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Shawnee Smith

Film Review: Billy Bob Thornton’s ‘Jayne Mansfield’s Car’ Stalls Out

CHICAGO – There was a time when it looked like not only would Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton be one of our great actors but possibly a threat behind the camera as well. Everyone knows the impression of his character from “Sling Blade” but many forget that he directed it as well. He followed that up with the flawed but ambitious and interesting “All the Pretty Horses.”

TV Review: Charlie Sheen Wastes Your Time on ‘Anger Management’

CHICAGO – Charlie Sheen opens his new sitcom “Anger Management,” debuting tomorrow night on FX in a new comedy block with “Wilfred,” “Louie,” and “Brand X,” by yelling right to the camera.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Saw VI’ Improves the Franchise, But Still Weak

Saw VI

CHICAGO – “Saw VI” opens with two people in a race to cut off as much flesh as possible before time runs out. It’s gross. It’s nauseating. It’s exactly what fans of this franchise have been looking for and what its critics have derided. The twist is that these victims are a part of the current financial crisis, making their torture something audiences, many of which have been impacted through loss of income, would more likely cathartically enjoy.

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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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