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Scott Speedman

DVD Review: ‘Last Resort: The Complete Series’ Offers History of Doomed Show

Last Resort (cropped)

CHICAGO – Around a year ago, I named Shawn Ryan’s excellent “Last Resort” the most-promising new show of the Fall season. I think I need to relabel that this year to “creatively promising,” for while I knew Ryan and his crew here had a chance to produce something special, I also worried that ABC was dooming it on Thursday nights.

TV Review: ABC’s Tense ‘Last Resort’ Delivers on Amazing Set-up

CHICAGO – It may not look as post-apocalyptic as “Revolution” or “The Walking Dead,” but Shawn Ryan’s excellent “Last Resort,” debuting tonight, is just as much about the end of the world as those programs. It’s about what happens when training fails, structure collapses, and human emotion betrays.

Blu-ray Review: Channing Tatum, Rachel McAdams in Deadly Dull ‘The Vow’

The Vow with Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum

CHICAGO – I feel like a bit of a confession is necessary to frame my opinion of the truly awful “The Vow.” Lest you think this is just some cynical male critic, I like “The Notebook” and “The Lake House.” I even kind of like “Dear John” and didn’t hate “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” Yes, I’m a cheeseball when the cheese is well-done. I wanted to like “The Vow.” There’s nothing to like here unless you find taking talented, charming actors and making them deadly dull likeable.

Film Review: Inert, Ineffective ‘The Moth Diaries’ with Lily Cole

CHICAGO – Mary Harron’s “The Moth Diaries” is a perfect teaching tool for potential filmmakers. It is proof of two oft-forgotten rules of cinema: 1. Not every successful piece of work in one medium should be adapted to another (or not all good books make good films). 2. Even talented directors can be the wrong fit for the material.

Film Review: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum Don’t Stick to ‘The Vow’

CHICAGO – “The Vow” was “inspired by true events.” The end credits even showed the real couple of those events. Given the actual film, it’s likely that inspiration came in the form of “making stuff up,” as Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum were opposite to any reality in this illogical, strangely cold romance.

Blu-Ray Review: Odd Canadian Thriller ‘Good Neighbors’ Falls Apart

Good Neighbors

CHICAGO – Part satire, part black comedy, and part Hitchcockian thriller, the Canadian flick “Good Neighbors” just barely misses it mark by failing to deliver on its set-up. The problem with reviewing it is that I can’t really go into details on my issues with it without some serious spoilers, so I’ll just leave it as a simple criticism — I didn’t find the ending satisfying. There’s nearly enough that works about the first two acts of the film to warrant a rental for thriller fans, but don’t be surprised if the final act lets you down.

Interview: Director Richard J. Lewis on His Side of ‘Barney’s Version’

CHICAGO – Working with high level actors such as Paul Giamatti and Dustin Hoffman didn’t faze director Richard J. Lewis. He had pursued the film version of the Mordecai Richler’s novel “Barney’s Version” for several years, and it was his direction that recently got Giamatti (as Barney) the Golden Globe Award.

Despite its Title, ‘The Strangers’ Actually a Familiar Repeat of Horror Film Conventions

Bryan Bertino, The Strangers (1)

CHICAGO – Poor Liv Tyler. She’s stuck in a remote vacation home with nothing but the blank-stare acting of Scott Speedman to “save” her. What’s a rock daughter who becomes an actress to do? First, she shouldn’t sign onto yet another version of the couple-in-terror cliché.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • [Trans]formation

    CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.

  • Life Sucks

    CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”

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