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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

  • Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

    CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

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