demand and opening theatrically in limited release this Friday, September 20, 2013) and makes decisions that other actors wouldn’t even consider. He is so completely, believably in the moment.

Film Review: Eyegasmic ‘Oblivion’ With Tom Cruise Wins Your Optics, But Loses Your Brain

CHICAGO – “Oblivion” is a Pyrrhic victory that wins its battle, but loses the overall war. While this is the kind of visual production value you’d expect on a $120 million budget, an ostentatious steak dinner in the special effects department never makes up for a story that tastes more like cheap ramen noodles.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 30 Pairs of IMAX Passes to ‘Oblivion’ With Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 30 pairs of IMAX movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the highly anticipated “Oblivion” with Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman!

Film Review: Gerard Butler Stars in Violent, Stupid ‘Olympus Has Fallen’

CHICAGO – Antoine Fuqua’s “Olympus Has Fallen” (or “Die Hard in the White House”) is a stupid, exploitative movie that wants to be “Call of Duty: Black Ops” in film form but ends up more like one of its countless, ineffective rip-offs. There are moments of goofy, B-movie fun (certainly more of them than in the much-worse “A Good Day to Die Hard”) but not enough to get over the brutal nonsense that makes up most of this action flick.

Interview: Director Antoine Fuqua Lifts Up ‘Olympus Has Fallen’

CHICAGO – The upcoming political action thriller “Olympus Has Fallen” has a familiar director behind it, the inventive Antoine Fuqua. Known best for “Training Day,” which won the Best Actor Oscar for Denzel Washington, he also directed ‘The Replacement Killers” (1998), “Shooter” (2007) and “Brooklyn’s Finest” (2009).

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Passes to ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ With Morgan Freeman

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the highly anticipated “Olympus Has Fallen” starring Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart and Gerard Butler!

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

    CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

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