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Simon Pegg

Film Review: ‘Star Trek Beyond’ is a Blast of Starship Adventure

CHICAGO – In the equation of the Star Trek universe, what works best is the emotional connection to the iconic crew. Co-screenwriter Simon Pegg – also portraying Scotty – knew this, and saved the rebooted series from its bloated second film. A magnificent adventure awaits with ‘Star Trek Beyond.’

Film Review: ‘Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens’ is the One We’ve Been Waiting For

CHICAGO (No Spoilers!) – I felt privileged on Tuesday morning. Not just to be a Chicago film critic, but to be a movie lover. Film critics and movie lovers alike wade through scores of yawners hoping for one or two masterpieces that remind us why we fell in love with the experience of watching a film in the company of people we like.

Film Review: ‘Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation’ at Top of Its Game

CHICAGO – The sensational summer movie season of 2015 still has some pulse pounding tricks up its sleeve, and “Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation” fulfills that sensation with a wham-bam bag of spy games. Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner are back, joined by femme kick-ass Rebecca Ferguson.

Interview: Rebecca Ferguson of ‘Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation’

CHICAGO – When it comes to keeping up with the boys, actress Rebecca Ferguson is equal to any task in the upcoming “Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation.” She portrays Ilsa, an undercover spy who could be going rogue, and treats the audience to her signature leg clamp, motorcycle skills and action-based heroism.

Film Review: Animated ‘The Boxtrolls’ Has British Comic Tone

CHICAGO – Monty Python, Peter Cook & Dudley Moore, Peter Sellers, Mr. Bean, Alan Partridge – all are examples of British comedy, that off-kilter “are you in on the joke?” point of view. That comic tone has arrived in an animated film, within the stop motion world of “The Boxtrolls.”

Interview: Directors of ‘The Boxtrolls’ on Their Animated Life

CHICAGO – How do you interpret an odd British storybook called “Here Be Monsters!” into a mainstream animated film? By taking the main characters – called ‘The Boxtrolls’ – and putting them up front. Animation veterans and co-directors Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi got the assignment, and deliver the goods.

Interview: Nick Frost Kicks Up His Salsa Heels in ‘Cuban Fury’

Cuban Fury

CHICAGO – Nick Frost has played character and comic roles as the affable sidekick, especially in the famed “Cornetto Trilogy” – “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz’ and “The World’s End” – alongside Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright. Frost is a leading man now, strutting his stuff on the salsa dance floor in “Cuban Fury.”

Blu-ray Review: Cornetto Trilogy Now Available in One Set

The World's End with Simon Pegg

The three comedies made by writer/director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg & Nick Frost — “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz,” and “The World’s End” — have become collectively known as The Cornetto Trilogy and Universal has been collectively smart enough to release them in one edition, complete with Ultraviolet versions of each beloved film. “The World’s End” is also newly available on Blu-ray and DVD, sure to find legions of loyal fans this holiday season. I like but don’t love “End,” finding it the least satisying of the three films but consider that criticism as coming from someone who adores both “Shaun” and “Fuzz.” There’s still a lot to like here, especially if you want to buy all three.

Blu-ray Review: Frustrating Release For ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’

Star Trek Into Darkness

CHICAGO – When you’ve got a movie as controversial among its core audience as J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek Into Darkness,” why would you court even more with a frustrating Blu-ray release pattern, one that essentially tries to milk the people who like the film for as much cash as conceivably possible?

Film Review: Farcical Themes Bring Laughs to ‘The World’s End’

CHICAGO – In the collaboration of actors Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright, the best in life come in threes. Following their sublime “Shaun of the Dead” and the wacky “Hot Fuzz,” comes ther third comic film rendering, “The World’s End.”

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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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