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Penelope Cruz

Film Review: Mustache Has More Than ‘Murder on the Orient Express’

CHICAGO – “Murder On The Orient Express” is a movie that is never quite as interesting as the main character’s mustache. Kenneth Branagh directs and stars as Agatha Christie’s most famous detective, Hercule Poirot. While it is a departure from the source novel, Branagh sports silver streak facial hair of audacious eccentricity.

Film Review: ‘Zoolander 2’ Continues Silly, Surreal Hilarity

CHICAGO – Humor is subject to the receiver, of course, and what is funny is as distinct to each individual as a fingerprint. Having said that, I found “Zoolander 2” to be hilarious, as it delivered again what made the first film work – tweaking the self-importance of fashion and celebrity.

Film Review: ‘The Counselor’ Disguises Lackluster Storytelling in Philosophy

CHICAGO – “That’s not what greed does; that’s what greed is.” Cormac McCarthy’s script for “The Counselor” is so weighed down with allegedly insightful philosophy like this that it collapses into a heap of laughable, unbelievable exchanges between characters who simply don’t exist in the real world.

Film Review: Woody Allen’s ‘To Rome with Love’ is Episodic, Choppy

CHICAGO – Writer/director Woody Allen continues his film travelogues in “To Rome with Love,” touring The Eternal City with four separate vignettes. An all-star cast – including Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Penélope Cruz and Woody himself – hit and miss with this varying blend of stories.

Blu-Ray Review: Boring ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

CHICAGO – When I heard that Johnny Depp had been sucked back into the cash cow that was the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise so shortly after everyone agreed that the series had run its course with the original trilogy, I was more than a little sad. Depp is still one of our most interesting actors and I’m not alone in wishing he would show a bit more of his range in recent years instead of taking easy roles (and, yes, Jack Sparrow is fun but this is not challenging work for the movie star). And the mediocre reviews caused a bit of dread when the Blu-ray showed up on my desk. So, consider it faint praise when I tell you that “On Stranger Tides” is, well, okay.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 5 Blu-Ray, DVD Combo Packs of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’

CHICAGO – In our latest blockbuster edition of the HollywoodChicago.com Hookup, we have 5 Blu-ray and DVD combo packs up for grabs to the highly anticipated home release of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”!

Film Review: Entertaining ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’

CHICAGO – It’s easy to remember that the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series is on its fourth formulaic film, but harder to remember that it’s based on a freaking amusement park ride! Director Rob Marshall livens it up with “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.”

Blu-Ray Review: Glorious ‘Nine’ With Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard

Nine

CHICAGO – History will be kind to “Nine”. Due to wildly extreme expectations caused by the pedigree of the film’s cast, many critics and audiences dismissed Rob Marshall’s musical on its release in late 2009. “Nine” falls short of perfection but the Blu-ray release proves that it gets a lot closer than most people thought the first time they saw it.

Blu-Ray Review: Great ‘Broken Embraces’ With Penelope Cruz

Broken Embraces

CHICAGO – Very few directors have known how to utilize a star more effectively than the way Pedro Almodovar has turned Penelope Cruz from a gorgeous face into one of our best working actresses. Just the two films she’s made recently with Pedro - “Volver” and the new-to-DVD “Broken Embraces” - would earn her that title. “Broken Embraces” may not be perfect Pedro but sub-par Almodovar is still required viewing for all cineasts.

‘Avatar,’ ‘The Hurt Locker’ Lead Academy Award Nominations

CHICAGO – The nominees for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards were announced this morning, February 2nd, 2010 and “Avatar” and “The Hurt Locker” led the way with nine nominations each, closely followed by fellow Best Picture nominees “Inglourious Basterds,” “Up in the Air,” and “Precious”.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 10th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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