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Michael Pena

Film Review: ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Can’t Smooth Its Bizarre Fabric

CHICAGO – Although I am an admirer of Oprah Winfrey, it’s unfortunate that the best way to describe “A Wrinkle in Time” – with her role as goddess problem solver – is Worst. Episode. of. Oprah. Ever. The film, based on a novel from 1962, caves into effects over cohesiveness or story.

Film Review: ‘12 Strong’ Wins the Battle as it Loses the War

CHICAGO – In the 16 years of the U.S. and Afghanistan war, which began a month after Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. has spent trillions of dollars and lost 2,400 soldiers. The story of that war’s first battle, “12 Strong,” would probably be more revelatory if we weren’t still there.

Film Review: There is Little Beauty to Be Found in ‘Collateral Beauty’

CHICAGO – Charles Dickens once said, “Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Seeing the trailer for “Collateral Beauty,” it’s obvious this is the theme of the film, but it is also the theme of this review. My “blessing” to you is the foresight not to waste your time with this film.

Slideshow: Exclusive Portraits from 2016 Chicago Critics Film Festival

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Michael Peña of ‘War on Everyone’ and ‘Ant-Man.’

CHICAGO – That’s a wrap! After seven days of fantastic films and packed houses, the 4th Annual Chicago Critics Film Festival (CCFF) had their closing night on May 26th, 2016, with the film “Operator” – featuring Martin Starr (“Silicon Valley”), and directed by Logan Kibens. HollywoodChicago.com was at the event for all the celebrity appearances, and photographer Joe Arce got these Exclusive Portraits.

Interviews: Michael Peña, Craig Robinson & Ira Sachs at 2016 Chicago Critics Film Festival

CHICAGO – The Chicago Critics Film Festival (CCFF) keeps rolling, and it’s a blockbuster so far. Actors Michael Peña and Craig Robinson, along with director Ira Sachs, made appearances on behalf of their films “War on Everything,” “Morris from America” and “Little Men.” The festival runs through May 26th, 2016.

Film Review: Entertaining ‘The Martian’ is a Hollywood Space Opera

CHICAGO – It’s all based on science, they told us! “The Martian” is an old fashion feel-good movie about the hard working astronauts and scientists of the good old American space program, trying to rescue a stranded spaceman from Mars, aided by a brave cast of astro-colleagues.

Film Review: Tartan Prancer – Yes, a Fictional Albanian Car – Steals the Otherwise Borrowed Show in ‘Vacation’

CHICAGO – Retreads from classics are often as weary as having to write that they are almost never as good as the original. And here we go again with the Ed Helms-led “Vacation,” which fails to capitalize on the beloved Chevy Chase film “National Lampoon’s Vacation” from 1983.

Film Review: A Perfect Paul Rudd, Michael Peña Bring Often-Overlooked Humor to ‘Ant-Man’

CHICAGO – In 1989, Rick Moranis played a scientist father in “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” who accidentally shrinks kids to the size of insects. But dating back to a first appearance in 1962, Marvel Comics first published the Ant-Man character. His persona was the superhero alias of the scientist Hank Pym after inventing a substance that allowed him to shrink himself.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Cher Show, The

    CHICAGO – Cherilyn Sarkisian… yes, that is her birth name… is the redoubtable Cher, and it’s perfect timing for her to have a jukebox musical tribute. “The Cher Show,” covering three eras/songs of the six-decade career of Cher, opens for a Chicago preview before its Broadway run, from June 12th through July 25th, 2018.

  • ThroatPunch

    CHICAGO – The provocative title of Sharon Krome’s new stage play, “ThroatPunch,” does not contain that particular fight technique. But it does have standout performances by the three person cast, as they make their way in Chicago, circa 1983, amid their emerging twentysomething punk rock attitude. The World Premiere of the show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through June 3rd, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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