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Patrick McDonald

Film Review: Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman On Track in ‘The Railway Man’

CHICAGO – One the hidden implications of World War II was the suffering of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) from the millions of soldiers who survived the horrors of that war. The difficulties associated with PTSD are communicated with honor by Colin Firth in “The Railway Man”

Film Review: ‘A Haunted House 2’ Spoofs Better Than the Original

CHICAGO – The parody industry that the Wayans comedy machine has generated has provided big laughs and big box office for years. In 2013, Marlon Wayans launched another series, with “A Haunted House.” Faster than the fastest green light, that success led to ‘A Haunted House 2.’

Film News: 30th Chicago Latino Film Festival Closes With ‘I Am From Chile’

30th Chicago Latino Film Festival

CHICAGO – April 17th, 2014 is closing night for the 30th Chicago Latino Film Festival. The CLFF is celebrating its 30th year, making it one of the oldest festivals of its kind in the United States. The closing film is ‘I Am From Chile,” which is followed by the presentation of the Gloria Achievement Award to actress Paulina Garcia.

Interview: Marlon Wayans Brings the Funny to ‘A Haunted House 2’

CHICAGO – Marlon Wayans will do practically anything for a laugh, and that is to the audience’s advantage in the sequel to last year’s smash comedy, “A Haunted House 2.” Joining him for the second go around is hot comic Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias and the reliable Affion Crockett, who is reprising his role as Cousin Ray Ray.

Film Review: Spirituality Over Dogma Uplifts ‘Heaven Is for Real’

CHICAGO – It would be easy to dismiss “Heaven Is for Real,” given that it is based on the visions of the afterlife by a child, that just happens to coincide perfectly with Christian doctrine (Jesus, Angels, etc.). But there is more to this film in the sincerity of its spirituality, and it succeeds with that inspiration.

Interview: Greg Kinnear is Preaching in ‘Heaven Is for Real’

CHICAGO – The actor Greg Kinnear has been known for his neat and tidy image, but never has he portrayed a religious leader. His role as Todd Burpo – a pastor of a church and the father whose son believes “Heaven Is for Real” – brings the energy of spirituality to the movies just in time for the Easter holiday.

Film Review: Facing Life Transitions in ‘Hide Your Smiling Faces’

CHICAGO – The pain and passion of prepubescent youth and adolescence unravels in the excellent directorial debut of Daniel Patrick Carbone, “Hide Your Smiling Faces.” Carbone captures the isolation and meticulous boredom at a time of life when everything conspires to happen on a daily basis.

Film Review: Jude Law Tolls the Bell for ‘Dom Hemingway’

Dom Hemingway

CHICAGO – “Dom Hemingway” begins with a tight close-up on a barely recognizable Jude Law, portraying the title character. He’s giving a monologue, literally spraying the words. When the circumstance is revealed as to what is happening to him, there is an awareness that this is not going to be your Daddy’s petty safecracker ex-con film.

Interview: Nick Frost Kicks Up His Salsa Heels in ‘Cuban Fury’

Cuban Fury

CHICAGO – Nick Frost has played character and comic roles as the affable sidekick, especially in the famed “Cornetto Trilogy” – “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz’ and “The World’s End” – alongside Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright. Frost is a leading man now, strutting his stuff on the salsa dance floor in “Cuban Fury.”

Film Review: ‘Draft Day’ is Daft, Except as an NFL Infomercial

CHICAGO – Kevin Costner has defined a career in sports themed movies. From the Iowa farmer building a baseball diamond in “Field of Dreams,” to “Bull Durham,” to “For the Love of the Game,” he exemplified game day heroics. Yet being an NFL executive in “Draft Day” isn’t quite as exciting.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • The King of Comedy

    Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.

  • 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.

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