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Film Review: ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ Suffers Because Seth MacFarlane Casts Himself

CHICAGO – A feature-length comedy is a daunting undertaking. But being consistently funny for 2 straight hours is like climbing Mount Everest blindfolded with no arms while taking selfies using your feet.

Film Review: ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ Goes in All Directions

CHICAGO – Two observations regarding Seth MacFarlane. One, he is a hilarious writer and voiceover talent. Two, he isn’t as good as a comic leading man, on screen and in live action. Those two elements clash brightly in the overlong but funny “A Million Ways to Die in the West.”

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 25 Pairs of Passes to Seth MacFarlane’s ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 25 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated new comedyA Million Ways to Die in the West” starring Seth MacFarlane (“Ted”), Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson!

Film Review: Portrait of a Cynical Genius in ‘The Bitter Buddha’

The Bitter Buddha
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – We live in such a cynical world that when a film critic tells you a stand-up comedian is damn funny, it might not hold as much weight as it did in a universe before everyone had an opinion on everything online. So how can I convince you that Eddie Pepitone, the subject of Stephen Feinartz’s “The Bitter Buddha,” opening this weekend at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago, is damn funny? Do you like Marc Maron, Sarah Silverman, Dana Gould, or the amazing Patton Oswalt? They think he’s hilarious. And if that doesn’t do it, the movie will. Just trust us.

Blu-ray Review: Solid Release For Entertaining ‘Wreck-It Ralph’

Wreck It Ralph

CHICAGO – Disney’s hit “Wreck-It Ralph,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, fits one of the most important criteria for a parent considering picking up a kid’s movie to own — replay value. As anyone with kids can tell you, if you buy something, you best be ready to watch it over and over and over again. And “Ralph” holds up surprisingly well. I’m still a little surprised it received the level of acclaim it did with some even suggesting it should win the Oscar (we all know that should have been “ParaNorman”) but it’s a good movie to throw on if your kids need a distraction with a good message. And the Blu-ray includes the Oscar winner for Best Animated Short, the great “Paperman.”

Blu-ray Review: Great Performance From Michelle Williams Leads ‘Take This Waltz’

Take This Waltz

CHICAGO – “Take This Waltz” is one of my most personally divisive films of the year. What I mean is that for every element of the movie that I truly adore, there’s one that I loathe. In the former category, there’s Michelle Williams’ striking performance and director Sarah Polley’s eye for color. In the latter category, there’s Polley’s script, one that simply never resonates as truthful and carries some of the worst dialogue of the year. There are elements here that work but every one is balanced by something that drives me crazy.

Slideshow: ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ Star Sarah Silverman at Just For Laughs Chicago

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CHICAGO – The voice talents of Sarah Silverman nearly steal the animated film “Wreck-It Ralph,” which opened this weekend on November 2nd. Earlier this year, Silverman brought her “Sarah’s Pro-Choice” show to The Chicago Theater, part of the “Just for Laughs Chicago” Festival.

Film Review: Voice Cast Delights in Wonderful ‘Wreck-It Ralph’

CHICAGO – The nostalgia of the old video game arcade comes to life in a charming and fun way in the new Disney film, “Wreck-It Ralph.” One of the strengths is the precise selection of celebrity voices used to animate the rollicking characters. John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman and Jane Lynch are part of the familiar voice cast.

Film Review: ‘Take This Waltz’ with Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen

CHICAGO – Sarah Polley’s “Take This Waltz” both illustrates its director’s uniquely confident vision as a filmmaker and her room to grow as a screenwriter. Despite the best efforts from a very talented cast led by a fearless performance from Michelle Williams, Polley’s film is frustrating in its inability to reflect the real world.

DVD Review: ‘The Sarah Silverman Program: The Complete Series’

The Sarah Silverman Program: The Complete Series

CHICAGO – Shout Factory has become a spectacular DVD studio for a mix of unexpected releases. They have their stable of classic TV but they also own the rights to some modern favorites which leads to unique box sets like “The Sarah Silverman Program: The Complete Series.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bad Words

    Looming over “Bad Words” is the potential it could have had, as is, were it released ten years ago. With its focus of R-rated behavior poking at the projected innocence of children, along with the couple of chromosomes that keep Bateman’s Trilby from being a Vince Vaughn character, this movie is certainly a product of the comedies that have sculpted out the manchild story in the past decade.

  • Winter's Tale

    The theatrical poster for “Winter’s Tale,” after promising that “It’s not a true story, it’s a love story,” made a large demand from its viewers at the bottom: “This Valentine’s Day, Believe In Miracles.” While there is indeed a difference between filmmaking and marketing, it is hard to not imagine writer/director Akiva Goldsman whispering “believe in miracles” into the ear of every executive who helped “Winter’s Tale” come to life, immediately after throwing glitter on them.

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