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Film Review: ‘Insidious: Chapter 2’ is Mere Ghost of Original

Insidious: Chapter 2
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan reunite for “Insidious: Chapter 2,” a repetitive, cluttered, just silly variation on the first movie that will feel like a step back for anyone who admired Wan’s notable advancement as a filmmaker in this summer’s stellar “The Conjuring.”

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Passes to ‘Insidious: Chapter 2’ with Rose Byrne

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated horror sequel “Insidious: Chapter 2” starring Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson!

Film Review: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson Lack Brass in ‘The Internship’

CHICAGO – Dang, dang, dang. C’mon, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, how about a little anarchy? “The Internship” is a perfectly nice little comedy about old dudes trying to break into the new world of Google employment. But this new world is just another empire, and nobody wants to topple it.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to ‘The Internship’ With Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 50 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the highly anticipated new comedy “The Internship” starring Vince Vaughn!

Film Review: Crime, Fatherhood Intersect in ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’

CHICAGO – Derek Cianfrance’s masterful “The Place Beyond the Pines” is a complex, epic piece of storytelling about the ripple effect of crime through families and across generations. Drastic action does not exist in a vacuum. It influences generations below and those impacted by their parent’s decisions.

Interview: Derek Cianfrance Sheds Light on ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’

CHICAGO – The first image that surfaced of Derek Cianfrance’s “The Place Beyond the Pines,” was that of a bleached blonde, tattooed Ryan Gosling seated on a motorcycle. For many viewers, that would be enough to earn their ticket, yet Cianfrance’s brooding epic is bound to give them far more than they bargained for. Some may feel betrayed, others will be hooked.

TV Review: Fifth, Final Season of ‘Damages’ Starts with a Bang

CHICAGO – “Damages” is back for its fifth and final season and there’s every reason to believe the award-winning show is going to end on a high note given the strength of the first two episodes of this impressive final arc. We’re finally going to get what we’ve been dying to see since the amazing first season — Patty vs. Ellen in a court of law.

Blu-Ray Review: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy Shine in ‘Bridesmaids’

Bridesmaids

CHICAGO – Warm, hilarious, silly and especially honest, “Bridesmaids” is the best, knock-out comedy of the year. Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph lead a cast that proves you don’t need testosterone to do a funny, sometimes gross-out comedy. What’s necessary is character, timing, set-up and execution, and this wedding party has it all.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 5 ‘Bridesmaids’ DVDs With Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne

Bridesmaids DVD with Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne

CHICAGO – In our latest comedy edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: DVD, we have 5 DVDs up for grabs in advance of the highly anticipated home entertainment release of the “R”-rated comedy “Bridesmaids” starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Rose Byrne!

Blu-Ray Review: Stellar Release For Best Summer Superhero Movie ‘X-Men: First Class’

X-Men: First Class (cropped)

CHICAGO – In many ways, “X-Men: First Class” is the most loyal film yet to the Marvel aesthetic in the way director Matthew Vaughn and the film’s multiple screenwriters capture the tone, spirit, and themes of one of the most legendary comic books of all time. It is a spectacular mix of great performances, well-choreographed action, and cleverly-revised history. It is crowd-pleasing to action fans and yet intellectually complex at the same time. It is what more producers of superhero movies should strive to accomplish and it deserves mention with the best of the genre (“Spider-Man 2,” “X-Men,” and even “The Dark Knight”).

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 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.

  • A Field in England (teaser)

    CHICAGO – I can’t recommend this more. “A Field in England” is a flashback and a flash forward all at once. It’s impossible to watch without thinking of great counter culture cinema. In fact when I saw it at Fantastic Fest 2013 it played as part of a double bill with Ken Russell’s “The Devils” (1971). They made perfect cinematic companion pieces. Russell’s film concerned a wayward priest desperate to protect his 17th century city from corruption in the Church only to fall victim to group hysteria when he is, ironically, accused of witchcraft by a jealous nun.

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