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Paul Dano

Film Review: Spotty ‘Swiss Army Man’ Has Just Enough Gas

CHICAGO – It’s a simple concept. A man is stuck on an island, and has run out of hope. A dead corpse washes ashore and starts farting. The farts are so frequent that the man rides the corpse like a jet ski. The man is “saved”? Oh yes, and the corpse is portrayed by Daniel “Harry Potter” Radcliffe.

Interview: Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan Open a ‘Swiss Army Man’

CHICAGO – In what truly must be one of the most original and odd ideas for a movie in awhile, “Swiss Army Man” is opening in Chicago this week, and features Daniel “Harry Potter” Radcliffe as a dead corpse that helps a man survive. This scenario was concocted by writer/directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan.

Film Review: Elegant, Delicate Emotions Are Forged in ‘Youth’

CHICAGO – When a film tries to be philosophical, it easily can devolve into heavy handedness. But the exception is the latest from writer/director Paolo Sorrentino, the richly presented “Youth.” It treads upon many definitions of the title, and lands upon all of them, because that’s life.

Film Review: Brian Wilson Redeems His Soul in ‘Love & Mercy’

CHICAGO – Brian Wilson has been called one of the greatest songwriters in popular music history. His tonality and approach towards his best compositions have been studied like Mozart. In “Love & Mercy,” we see that the thing that made Wilson great also had the power to destroy him.

Interview: John Cusack Channels Brian Wilson in ‘Love & Mercy’

CHICAGO – John Cusack has never rested on his laurels, which are many in his film career, nor stood still as an artist or an actor. His latest film is the magnificent “Love & Mercy,” in which he portrays music legend Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys as a middle aged man, trying to break free of the circumstances in his life.

Interview: Music Icon Brian Wilson Taps Into ‘Love & Mercy’

CHICAGO – Singer/composer Brian Wilson, best known as the mastermind behind The Beach Boys, enters a room. His biographic circumstance and music history immediately fills that room. His life story is now brilliantly set to film, as he is portrayed by Paul Dano and John Cusack through different life stages in “Love & Mercy.”

Blu-ray Review: Riveting ‘Prisoners’ Connects Even on Repeat Viewing

Prisoners

Denis Villeneuve’s “Prisoners” seems to have been lost in the awards season conversation and that’s a shame. Not only is Richard Deakins’ cinematography some of the best in his career but Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman’s emotional work here deserves more credit than it’s been getting. Newly released on a gorgeous Blu-ray (with, sadly, scant special features), “Prisoners” is the kind of adult drama that seems certain to pick up more fans on the home market. It’s really worth your time.

Film Review: Relentless Artistry of ‘12 Years a Slave’

CHICAGO – A man is chained to the floor in a dark, barren room. He has been ripped from his family and his freedom, and we watch as he’s whipped with amazing brutality. It goes on well past the point that most films with similar human suffering would have cut to a less stressful image.

Film Review: Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman Enter Darkness of ‘Prisoners’

CHICAGO – What would you do if your child was in jeopardy? We all love to answer quickly and instinctually that we would do absolutely anything but the fact is that we’re incredibly lucky to never be put in that situation. Would you torture someone else? What if you weren’t sure they were responsible?

Blu-ray Review: Fantastic ‘Looper’ Gets Great Blu-ray Release

Looper

CHICAGO – I clearly loved “Looper” as evidenced by my initial review, interview with Rian Johnson, placement of Emily Blunt on my Best Supporting Performances of 2012 piece, and putting it #9 on my Best of 2012. Watching it again in glorious HD, I had a surprising thought given all of the above — I may have underrated it.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Cornerstone, Nothing Without a Company

    CHICAGO – We all need some help. The stage play group Nothing Without a Company realizes that, and has collaborated with the organization “Cornerstone” to provide that assistance. Cornerstone is a seminar and a happening in downtown Chicago, facilitated by “experts” to generate your potential. The presentation has a Thursday-Sunday run at Michigan Avenue’s Artspace 8 through April 29th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Cold War

    CHICAGO – Local filmmaking is thriving, thanks to the many creators who choose to make independent movies in Chicago. Co-directors Stirling McLaughlin and J. Wilder Konschak (also writer) brought their cast and crew to the Windy City to make their comedy, “Cold War.” The film made its digital debut on April 6th, 2018, and will be available on iTunes, Google Play, FandangoNow, Amazon, Vudu and more.

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