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Film Review: Michael Keaton is a Man with a Brand in ‘The Founder’

CHICAGO – Michael Keaton is the real reason to see “The Founder” – it’s a movie that probably wouldn’t work at all without him. Keaton portrays Ray Kroc, the man who turned McDonald’s into a multinational fast food behemoth. But “The Founder” is an origin story of both the man and the brand…and Kroc is not the genius of American business he’s been made out to be.

Interview: ‘Big Stone Gap’ Writer/Director Adriana Trigiani to Appear at Chicago Screening

Adriana Trigiani of 'Big Stone Gap'

CHICAGO – One of the truest aphorisms ever uttered is that “you can take a person out of a small town, but you can’t take the small town out of them.” Veteran novelist, TV/film writer and now director Adriana Trigiani took that eternal truth and created a film tribute to her heritage in “Big Stone Gap” (2015). Loyola University in Chicago will have a special screening of the film, with an appearance by Ms. Trigiani afterward (via Skype), on Monday, February 8th, 2016 (details below).

Blu-ray Review: Modern Horror Doesn’t Get Much Better Than ‘The Conjuring’

Conjuring, The

CHICAGO – James Wan’s “The Conjuring” is such a remarkable leap forward from the director of “Saw” and “Insidious.” I’ve always thought that Wan was talented but his use of sound, music, and forced perspective in this brilliant horror flick immediately propels him to the top of the list for the best genre directors. He’s reportedly leaving horror behind after this mega-hit ($300 million worldwide) behind (he’s filming “Fast & Furious 7” now). The genre will miss him but it’s understandable that he probably thinks he can’t top this truly great movie.

Film Review: ‘Insidious: Chapter 2’ is Mere Ghost of Original

Insidious: Chapter 2
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan reunite for “Insidious: Chapter 2,” a repetitive, cluttered, just silly variation on the first movie that will feel like a step back for anyone who admired Wan’s notable advancement as a filmmaker in this summer’s stellar “The Conjuring.”

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Passes to ‘Insidious: Chapter 2’ with Rose Byrne

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated horror sequel “Insidious: Chapter 2” starring Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson!

Film Review: Effective ‘The Conjuring’ Captures the Sum of All Fears

CHICAGO – True scary movies have a couple of things going for them – the source of the scare and the psychology of the scare. The source provides the “boo,” the audience provides the interactive psychology. “The Conjuring” is a true scary movie.

Blu-ray Review: Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt Deliver in ‘Young Adult’

Young Adult with Charlize Theron (review)

CHICAGO – Jason Reitman took more risks with “Young Adult” than any film in his career. The fact that those risks paid off with a film that’s ultimately less satisfying than “Juno” or “Up in the Air” is not the point. I love to see such a talent as Reitman trying something as risky as a film with a completely loathsome protagonist for which no redemption is asked or offered. And Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt simply rock in two of the best performances of their individual careers. I think Diablo Cody’s script lets all three of them down to a certain degree, but “Young Adult” is worth at least a rental for the performances alone.

Film News: First Trailer Released For Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus’

Prometheus 2012

CHICAGO – In a week that packed trailers for some of next year’s biggest films, 20th Century Fox made sure to get in on the game. The first trailer for Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” has released giving the first looks at the new sci-fi/thriller film. And let’s just say if 2012 is really the last year of existence, we will be going out with some awesome looking movies.

Interview: ‘Young Adult’ Director Jason Reitman on Open-Ended, Non-Message Directing

CHICAGO – Instead of trying to fill giant shoes in the shadows of his legendary filmmaker father Ivan Reitman (“Ghostbusters”), Jason Reitman has been successfully blazing his own path of films without message that are designed to incite your thoughts and question your actions.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Asylum, The Logo

    CHICAGO – Put in a dash of crazy, add a dash of funny and you are defining “The Asylum,” a catch-all name for a couple of show events in Chicago, playing at The Apollo Theater Studio through February 23rd, 2017. Behind the scenes of these showcases is producer Michael Sanow, a Chicago theater veteran. For “The Asylum” information regarding the “Atypical Musical Comedy Show” (Tuesdays) and “Access Comedy” (Thursdays), click here.

  • Baltimore Waltz, The

    CHICAGO – During the scourge of the AIDS epidemic, at its height in the late 1980s, a playwright lost her brother to the condition. Inspired by him, Paula Vogel wrote “The Baltimore Waltz,” a story about her and her brother’s travels through Europe – and filtered through the prism of fantasy and the movies. The Brown Paper Box Company presents a re-staging of the play in Chicago through February 19th, 2017.

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