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Pierce Brosnan

Film Review: ‘The November Man’ a Stealthy Late-Summer Spy Thriller

CHICAGO – “The November Man” is better than its bland title and late August release date would suggest. It’s no gem, but it gets as far as it does almost solely on the strength of Pierce Brosnan’s breezy performance as an ex-CIA agent called back into duty for one last job.

Film Review: More is Preferred in ‘Love is All You Need’

Love Is All You Need

CHICAGO – Creating the lofty name for this film, “Love is All You Need” – from a translation of its original title, “Den skaldede friser” – is intently ambitious considering its source is a lyric from one of The Beatles most famous songs. The film has its moments, but cannot sustain itself in a stew of high drama and mixed emotions.

Blu-ray Review: Insulting, Miscast ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’

I Don't Know How She Does It

CHICAGO – “I Don’t Know How She Does It” could have been just another misogynistic (you would never see “I Don’t Know How HE Does It”…the very title implies sexism) alleged comedy but it goes well beyond that partially because it features one of the worst screenplays of 2011 but also because it is easily one of the most miscast movies ever made.

TV Review: A&E’s ‘Bag of Bones’ Feels Empty

CHICAGO – A&E’s “Bag of Bones” is a mess. There are elements that work but a source material that doesn’t exactly translate to the mini-series form along with a mediocre script by Matt Venne and generic direction by Mick Garris add up to an experience that’s disjointed and inconsistent. There was a time when a Stephen King mini-series was an event – “The Stand,” “It,” even “Storm of the Century” – but what’s so disappointing about “Bag of Bones” is how inconsequential the whole thing feels.

Film Review: Sarah Jessica Parker in ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’

CHICAGO – She produced and starred in one of the great TV-to-film franchises of the last 15 years. She has made millions in endorsements for the fashion industry. She is married to a prominent celebrity who once played Ferris Bueller. Regarding Sarah Jessica Parker, “I Don’t Know How She Does It.”

Video Game Review: Updated ‘Goldeneye 007’ For Nintendo Wii Misfires

Goldeneye 007

CHICAGO – Most of us who are old enough to have spent many of our formative hours playing “Goldeneye 64” often point to the title as one of the most memorable shooting games in history. Personally, I spent much of the time I should have been studying in college massacring my friends on the legendary Nintendo 64 game. Like most people of my age group, I was completely psyched for the 2010 reboot of the timeless game. It just makes my disappointment all the more painful.

Blu-Ray Review: Disney Nature’s ‘Oceans,’ ‘The Crimson Wing’

Oceans

CHICAGO – Nature films used to be much more common in the days before basic cable. Believe it or not young ones, there was a time before the interwebs and Discover Health when you couldn’t see nature at work outside of museums or a trip to the Antarctic. Rebooting the genre has been a remarkably profitable endeavor for Disney Nature as 2009’s “Earth” made $107 million worldwide and 2010’s “Oceans,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD followed with $68 million.

Blu-Ray Review: Roman Polanski’s Brilliant Thriller ‘The Ghost Writer’

CHICAGO – Roman Polanski’s name has drawn a lot of media attention in 2010 due to his continued international legal problems but the controversy regarding his real life has overshadowed the fact that he recently made one of the best films of his career, the tragically underrated and straight-up brilliant “The Ghost Writer,” a must-see now that it’s on Blu-ray and DVD.

Blu-Ray Review: Silly ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief’

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

CHICAGO – The most notable thing about “Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” now available on Blu-ray and DVD, is that it probably still holds position as the most horribly-titled film of the year. As for the actual movie, it follows in the footsteps of years of films trying to become the next “Harry Potter” franchise and, comparably, makes out much better than disasters like “Eragon” or “The Seeker: The Dark is Rising,” but that’s faint praise indeed.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Megan Fox

    CHICAGO - Look past the cheesy carbs and b-boy poses, this shiny mo-cap reboot of cartoon juggernaut “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” offers slick entertainment that makes for a welcome surprise for middle school fare. Proving that executive producer Michael Bay has both grown up but it still frightfully in tune with what jazzes teens, this surprise box office hit is indeed a nice slice of a blockbuster spectacle, whether or not a viewer cares about the turtles or not.

  • HoliDaze Front

    CHICAGO – Need a break from the noise of the holidays? Step Up Productions, – in residence at Chicago Dramatists Theater – present “HoliDaze,” a collection of six one-act plays, all dealing with the nature and nurture of the season. The showcase runs through December 21st, 2014.

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