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Paul Giamatti

Film Review: ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ Can’t Find Its Swing

CHICAGO – “The Amazing Spider-man 2” continues what has become the J.V. Team of super-hero film franchises. The building blocks are there for success, but the talent on the field isn’t capable of pulling it off. Like it’s predecessor, this sequel does not aim to entertain and create a lasting impression, instead it aims to stave off boredom for just long enough.

Film Review: Big Spectacle, Small Heart in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’

CHICAGO – For a film with so much eye candy that it threatens ocular diabetes, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is decidedly low in story rhythm and energy – even with a villain named Electro. The story also has the “three villain syndrome,” which allows for a lack of focus and heart.

Film Review: Celebration of Creation in Warm ‘Saving Mr. Banks’

CHICAGO – The world of creation, and the imagination behind it, gets an honorable and elegantly performed treatment in the fascinating “Saving Mr. Banks.” What seems like a “making of” film about the legendary “Mary Poppins,” becomes much more rich in symbolism and consideration.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 100 Pairs of Tix to ‘Mary Poppins’ Backstory ‘Saving Mr. Banks’

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 100 pairs of advance-screening tix up for grabs to the “Mary Poppins” backstory “Saving Mr. Banks” with Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks!

Film Review: New ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is Almost Passable if You Haven’t Seen It, Unnecessary if You Have

CHICAGO – When I walked out of my screening for 2013’s “Romeo and Juliet” with Hailee Steinfeld (Oscar nominated for “True Grit”) and London’s Douglas Booth (previously unknown to the U.S.), I had to remember that not everyone’s seen this story in one way or another.

Film Review: ‘Parkland’ Starkly Recreates November 22, 1963

CHICAGO – It’s been close to 50 years since 11/22/1963, the day when a certain American innocence was lost with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In time for that anniversary, is the excellent film overview entitled “Parkland.”

Film Review: Light, Speedy ‘Turbo’ is a Great Race for Kids

CHICAGO – Summer vacation means summer animated movies, and nothing will give the kids more of a break than rooting for a snail that becomes as fast as an Indy race car. Why not put him in the Indianapolis 500? Ryan Reynolds is the voice of that miracle mollusk named “Turbo.”

Interview: Actor Michael Peña on the Fast Track in ‘Turbo’

CHICAGO – Michael Peña is a serious guy – dedicated to his career direction, acting craft and perspective on a life in show business. But that is not all he is, as he has dedicated a new role for his young son. It is the new animated film called “Turbo,” and Peña portrays the voice of Tito, the owner of the world’s fastest snail.

Blu-ray Review: Deftly Absurd ‘John Dies at the End’ Never Runs Out of Steam

John Dies at the End Blu-ray

CHICAGO – About ten minutes into “John Dies at the End,” a doorknob suddenly transforms into a large flaccid penis. It earns a laugh of sheer incredulity from an audience delighted by writer/director Don Coscarelli’s willingness to do literally anything for a laugh. Not since the ZAZ team tackled “Airplane” and “The Naked Gun” has a film been packed wall-to-wall with so many absurdist gags.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

  • reno 911 front.png

    CHICAGO – The oughts was the era of the workplace mock-doc comedy, with shows like “The Office” and “Reno 911!” born into a time where TV viewers were excited to see see fake realities about the crumminess of a job. While this series has been available in separate season collections previously, “Reno 911!” is now available in a complete series set, one that boasts a grand amount of special features content in spite of some lacking comedy in the actual show.

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