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Sarah Paulson

Film Review: Relentless Artistry of ‘12 Years a Slave’

CHICAGO – A man is chained to the floor in a dark, barren room. He has been ripped from his family and his freedom, and we watch as he’s whipped with amazing brutality. It goes on well past the point that most films with similar human suffering would have cut to a less stressful image.

TV Review: ‘American Horror Story: Coven’ Casts a Spell

CHICAGO – Take this with a giant grain of salt but FX’s “American Horror Story: Coven” shows incredible promise in its premiere episode tonight, setting a number of creative plates spinning in directions that could be fascinating. Why the salt? Well, “American Horror Story: Asylum” started with similar promise and quickly became cluttered and unfocused.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 50 Pairs of Passes to ‘Mud’ With Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon

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 “Mud” with Matthew McConaughey!

TV Review: Take Harrowing Trip to ‘American Horror Story: Asylum’

CHICAGO – When we got to the end of FX’s excellent “American Horror Story” and nearly all of the characters were dead, a natural question arose — what the Hell do they do for season two? Welcome to “American Horror Story: Asylum,” a completely new tale with some of the same ensemble from the first season but a new setting, new characters, and new story but the same goal — to rattle your senses and put you on edge in the middle of the week.

TV Review: Stunning Performances Drive HBO’s Fantastic ‘Game Change’

CHICAGO – You may be surprised by the angle taken by HBO’s controversial “Game Change,” a film already being summarily dismissed by conservative pundits who probably haven’t even seen the piece and merely assume that it’s another liberal Hollywood hatchet job. It’s not that at all.

Blu-ray Review: Striking, Haunting ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’

Martha Marcy May Marlene

CHICAGO – You’d never know it from the Academy Awards this past weekend but Sean Durkin’s “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, was one of the best movies of 2011, a better overall film than at least half of this year’s Oscar winners. It features my choice for the best actress performance of 2011 and won the CFCA Award for Most Promising Filmmaker and Most Promising Performer. It’s absolutely a must-see.

Film Review: Brilliant ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ Offers No Easy Answers

CHICAGO – With a striking lead performance and assured direction from a debut filmmaker, “Martha Marcy May Marlene” has been one of the most acclaimed films of 2011 since its debut at Sundance many months ago.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘The Spirit’ Deserves Another Chance at Life in HD

The Spirit
HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Frank Miller’s “The Spirit” is far-from-perfect. The attempts at goofy humor fall flat, the script is wildly uneven, and Gabriel Macht is deadly dull in the title role, but there’s way more to like here than I expected after missing it in theaters and hearing all the horrendous buzz from its initial release. It may not be great, but “The Spirit” could surprise you too. It’s a mess, but it’s kind of a beautiful mess, especially in HD.

TV Review: ABC’s ‘Cupid’ Pushes Romance Past the Breaking Point

Cupid
HollywoodChicago.com Television Rating: 2.5/5.0
Television Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – I am completely unashamed to admit to being a hopeless romantic and someone easily manipulated by cheesy, sudsy, heartfelt tales of love. I say this because even this loyal fan of movie musicals was pushed over the edge by the goofy romantic dramedy “Cupid,” the new tale of love in the big city debuting on ABC on Tuesday, March 31st.

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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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