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Rinko Kikuchi

Blu-ray Review: 2013 Hollywood Disaster ‘47 Ronin’ Rescued by Mediocrity

47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves

CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.

2014 Sundance Diary, Day 5: Memorable Characters Descend on Park City

Exhaustion is settling in but the movies have been consistently good to great. Four movies in a row that variably thrilled or entertained me but definitely left with strong impressions of unforgettable characters. And one of them may be a masterpiece.

Blu-ray Review: Guillermo Del Toro Provides Explosive Fun in ‘Pacific Rim’

Pacific Rim

CHICAGO – Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pacific Rim,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, has so much of what the other 2013 Summer blockbusters were missing. There was a disturbing sense of familiarity this year. Even the decent ones like the “Iron Man” and “Star Trek” sequels felt like things we had seen before. “Pacific Rim” returned wonder and spectacle to the world of the blockbuster and the result was Del Toro’s best English-language film. It’s a blast.

Film Review: ‘Pacific Rim’ is Classic Sci-fi Cult Movie Joy

CHICAGO – Leave it to the wondrous auteur, director Guillermo del Toro, to push the boundaries of giant science fiction epics simply by paying homage to their predecessors. The grand, glorious embrace of “Pacific Rim” leaves no stone of cult film fun unturned.

Film Review: ‘Norwegian Wood’ Marred By Choppy Editing, Mopey Melodrama

Norwegian Wood Film Review

CHICAGO – Tran Anh Hung’s adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s 1987 novel has garnered a bevy of negative reactions from literary fans, and it’s easy to see why. Pivotal characters remain underdeveloped despite the film’s two-hour-plus running time. Grand gestures are made without any tangible motivation. And epic romances are explored only through a few lustful glances.

Interview: Rachel Weisz Creates Magic With ‘The Brothers Bloom’

CHICAGO – Beautiful, brilliant and expressively talented, Rachel Weisz showcases a comedic side in her latest film, “The Brothers Bloom”, also featuring Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo and written/directed by the eclectic Rian Johnson (“Brick”).

Interview: Taking in the Information With ‘The Brothers Bloom’ Director Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson

CHICAGORian Johnson, the writer/director of the excellent “Brick,” has another slice of dazzling dialogue opening this weekend in the very entertaining “The Brothers Bloom,” an elaborate con game starring Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz, and Rinko Kikuchi. He sat down for an exclusive interview the night before the Opening Night celebration for his film at last year’s Chicago Film Festival.

Exclusive Portrait: Oscar-Winning Actress Rachel Weisz on the Chicago Red Carpet For ‘The Brothers Bloom’

CHICAGO – Oscar-winning actress Rachel Weisz walked a Chicago red carpet on Oct. 16, 2008 for the premiere of the film “The Brothers Bloom” as part of the 2008 Chicago International Film Festival. The HollywoodChicago.com lens was there to photograph the moment.

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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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