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Patton Oswalt

TV Review: ABC Launches New Comedies ‘The Goldbergs,’ ‘Trophy Wife’

CHICAGO – It takes guts or stupidity to launch an entire night of new programing but that’s what ABC is attempting this evening, September 24, 2013. And they’re not even doing it consistently in terms of genre and quality. It starts strong with “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and ends on a whimper with “Lucky 7.” In between?

Film Review: Portrait of a Cynical Genius in ‘The Bitter Buddha’

The Bitter Buddha
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – We live in such a cynical world that when a film critic tells you a stand-up comedian is damn funny, it might not hold as much weight as it did in a universe before everyone had an opinion on everything online. So how can I convince you that Eddie Pepitone, the subject of Stephen Feinartz’s “The Bitter Buddha,” opening this weekend at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago, is damn funny? Do you like Marc Maron, Sarah Silverman, Dana Gould, or the amazing Patton Oswalt? They think he’s hilarious. And if that doesn’t do it, the movie will. Just trust us.

Blu-ray Review: Strong Comedy Ensemble Can’t Answer When ‘Nature Calls’

Nature Calls

CHICAGO – There are some undeniable comic talents in Todd Rohal’s “Nature Calls,” including two of the best stand-up comedians of the last decade—Patton Oswalt and the late, great Patrice O’Neal. Rob Riggle and Johnny Knoxville can work in the right material. This wasn’t the right material for any of the four as it’s just a mediocre, generally unfunny comedy that leads one to question what the cast saw in it in the first place.

Blu-ray Review: Whimsically Low-Key ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Nothing causes would-be lovers to fall into one another’s arms quite like a good, old-fashioned apocalypse. The nerve one lacks to pursue a romantic obsession tends to reemerge when faced with impending extinction. While Abel Ferrara’s “4:44 Last Day on Earth” and David Mackenzie’s “Perfect Sense” took a brooding look at last-minute romance, director Lorene Scafaria heads in quite a different direction.

Exclusive Slideshow: 23 Portraits of Comic Performers at 2012 Just for Laughs Chicago

| Image 1 of 23 |

CHICAGO – After wrapping up recently, the “Just for Laughs Chicago” comedy festival was a rousing success, as established and new comic performers entertained audiences all over the Windy City. Shows featured such diverse talents as Vince Vaughn, Patton Oswalt, Kevin Smith, TJ Miller and Janeane Garofalo.

Film Review: ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’ with Steve Carell Can’t Find Honest Emotion

CHICAGO – Lorene Scafaria’s “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” is a manipulative mess that’s only slightly redeemed by yet-another engaging performance from one of the best actresses of her generation.

Preview: Just for Laughs Chicago 2012 From TBS Kicks Off June 12, 2012

Just for Laughs Chicago 2012

CHICAGO – If a collective chorus of guffaws is heard throughout the Windy City this week, blame it on the ‘Just for Laughs Chicago’ 2012 Festival. From June 12th-17th, stages large and small throughout Chicagoland will feature some of the hottest comedy acts, stars and the taping of the ‘Conan’ TBS chat show, featuring Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter.

DVD Review: Hysterical Stand-up of ‘Patton Oswalt: Finest Hour’

Patton Oswalt Finest Hour

CHICAGO – Patton Oswalt is one of the funniest stand-up comedians alive. You may not know the name but you almost certainly know who he is. He’s had such a diverse career, including scene-stealing work on TV (“King of Queens”), the lead role in a beloved Pixar film (“Ratatouille”), great indie flicks (“Big Fan”), cable series (“The United States of Tara”), and even a CFCA-nominated performance in last year’s “Young Adult.” As GREAT as all of that is, Patton Oswalt’s greatest gift (outside of perhaps being one of the people for whom Twitter was invented) may be on a stand-up comedy stage. Watch the Grammy-nominated “Patton Oswalt: Finest Hour,” recently released on DVD, and tell me I’m wrong.

Film News: Ebertfest 2012 Lineup Announced

Ebertfest

CHICAGO – As a graduate of the University of Illinois, I can tell you there is one time of the year that is very close to my heart, and many others in the Champaign-Urbana community. That is the last weekend of April every year which brings us Roger Ebert’s Film Festival (aka Ebertfest). And tonight, the lineup for the 14th Annual Ebertfest was announced and includes some very exciting guests.

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.

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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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