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Oliver Platt

Film Review: Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener in Inconsistent ‘The Oranges’

The Oranges
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “The Oranges” suffers from a common problem in these suburban comedies of error in that it assumes we care about these characters who are essentially less interesting than your actual neighbors. Infidelity, bad parenting, friendships collapsing – they’re happening every day on your street. Films like “The Oranges” may think they’re tapping a vein of picket fence peculiarity like “American Beauty” but the result actually plays more like a Showtime sitcom pilot that never got picked up because it was too boring to maintain week to week.

DVD Review: Laura Linney Carries ‘The Big C: The Complete Second Season’

Big C S2

CHICAGO – Showtime’s “The Big C” is a sporadically brilliant show that somehow still has not clicked into place as the truly great comedy it could have been. Despite my issues with the often-pretentious, self-aware writing, there’s one thing that no one can complain about regarding this Emmy-nominated show — the cast rules. Laura Linney gives easily one of the most engaging performances on TV and she’s ably assisted by a truly strong ensemble.

TV Review: Amazing Actresses Anchor Showtime Season Premieres of ‘Nurse Jackie,’ ‘The Big C’

CHICAGO – Emmy-winning “Nurse Jackie” starts its fourth season and the highly-acclaimed “The Big C” joins it for its third on Sunday nights starting tonight, April 8, 2012.

Blu-Ray Review: Stellar Release For Best Summer Superhero Movie ‘X-Men: First Class’

X-Men: First Class (cropped)

CHICAGO – In many ways, “X-Men: First Class” is the most loyal film yet to the Marvel aesthetic in the way director Matthew Vaughn and the film’s multiple screenwriters capture the tone, spirit, and themes of one of the most legendary comic books of all time. It is a spectacular mix of great performances, well-choreographed action, and cleverly-revised history. It is crowd-pleasing to action fans and yet intellectually complex at the same time. It is what more producers of superhero movies should strive to accomplish and it deserves mention with the best of the genre (“Spider-Man 2,” “X-Men,” and even “The Dark Knight”).

TV Review: Edgy Comedies ‘The Big C,’ ‘Weeds’ Return to Showtime

CHICAGO – The revolving door of talented actresses has turned at Showtime. “Nurse Jackie” and “The United States of Tara” just ended their seasons and so Edie Falco and Toni Collette head out one side while Laura Linney and Mary-Louise Parker come in the other with the season premieres of “The Big C” and “Weeds,” respectively.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Love and Other Drugs’ With Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway

Love and Other Drugs, Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal

CHICAGO – An unusual new theme in the American romantic comedy is the couple who starts with sex and ends with love a la “No Strings Attached” and the recent “Love and Other Drugs” with Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway, now on DVD and Blu-ray. Critic Patrick McDonald HATED the film, putting it on his worst of the year, which I think may be a little harsh, but it’s a definite disappointment given the talent involved. Those of you looking for a romantic comedy can do better and so can the stars of this failed one.

Film Review: Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal Sell Out in Unbearable ‘Love and Other Drugs’

CHICAGO – “Love and Other Drugs” celebrates everything that is wrong with America, wrapped in a package with two “it” stars doing a disservice to their emerging careers.

Blu-Ray Review: Catherine Keener, Rebecca Hall in Great ‘Please Give’

Please Give

CHICAGO – I’ve seen over a hundred films since seeing Nicole Holofcener’s “Please Give” and the movie has somehow lingered in the back of my mind. It’s what happens when characters are this well-drawn and believable. If a movie feels genuine, it has a much longer staying power and writer/director Holofcener (“Lovely and Amazing,” “Friends With Money”) makes dramedies about people that almost instantly feel completely genuine. “Please Give,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, is one of the best dramedies of the year.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves

    CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.

  • A Field in England (teaser)

    CHICAGO – I can’t recommend this more. “A Field in England” is a flashback and a flash forward all at once. It’s impossible to watch without thinking of great counter culture cinema. In fact when I saw it at Fantastic Fest 2013 it played as part of a double bill with Ken Russell’s “The Devils” (1971). They made perfect cinematic companion pieces. Russell’s film concerned a wayward priest desperate to protect his 17th century city from corruption in the Church only to fall victim to group hysteria when he is, ironically, accused of witchcraft by a jealous nun.

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