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Penelope Ann Miller

Film Review: ‘The Birth of a Nation’ Depends on its Own Piety

CHICAGO – “The Birth of a Nation” has been making news since it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival early this year. Taking place before the American Civil War, this incendiary look at a real slave rebellion in the deep South does pack a punch, but its approach isn’t completely successful.

Film Review: Lauren Ambrose Shines in Heartbreaking Indie ‘About Sunny’

About Sunny Film Review

CHICAGO – In the annals of bad parenting portrayed on film, the heroine of Bryan Wizemann’s 2011 indie drama is a special case indeed. Though we watch helplessly as she makes countless bad decisions guaranteed to send her young daughter to intensive therapy, we don’t regard her a sinister figure on the order of Monique’s monstrous matriarch in “Precious.” Our gaze is one of empathy.

Blu-ray Review: Mediocre Release for Academy Award-Winning ‘The Artist’

The Artist (cropped)

CHICAGO – Wouldn’t you think that the release of the last Best Picture winner from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would be an event? I know we’ve reached a point where public opinion and the Oscars are arguably further apart than ever before but wouldn’t think that Sony would treat their most-respected film critically with “Special Edition” degrees of Blu-ray features. The release of “The Artist” last week is a decent one but not what one would expect given the pedigree of the film.

Film Review: ‘The Artist’ is Magical Ode to Old Hollywood

CHICAGO – “The Artist” is the kind of film for which a critic feels an added responsibility. The fact is that I know that a large number of readers won’t go anywhere near a movie that is described as “a black & white ode to silent films.” Eek. Sounds like torture.

Interview: Director Michel Hazanavicius Becomes ‘The Artist’

CHICAGO – The sheer craft of the actor’s expression is what drove the early “silent” film industry, before syncing up the “talking.” Director Michel Hazanavicius has a new film opening called “The Artist,” in which he explores the expression of early moviemaking, during the era of its transition to talking, and it is rendered as a silent film.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Flipped’ Could Nearly Send You Head Over Heels

Flipped

CHICAGO – Director Rob Reiner’s career is undeniably a shadow of what it used to be with critical failures like “The Bucket List,” “Alex and Emma,” and “Rumor Has It…” diminishing the fact that this talented man gave us “Stand By Me,” “This is Spinal Tap,” and “The Princess Bride.” “Flipped” certainly doesn’t merit consideration with Reiner’s best but it is closer to form than he has been recently and it’s a film that’s easy to fall at least halfway in love with if not fully flipping head over heels.

Film Review: Excellent Young Actors Carry Rob Reiner’s Nostalgic ‘Flipped’

Flipped
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Rob Reiner’s “Flipped” is not merely nostalgic for an era when life seemed simpler and sweeter but for an age when every minor detail meant the world and love was as simple as looking into the eyes of a new neighbor. We all remember the days when the smallest act of kindness or meanness changed everything and, thanks to two very strong central performances, “Flipped” captures the essence of those times in a gentle, sentimental romance.

Interview: Corbin Bleu of ‘High School Musical’ on His Motocross Film ‘Free Style’

CHICAGO – The challenge of instant fame caught up with Corbin Bleu, when he portrayed Chad Danforth in the “High School Musical” series. He is now producing and starring in “Free Style,” an underdog story centered around motocross racing.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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