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Penn Badgley

Blu-ray Review: Underappreciated ‘Margin Call’ Deserves Larger Audience

Margin Call

CHICAGOJ.C. Chandor’s CFCA-nominated “Margin Call” is the kind of film that makes me concerned about the lack of mainstream audience for adult drama. There’s no reason at all that this excellent drama with several major actors shouldn’t have found a much-larger audience. Lionsgate needs to go back to the drawing board and figure out what’s going on with their marketing and promotions since it’s total nonsense that a critically-acclaimed work like this and their even-better “Warrior” both flopped at the box office. “Warrior” was at least given a chance. “Margin Call” never went beyond 199 screens. So you probably haven’t seen it. You should.

Film Review: Low Grade on Report Card For ‘Easy A’ With Emma Stone

Emma Stone in Easy A

CHICAGO - “Easy A” is simply a hard film to swallow. Set in a high school on another planet, it wants everything and ends up giving very little. The cast is game - Emma Stone, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Thomas Haden Church and Lisa Kudrow - but with few exceptions the players cannot handle the lead balloon banter that passes for jokey dialogue. It wants also to be a grand statement on gossip and those who get hurt by it, but perky Stone doesn’t seem that affected.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘The Stepfather’ Remake Never Justifies Its Existence

The Stepfather Remake

CHICAGO – The original “The Stepfather” is such a product of its era that I have to admit that I went into the remake wondering what on Earth they could do to bring such an ’80s story into the ’00s. The answer turns out to be shockingly little. “The Stepfather” isn’t that bad. In fact, it’s better executed than I expected. It’s just a shadow of the original in that it never justifies its existence.

DVD Review: Season Two of ‘Gossip Girl’ With Blake Lively, Leighton Meester

Gossip Girl S2

CHICAGO – It’s senior year for the spoiled socialites of “Gossip Girl” as the second season of the hit CW show finds the characters applying for college amid scandals, new romances (and old ones), and shifting alliances. It’s just another crazy year in the life of “Gossip Girl: The Complete Second Season,” now available on DVD in a gorgeous box set from Warner Brothers.

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  • Merry Widow, The

    CHICAGO – Standing up at the Lyric Opera house in Chicago is unusual before a show. But in this case, it was the night after a tragedy, and the operetta “The Merry Widow” – set in Paris, France, in 1905 – was about to unfold. The orchestra struck up La Marseillaise, a reminder that we’ll always have Paris.

  • Black White Love Play

    CHICAGO – The love story of a prominent Chicago celebrity couple becomes the basis for a metaphoric and tuneful celebration about courage and coming together. “The Black White Love Play: The Story of Chaz & Roger Ebert” – written and directed by Black Ensemble Theater’s Jackie Taylor – portrays the film critic and the civil rights lawyer in their time, but also creates an atmosphere of emotion through song, sorrow and jubilation.


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