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Film Review: ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ Hindered by Extra Sidekick

CHICAGO – Talking dogs have been around for decades in animated movies and television shows, especially the anthropomorphized kind. From the superhero antics of Underdog to the biting sarcasm from the likes of Brian from “Family Guy” - take your pick and you can find a dog to your liking. I always took a shine to Mr. Peabody, the intelligent and resourceful beagle with a penchant for puns.

Film Review: Wondrous Last Act for Hayao Miyazaki in ‘The Wind Rises’

The Wind Rises

CHICAGO – The master animator and film legend Hayao Miyazaki (“Howl’s Moving Castle,” “Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke”) announced his retirement after his latest film, “The Wind Rises.” He is often called “Japan’s Walt Disney,” but there is more to him then that, a soul and a mystery that is revealed in the stages of his animated art, and his contribution to artistic culture will continue to influence for generations to come. “The Wind Rises” is nominated for Best Animated Film at the 2014 Academy Awards.

Film Review: Neil LaBute Spins a Tale on ‘Some Velvet Morning’

CHICAGO – Writer/Director Neil LaBute has a righteous reputation as a harsh social critic, especially in the arena of relationships between men and women. To past films like “In the Company of Men,” “Your Friends & Neighbors” and “The Shape of Things,” LaBute adds “Some Velvet Morning.”

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 10 Pairs of ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Passes with Live Red-Carpet Stream

CHICAGORare! One of 2013’s most anticipated films! In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 10 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” starring Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson with a live red-carpet stream from the Los Angeles premiere!

Blu-ray Review: Sleepy Thriller ‘The Company You Keep’ Boasts Starry Cast

The Company You Keep Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Robert Redford has slowly become that grandfatherly figure who spends his time in the corner at family gatherings, lecturing nearby whippersnappers on the importance of challenging authority, while reminiscing about the war protests of generation’s past. He’s a well-meaning guy, but his crusty words of wisdom could use a shot of adrenaline.

Film Review: ‘Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters’ is Driven by Myth

CHICAGO – Although on the surface, the Percy Jackson stories may seem like Harry Potter rip-offs, the use of a mythology theme and a slyer sense of humor does give them some distinction and life. It also provides several moments of unintentional laughs in “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.”

Blu-ray Review: ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ Crushes Entertainment with Spectacle

Jack the Giant Slayer

CHICAGO – Every element of “Jack the Giant Slayer,” released today on Blu-ray and DVD, feels like a subpar version of something done better in a superior film. There’s the epic scope and final siege of a “Lord of the Rings” film. There’s the reimagined fairy tale not unlike “Alice in Wonderland” or “Oz the Great and Powerful.”

Film Review: Robert Redford Focuses on ‘The Company You Keep’

Company You Keep, The

CHICAGO – The golden age of the great Robert Redford occurred in the 1970s, when he participated in making passionate political statements with “All the President’s Men,” “The Candidate” and “Three Days of the Condor.” Redford stars in and directs a throwback to those times, the equally passionate yet softer-in-narrative “The Company You Keep.”

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 30 Pairs of Passes to ‘The Company You Keep’ With Robert Redford

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 30 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of “The Company You Keep” starring Robert Redford!

Film Review: ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ Has Some Fee-Fi-Fo Fun

CHICAGO – The trend of taking ancient fairy tales – “Hanzel and Gretel” and “Snow White,” for example – and converting them into computer generated mega-pictures is peculiar, and glaringly profitable (no “rights” to buy). The latest, “Jack and the Giant Slayer,” has some fun up the beanstalk again.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • The King of Comedy

    Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.

  • 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.

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