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Film Review: Natalie Portman Embodies a Magnificent ‘Jackie’

CHICAGO – Capturing one of the most familiar woman of the last fifty years would seem impossible, except when focusing on one of the defining moments of her life. “Jackie” reveals Jacqueline Kennedy during the time of her husband John’s assassination, and when the nation lost a president.

Film Review: ‘The Magnificent Seven’ is How the Western Was Lost

CHICAGO – The appeal of Westerns was mostly lost on me when I was younger. The tales of these hypermasculine wanderers, answering every problem with a gun, never appealed to me. When I got older, I discovered their messages of honor and self-defense against corruption. The genre proved it could be more than one-liners and shootouts, but “The Magnificent Seven” set out to be only that.

Film Review: Notoriety Triggers the Breaking Point in ‘Lovelace’

CHICAGO – It was one of the strangest star-is-born stories in show business history. One porn film – “Deep Throat” – permeates the American consciousness at precisely the right time. The “lead” actress in the film becomes a household name – and then becomes a victim of it – in ‘Lovelace.’

Film Review: ‘Blue Jasmine’ Puts Woody Allen Back on Top

CHICAGO – The auteur Woody Allen is one of the most prolific post-studio-system directors, averaging one film a year for close to 40 years. His meditations on life have become part of the culture, and he brilliantly expresses himself once again – with help from Cate Blachett – in the emotional “Blue Jasmine.”

TV Review: AMC Resurrects ‘The Killing’ with Intriguing Results

CHICAGO – There are times when the third season premiere of AMC’s “The Killing” shows the signs of a program that was resurrected from the dead. The series was axed by AMC after a controversial end to the first season and disappointing second one.

Film Review: Frank Langella Shines in Delightful Sci-Fi Comedy ‘Robot and Frank’

Robot and Frank review

CHICAGO – Frank’s world is fading before his eyes. With his wife gone and his children all grown up, Frank lives a reclusive existence, though he doesn’t seem to be in particular need of company. His memory may be fading, but his instincts as a retired cat burglar are still ever-present. He can’t helping stuffing a few soap figurines into his pockets while casually browsing through a store.

Blu-Ray Review: Ryan Reynolds Can’t Save Goofy ‘Green Lantern’

Green Lantern

CHICAGO – After the abysmal theatrical reviews, I thought it would be easier to completely dismiss “Green Lantern,” the least-acclaimed and least-profitable of the Summer 2011 Superhero Quartet (which also included “X-Men: First Class,” “Thor,” and “Captain America: The First Avenger” — and I would rank them in that order in terms of quality with “GL” bringing up the rear). The fact is that this is not an “Elektra” or “Ghost Rider”-level mess. There are things about Martin Campbell’s film that work, especially in the first half, but a goofy story and aesthetic ultimately sink the film to cartoonish levels.

Film Review: Ryan Reynolds in ‘Green Lantern’ is Spectacle Over Story

CHICAGO – The tipping point is close approaching in the super hero movie aura, especially as the B-list get their moment in the projection machine. “Green Lantern,” featuring Ryan Reynolds, stays true to its comic book roots, but lacks any cohesive passion within the main story.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

  • They're Playing Our Song

    CHICAGO – During the late disco era of the 1970s, an unusual musical opened on Broadway. Essentially a two person stage play, “They’re Playing Our Song” involved a songwriter and a lyricist who develop a stronger connection than just writing partners. The always passionate Brown Paper Box Co. of Chicago has unearthed this chestnut with a bright and fun revival at the Rivendell Theatre through August 20th, 2017.

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