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Film Review: ‘Magic in the Moonlight’ is Woody Allen By the Book

CHICAGO – After last year’s powerful “Blue Jasmine,” writer/director Woody Allen’s trajectory seemed destined toward another film masterpiece, but “Magic in the Moonlight” isn’t it. Colin Firth and Emma Stone are an unlikely pairing in this seen-it-before-Woody film trifle.

Film Review: ‘Third Person’ an Intriguing Yet Foreseeable Labyrinth

Third Person

CHICAGO – Don’t you hate it when you figure out where a film is going long before it gets there? That could be a problem with “Third Person,” but writer/director Paul Haggis (“Crash”) also adds enough secrets to chew on and enough multiple pathways to explore. Enter at your own risk.

Interview: Writer/Director Paul Haggis Creates ‘Third Person’

CHICAGO – Not many Oscar winning screeenwriters change the course of their professional lives because of a dream (story below), but Paul Haggis is an exceptionally brilliant writer whose credits include “Crash” (2005) and “Million Dollar Baby” (2004) – which both won Best Picture – and his new film, “Third Person.”

Film Review: Artist Ralph Steadman Profiled in ‘For No Good Reason’

For No Good Reason

CHICAGO – In the deluge of images that pierce our cerebral cortex on a daily basis, it’s refreshing to go back to the days when images had more influence, sought through publications or word of mouth. Artist Ralph Steadman was a mover and shaker – along with his writing partner Hunter S. Thompson – in the age-old notion that the pen can be mightier than the sword.

Interview: Filmmakers Charlie & Lucy Paul on ‘For No Good Reason’

CHICAGO – You may not know the name Ralph Steadman, but you most certainly have run into his cartoon art. The surrealist was a partner with Hunter S. Thompson, illustrating books like “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” and is a subject of a new documentary entitled “For No Good Reason,” directed by Charlie Paul.

Film Review: Challenging ‘Child’s Pose’ Sparked by Luminita Gheoeghiu

Child's Pose

CHICAGO – Parents often feel responsible for their child’s reprehensible actions or despicable behavior. They may feel it reflects poorly on their own character and will go out of their way to fix a situation, make it all better. Certainly not all parents, but definitely the mother we meet in “Child’s Pose,” a Romanian film from last year that is finally getting released here in the States.

Film Review: Engrossing ‘Cheap Thrills’ Bets on Men’s Desperation

Cheap Thrills

CHICAGO – “Cheap Thrills” is a case study in human desperation and depravity. It’s a sick and twisted film, but it goes about it in a most absorbing albeit uncomfortable way. It’s one of those films that forces the viewer to place themselves in the protagonist’s unpredictable position, asking a question like, “What would you do for money?” Once you do it, what else are you willing to do for more and then, “How far is too far?” 

Film Review: ‘The Raid 2’ is Must-See for Martial Arts Action Fans

CHICAGO – Two years ago, the Indonesian film, “The Raid: Redemption”, smacked action movie fans upside the head. To briefly sum it up, it was nuts. The straight-forward plot took a backseat to some amazing stunt work, an insane amount of creative choreography and in-your-face violence. There’s no need to worry about the sequel, “The Raid 2,” not living up to the original.

Interview: Director Gareth Evans, Actor Iko Uwais of ‘The Raid 2’

Raid 2, The

CHICAGO – In 2011, a new kind of martial arts film hit the screens, and wowed audiences with outrageous fight scenes, stunts and violence. “The Raid: Redemption” put Welsh filmmaker Gareth Evans – working from Indonesia – on the map, and he is back with fight choreographer and lead actor Iko Uwais in “The Raid 2.”

Film Review: A Sci-Fi Dream is Celebrated in ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’

Jodorowsky's Dune

CHICAGO – Should Alejandro Jodorowsky have been able to direct his psychedelic adaptation of Frank Herbert’s “Dune”, the results would’ve been less of our planet compared to films like “Blade Runner” or “Star Wars”. Prismatic spacecrafts and golden landscapes would have filled Jodorowsky’s mad canvas, as created by stargazing designers like Jean Giraud and H.R. Giger.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Knick, The

    CHICAGO – Cinemax’s ominous new series “The Knick” is a hospital drama that’s very much in the voice of its director, Steven Soderbergh. Set in New York City at the turn of the 20th century, the series presents the medical world as it inches closer and closer to modernity, while making contemporary parallels to the desperate hustle by surgery room clients and their doctors alike regarding treatment of the human body. What has changed in the politics of medicine? What hasn’t?

  • Transcendence

    CHICAGO – The Internet is for real in “Transcendence”, a B-movie with grade-A production quality, loaded with terabyte-size open-ended questions, so long as one can accept it lastly with a scientific mindset. It is a film that perceives technology to be more expansive than a box of wires and computer chips, and actualizes the expanse of the internet as limitless to the realm of spiritual.

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