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Film Review: ‘Are You Here’ Feels Like Mashup of Two Different Films

Are You Here

CHICAGO – You would think that a film written and directed by Matthew Weiner – the creator of “Mad Men” – would be worthwhile company, especially when the cast includes Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson and Amy Poehler. It is disappointing to note that not only was this cliché-ridden mess unpalatable, but it also switched gears two-thirds of the way through to evoke a different mood, and that schizophrenia didn’t help the overall product.

Film Review: Warm ‘Fading Gigolo’ Has Odd Romance, Woody Allen

Fading Gigolo

CHICAGO – How do you make a Woody Allen style film? You hire Woody Allen to act in it. Writer, director and lead actor John Turturro channels the soul of Allen’s films by creating a strange and romantic scenario with different types of relationships, including one with Woody himself in “Fading Gigolo.”

Interview: John Turturro Vibrantly Directs ‘Fading Gigolo’

CHICAGO – “You’re a sick f**k, Fink” is the movie quote I was tempted to throw at John Turturro, the actor who played the title role as “Barton Fink,” and dozens of other memorable movie characters. Turturro is breaking out again as a writer/director, producing a new film co-starring Woody Allen, delicately entitled “Fading Gigolo.”

Film Review: Sins of Modern Parenting Are ‘What Maisie Knew’

CHICAGO – When mixing parenting responsibility, the separation of those parents and a legal system that cannot address the farce of human retaliation, the results become “What Maisie Knew.” Julianne Moore portrays a rock star, and the mother to the title character.

Film Review: Odd Fairy Tale of ‘Upside Down’ is Also Inside Out

Upside Down

CHICAGO – Definitely one of the strangest films so far in 2013 is “Upside Down,” featuring a dream pairing of Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturgess. The problem is they exist as disparate lovers on opposing planets, with opposite gravitational pulls. Thus what is up for Kirsten is down for Jim, or vice-versa?

Film Review: Nicole Kidman is Unique in Fluttery ‘The Paperboy’

Paperboy, The

CHICAGO – With all the steamy heat, and the thick, gluey southern accents from mostly non-southern actors, the audience for “The Paperboy” might need to wear lawyer-like suspenders and flap a funeral home fan to take it all in. The sweaty new film features Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey and John Cusack, all chewing the scenery.

Film Review: Comedy, Breeding Don’t Mix in Lame ‘The Babymakers’

The Babymakers 2nd Photo

CHICAGO – One of the questions we’re never suppose to ask the married couple without kids is, ‘when are you going to have kids?’ There might be specific reasons that it’s none of your damn business. Surprisingly, there is a whole so-called comedy based on this question and answer. Olivia Munn goes kid hatching in ‘The Babymakers.’

Film Review: Tour de Force for Jack Black in Fact-Based ‘Bernie’

CHICAGO – Jack Black is a smart and interesting actor. Not content to ride on the modern day John Belushi-type roles that might have pigeonholed him, Black portrays “Bernie,” a convincing conniver in Texas, based on a true story. Veterans Matthew McConaughhey and Shirley MacLaine add spice to the brew.

Film Review: Sirens Flash Red for Woody Harrelson in ‘Rampart’

Rampart

CHICAGO – The “thin blue line” is a police term. It represents the designation between the protection the police provides and the anarchy that is on the other side of that protection. The cop that Woody Harrelson portrays in “Rampart” crosses that line repeatably, formulating his own retribution.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Trespass' Held Hostage By Shrill Drama, Shallow Clichés

Trespass Thumb

CHICAGO – Few Oscar-winning actors have made as many bad movies as Nicolas Cage. His cinematic bombs have become so numerous that one could easily mistake him for a bad actor. Yet that is hardly the case. In fact, his vast number of outrageous gambles outweighs his list of easy paychecks. He’s a performer clearly unafraid of falling flat on his face.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

  • Wonder Woman

    CHICAGO – There are few films in 2017 that are as historically important as they are cinematically well-crafted. Of those, there is only one I saw three times in theaters. That honor comes in the form of the revolutionary “Wonder Woman,” which not only shows huge promise for the future of DC Comics films but for comic book-based films as a whole.

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