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Mystic River

Film Review: Animal Psychology Charges Rugged Thug Tale ‘The Drop’

The Drop

CHICAGO – For a film adapted from “Mystic River” and “Gone Baby Gone” author Dennis Lehane, there are no children in danger in “The Drop,” but there is a pit bull puppy named Rocco. The dog’s involvement in the story, an animal who gets as many closeups this side of a Charles Martin Smith film, invites the uncharacteristically blunt metaphor of how creatures fight for power, or even just the impression of power.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Clint Eastwood: 20 Film Collection’ Highlights Legendary Career

CHICAGO – “Clint Eastwood: 20 Film Collection” is a great Father’s Day gift that’s nonetheless a bit difficult to describe. It’s not exactly a greatest hits collection of its legendary star since it’s missing some of his most iconic films and includes some of his most notable failures.

Book Review: Dennis Lehane Returns With Sizzling ‘Moonlight Mile’

Moonlight Mile

CHICAGO – Dennis Lehane remains one of our better fiction writers with some of his best-known material being turned into highly-acclaimed films including “Mystic River,” “Gone Baby Gone,” and “Shutter Island.” He returns to his two most beloved characters — Angie Gennaro and Patrick Kenzie — those played by Michelle Monaghan and Casey Affleck in the film version of “GBG” to craft a direct sequel to that novel, “Moonlight Mile,” a reminder of how efficient Lehane can be when it comes to breakneck thriller pacing but a bit of a letdown if it truly is the final book with these memorable detectives.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,’ ‘Mystic River’

Fear and Loathing BD

CHICAGO – I know what you’re thinking: What do “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and “Mystic River” have in common? Nothing at all other than a Blu-ray release date of February 2nd, 2010. Oh, and they’re two films you should probably own if you have a Blu-ray player.

Clint Eastwood Idles With Caricature Over Character in ‘Gran Torino’

Gran Torino

CHICAGO – With his second film in just a few months, Clint Eastwood makes one of his biggest missteps of his illustrious career as one of the more esteemed American directors in the history of the medium.

Sean Penn’s Oscar-Possible Harvey Milk Puts Face to Gay Rights in ‘Milk’

CHICAGO – Just as Tom Hanks put a face to AIDS in 1993’s “Philadelphia,” Sean Penn has now put a face to gay rights as Harvey Milk in the new Gus Van Sant true-story film “Milk”.

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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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