CHICAGO – If you can remember the 1990s outside of childhood, you are in the glow of middle age, so congratulations. The Brown Paper Box Co. theater ensemble takes us back to those thrilling days of yesteryear with “Spike Heels,” a relationship comedy centering on the co-mingling antics of two couples, with a slight nod toward George Bernard Shaw and the play “Pygmalion” (or its musical counterpart, “My Fair Lady”).
CHICAGO – I have to say while watching Johnny Depp in “Mortdecai,” I found myself amused. I rarely elicited anything more than a slight chuckle, but its indomitable spirit of silliness made it a not entirely unpleasant evening out.
CHICAGO – “Deliver Us from Evil” is director Scott Derrickson’s second foray into possession horror. His first, the excellent “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” was taut, thoughtful and offered some truly unsettling demon scares.
CHICAGO – The 2013 Emmy nominations were announced this morning, leading to the natural hand-wringing and chest-beating over who missed the cut. Before we get to the most egregious snubs of the year, a few places where the Academy unexpectedly, happily got it right:
CHICAGO – There’s no television program that can be more simultaneously brilliant and frustrating as Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom,” returning tonight, July 14, 2013, to start an already-tumultuous second season.
CHICAGO – Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, drives me crazy. The HBO drama can be so thematically dense and brings up subjects too often missing from the national conversation but it can also be so frustratingly self-important and deluded in its vision of the way real people operate. Do you give it credit for the topics it raises or smash it for the heavy hand with which they’re delivered? I have high hopes that season two will iron out some of the problems (stories of reshot episodes indicate that Sorkin heard his critics) but I’m still torn on how to feel about season one.
CHICAGO – Warner Bros. advertised Steven Soderbergh’s “Magic Mike” as a non-stop beefcake show, the equivalent of “Showgirls” for the ladies. It’s not quite that. In fact, the film is more drama than most people expected when it was advertised as little more than a skin parade. Even with that in mind, Warner Bros. knows their target audience and have cleverly put together a Blu-ray release designed to appeal to bachelorette parties too embarrassed to see the movie in theaters.
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.’
CHICAGO – It turns out that Channing Tatum did a bit of male stripping on the way up the show business ladder, which adds some spice and verisimilitude to “Magic Mike,” a backstage tale about the masculine side of theatrical disrobing, supported by Matthew McConaughey and Alex Pettyfer.
CHICAGO – Beefcake is on parade in the new film “Magic Mike,” about a troupe of male strippers in sunny Florida. The film was partially based on the true life experiences of Channing Tatum, who did perform briefly in his late teens. In the film he is Magic Mike, and Joe Manganiello portrays “Big Dick” Ritchie.
CHICAGO – “I Don’t Know How She Does It” could have been just another misogynistic (you would never see “I Don’t Know How HE Does It”…the very title implies sexism) alleged comedy but it goes well beyond that partially because it features one of the worst screenplays of 2011 but also because it is easily one of the most miscast movies ever made.