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Olivia Wilde

Film Review: Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ is Masterful Commentary on Connection

How do we connect with other people? Why do we often push away those we need and stay with those we don’t? Why do we hold on to relationships long after they have stopped working? Is a physical relationship with no intellectual or emotional component somehow more valuable than one that can never be person-to-person but engages on a deeper level? And how do the ways we deal with love and loss impact the way we look at the rest of the world? And why aren’t more movies as good as “Her”?

Film Review: Director Ron Howard Delivers a Meticulous ‘Rush’

CHICAGO – Defining the glory days of any sport is often centered on personal rivalries. The 1970s – notable for stand-offs like John McEnroe and Björn Borg – had a similarly contentious rivalry between Formula One car racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, portrayed in Ron Howard’s “Rush.”

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 25 Pairs of Passes to ‘Rush’ with Chris Hemsworth

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipatedRush,” which is based on a true story and stars Chris Hemsworth from Ron Howard!

Film Review: Olivia Wilde Shines in Joe Swanberg’s Excellent ‘Drinking Buddies’

CHICAGO – Joe Swanberg’s “Drinking Buddies” has been billed as the Chicago writer/director’s breakthrough largely due to the star power on display in the cast list but the film works not merely because of the notable talents of its cast but a new maturity and wisdom displayed by its creator.

Interview: Joe Swanberg Dares to Cross the Line in ‘Drinking Buddies’

CHICAGO – It takes a special sort of filmmaker to hit it big without compromising any artistic principles. This month marks a career high for Chicago’s own DIY trail-blazer, Joe Swanberg, whose microbudget gems have influenced everyone from Lynn Shelton (“Touchy Feely”) to Lena Dunham (“Girls”).

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone’ Isn’t Funny at Home Either

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

CHICAGO – Some comedies improve when they climb down off the big screen and take up residence on the small one. Perhaps it’s just that we’re more forgiving at home then we are when we’re paying a fortune for tickets, parking, and popcorn. Or we’re just more accustomed to bad comedy writing on TV. However, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” one of the more notable box office flops of 2013 so far (it couldn’t crack $23 million TOTAL) is not one of those better-at-home comedies. It’s still a stunniningly flat, boring piece of work and the scant special features do nothing to improve it.

Film Review: Nothing Magical About ‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone’

CHICAGO – It’s this simple – “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” just isn’t funny. Sure, there are a few laughs here and there and some of the supporting cast works but the leads are woefully miscast and most of the jokes hit with all the awkward silence of a Bennigan’s tableside magician who guesses the wrong card.

Blu-ray Review: Crowd-Pleasing ‘People Like Us’ Deserved Better Fate

People Like Us

CHICAGO – The companies behind Alex Kurtzman’s “People Like Us” had no idea what to do with their crowd-pleasing melodrama, arguably releasing it at the worst possible time of the year for a tiny movie to not get swept away by bigger blockbusters. The result was a dud in theaters but should get strong word-of-mouth on the home market, helped amply by a stellar Blu-ray/DVD release.

Film Review: Deadly Dull ‘The Words’ Has Nothing to Say

CHICAGO – It may seem like easy bait for a critic but the quote whores supplied a dozen or so words for the mysterious ads for the new drama “The Words” and so I’d like to play their little game. I have a few words of my own – “Dull.” “Inert.” “Pretentious.” “Uninteresting.” “Inconsistent.” “Craptastic.” Put those on your ad.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Passes to ‘The Words’ With Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of “The Words” with an all-star cast including Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde, Dennis Quaid and J.K. Simmons!

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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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