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Natalie Portman

Film Review: Forced ‘Thor: The Dark World’ Sequel Lacks Passion, Sci-Fi Basis

CHICAGO – For me and the subculture as a whole, so much of science fiction came from “Star Trek”. If creator Gene Roddenberry were alive today to witness “Thor: The Dark World,” he’d tell it to focus on being a superhero film rather than failing to dabble in science fiction.

Film Review: ‘Thor: The Dark World’ is Little More Than Marketing For ‘The Avengers 2’

CHICAGO – Few major films have felt less creatively inspired and more commercially conceived than Alan Taylor’s dull “Thor: The Dark World,” a wannabe blockbuster with all the personality and ingenuity of a straight-to-DVD sequel.

Slideshow: 26-Image Gallery of Celebrities at 84th Annual Academy Awards

| Image 1 of 26 |

CHICAGO – This 26-image slideshow contains a selection of ABC-provided red carpet arrival images from the 84th Annual Academy Awards, which were handed out on February 26th, 2012 on ABC. Celebrities featured include Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Nick Nolte, Shailene Woodley, Rooney Mara, Michelle Williams, Meryl Streep, Berenice Bejo, Natalie Portman, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Lopez, and many more.

Film Review: Eye-Popping 3D, Same Story in ‘Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace’ Rerelease

CHICAGO – Jar Jar Binks is back, and George Lucas has him in 3D. Yes, the re-release of 1999’s “Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace,” takes advantage of the new 3D technology.

Blu-Ray Review: Superhero Hit ‘Thor’ Serves as Nifty ‘Avengers’ Prequel

Thor

CHICAGO – This summer saw the release of two movies that were basically just appetizers for next year’s full meal in Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers” — “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Both were surprisingly well-received although both fall short of being considered among the best Marvel movies (“Iron Man,” “X-Men: First Class,” “Spider-Man 2”) in part by virtue of so obviously being set-ups for something yet to come. “Thor” works best when one considers where this franchise will go in “Thor 2” and “The Avengers” but is merely average when judged on its own. It’s a decent movie with a decent Blu-ray release that promises more-than-just-decent material to come.

Blu-Ray Review: Proudly Crude ‘Hesher’ Annoys Instead of Enlightens

Hesher Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – Anyone who’s witnessed the wonderfully incoherent trailers for “Hesher” is bound to be curious about the film’s true nature. Why does Joseph Gordon-Levitt have a raised middle finger tattooed on his back and why is he jumping off a flaming diving board half-naked? Is this all part of a tongue-in-cheek stunt or do the filmmakers actually harbor serious intentions?

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Your Highness’ is One of 2011’s Most Disappointing Comedies

Your Highness

CHICAGO – David Gordon Green’s “Your Highness” still makes me sad. Not only am I giant fan of nearly everyone involved but the concept of a pot-fueled riff on the fantasy-adventure films more popular in the ’80s is a great one. And yet, even watching it again on Blu-ray and DVD, “Your Highness” just sinks, deflating my like a leaky balloon. I’m gonna go cry now.

Blu-Ray Review: Natalie Portman Can’t Save Melodramatic ‘The Other Woman’

The Other Woman

CHICAGO – Natalie Portman gets betrayed by a seriously flawed screenplay in the melodrama “The Other Woman,” formerly called and based on a book called “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits.” After playing film festivals in 2009, the Don Roos’ film is finally getting a Blu-ray and DVD release to capitalize on Portman’s fame from winning the Oscar for “Black Swan.” Despite typically-strong work by the multi-talented star, the movie’s a tonal mess with an inconsistent screenplay that the strong central performance cannot save.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Thor: Tales of Asgard’ Feels Like Cheap Blockbuster Tie-In

Thor: Tales of Asgard

CHICAGO – Animated Marvel Features and Lionsgate very purposefully released a straight-to-DVD Thor movie this month to try and cash in a bit on the success of the summer blockbuster “Thor” with Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman. With some of the same characters, enemies, and locations, the animated version plays not unlike a Saturday morning cartoon version of what you just saw in theaters. Potential viewers under twelve should find enough action here to not consider their time wasted, but anyone older will surely be a a bit bored.

Film Review: Loathsome ‘Hesher’ With Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman

Hesher
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “Hesher” ends with a middle finger and I shot one right back to the screen. Rarely has a film so completely misunderstood the grieving process and played faux tough in an attempt to be edgy instead of heartfelt. Like a knock-off of Chuck Palahniuk produced by people raised only on Sundance films, “Hesher” is a mess.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Megan Fox

    CHICAGO - Look past the cheesy carbs and b-boy poses, this shiny mo-cap reboot of cartoon juggernaut “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” offers slick entertainment that makes for a welcome surprise for middle school fare. Proving that executive producer Michael Bay has both grown up but it still frightfully in tune with what jazzes teens, this surprise box office hit is indeed a nice slice of a blockbuster spectacle, whether or not a viewer cares about the turtles or not.

  • HoliDaze Front

    CHICAGO – Need a break from the noise of the holidays? Step Up Productions, – in residence at Chicago Dramatists Theater – present “HoliDaze,” a collection of six one-act plays, all dealing with the nature and nurture of the season. The showcase runs through December 21st, 2014.

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