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Film Review: Sprightly Bear Tale ‘Paddington’ is Good Fun

Paddington with Ben Whishaw

CHICAGO – It may prove hard to recall an era of talking creatures in live-action movies before the napalm hellfire of “Alvin and the Chipmunks” or “The Smurfs.” But, lest we forget, “Babe” has more Academy Awards than “The Master.” Arriving at the coy and wise time of the film year where expectations are either golden or underneath the barrel, talking bear Paddington arrives stateside as a well-behaved throwback to brighter days for a simple genre, with an efficient sense of humor and a few globs of vision, too.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 20 Family 4-Packs to ‘Paddington’ Based on Beloved Novels

CHICAGOFamily 4-packs! In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 20 family 4-packs (80 seats in total) up for grabs to the family comedy “Paddington” from “Harry Potter” producer David Heyman based on the beloved novels by Michael Bond!

TV Review: Brilliant, Razor-Sharp ‘The Thick of It’ Returns to Hulu

CHICAGO – Should this even be called a “TV Review”? Will we one day write “Hulu Reviews”? Or “Streaming Reviews”? Technically, “The Thick of It” is still a TV show as it premieres in the U.K. on the old-fashioned platform. It’s just in the United States that Armando Iannucci’s brilliant political comedy is premiering exclusively on Hulu and Hulu Plus.

DVD Review: Neil Gaiman’s Fantasy Miniseries ‘Neverwhere’ Holds Up Well

Neverwhere DVD

CHICAGO – Though British author Neil Gaiman’s six-part, three-hour miniseries “Neverwhere” first aired in 1996, it feels like a relic from a much earlier period in television’s past. Before digital technology enabled small-screen dramas to appear visually indiscernible from major film productions, in-camera effects and handcrafted sets were the norm. It’s inspiring to observe just how much can be achieved on a shoestring budget.

DVD Review: Helen Mirren Delivers One of TV’s Best Performances in ‘Prime Suspect’

CHICAGO – She is amply assisted by a who’s who of some of the best supporting actors Britain has produced in the last two decades but “Prime Suspect,” which recently saw its complete 7-series run released in one box set for the first time from Acorn Media, belongs to the amazing Helen Mirren.

DVD Review: Gut-Busting Laughs Are Found ‘In The Loop’

In The Loop Thumbnail

CHICAGO – The more you love the art of language, the more you’ll love Armando Iannucci’s “In The Loop.” Words have rarely sounded so alive or been arranged so hilariously. In a year when the WGA has honored formulaic scripts like “Avatar,” “Julie & Julia,” and “The Hangover,” Iannucci’s film is a refreshing reminder of just how much fun and exhilarating speech can be.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • [Trans]formation

    CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.

  • Life Sucks

    CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”

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